Causes of trigger thumb can be rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes or a trauma to the base of the thumb, but more often than not, the cause is unknown.
Symptoms of Trigger Thumb
- A “popping” pain when bending or straightening the end of the thumb
- Thumb sticks in a bent position and in severe cases has to be pulled straight
- Tenderness when pressure is applied over the base of the thumb
(Image above details Trigger Finger but the same information applies to Trigger Thumb)
Trigger Thumb is an inflammatory process. The earlier treatment is started, the better chance that the triggering can be relieved with conservative treatment.
Intermittent icing and a proper dosage of anti-inflammatory medicines are important and should be started as soon as possible. If the problem is severe and has progressed to the point where the tendon locks the thumb in a bent position, a steroid injection to reduce the inflammation may be required. If the problem persists, surgery may be recommended to loosen the tendon sheath (covering) and restore motion.
Splinting is important to limit the range of motion of the thumb in order to allow the tendon to rest. A splint that limits motion allows the tendon to rest. What is most important with Trigger Thumb is to prevent the tendon from moving to the point where it snaps or clicks. This can be accomplished with a finger-based splint, such as an Oval-8 Finger Splint. Please view our video “How to treat a Trigger Finger with an Oval-8 Finger Splint” for more information.
(Oval-8 Finger Splint – trigger finger treatment picture)
It is important to wear the splint until the symptoms are completely gone. Continuing to use a splint at night after an injection or surgery can be very helpful as a “retainer” to prevent clenching the thumb into a fist at night.If you found this information helpful, click one of the “like” buttons at the top of the page or sign up for free notification of future blog updates, located on the left hand side.
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