With trigger thumb, patients present with a painful thumb that sticks or catches, often audibly, upon flexion or extension. Or, the patient’s thumb may be stuck or locked in the flexed position. Trigger thumb is thus named because once the thumb unlocks (often by passive manipulation), it snaps back much like discharging a trigger on a gun.
Symptoms of Trigger Thumb
- Audible popping sound and pain upon flexion and extension
- Thumb catches or gets stuck in flexion and may need to be pulled straight
- Pain and tenderness along distal palm radiating to thumb
- Tenderness over the A1 pulley when pressure is applied
Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes and trauma may cause trigger thumb but the exact etiology is unknown.
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Treatment Options for Trigger Thumb
Early intervention is the key to successfully managing trigger thumb.
While icing and anti-inflammatories are important and should be started as soon as possible, if the tendon locks the thumb in the flexed position, corticosteroid injections are indicated. Persistent problems may require percutaneous release to loosen the tendon sheath and restore motion.
To limit the range of motion and allow the thumb to rest, splint the thumb with an Oval-8 Finger Splint.
This lightweight, comfortable splint may be worn prior to and following injections or surgery. The patient may also continue to wear the splint after symptoms resolve to prevent re-occurrence. Using a splint for several days after an injection allows the injection to have maximum effect and reminds the wearer to limit activities for 3-4 days after the injection.
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