As hand therapists, we know trigger finger is a common hand issue that occurs with the locking or triggering of a finger, pain in the middle joint, and tenderness with palpation at the base of the finger. Trigger Finger commonly occurs between the ages of 55 and 60 years old and is said to occur 2-6 times more frequently in women than in men.
While most are familiar with management of the symptoms of trigger finger employing or using surgery and injection, what about the use of a splint for treatment? Is there evidence to suggest this may be an effective intervention for trigger finger for our patients?
In the last several years, there have been many studies that have looked at the use of a splint in the treatment of trigger finger. All of the studies found decreased pain and triggering with the use of a splint. In fact, one of the studies found that 87% of the participants did not require surgery or a steroid injection one year after completing the splinting regimen. Additionally, a literature review has found that splinting in conjunction with a steroid injection had more successful symptom resolutions than splinting or an injection alone.
In general, non-surgical treatment is reserved for milder cases of trigger finger, where the locking is correctable without assistance from the non-involved hand. The typical recommendation is to wear a splint for 6 weeks with possible extension to 10 weeks if symptoms are still present. The splint can be removed for tendon gliding exercises several times a day
Current research evidence has found a decrease in symptoms with use of a splint at the metacarpal phalangeal (MCP) joint, the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint, and the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint of the digits and at the interphalangeal joint (IP) of the thumb. A clinical recommendation for splinting is to splint the joint that allows for smooth tendon glide and is the least restrictive option.
The Oval-8 Finger Splint is a convenient, low-profile, comfortable method for splinting the PIP or the DIP joint of the digits and the IP joint of the thumb. The Oval-8 comes in many sizes for an appropriate fit and allows for the use of the hand with minimal interference of the splint.
Patients and Consumers
Are you looking for more information on Trigger Finger?
Check out the consumer blog What Can I Do About My Trigger Finger?