Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, This is due to scarring or inflammation of the tendon sheath around the flexor tendons. This causes the finger to bend as though the finger is pulling a trigger. This may be a symptom of a serious medical concern, repetitive stress or trauma. This may cause incredibly painful or unpleasant sensations in the fingers and hand. For people with arthritis and similar conditions, the chances of experiencing trigger finger are increased. Trigger finger and the associated sensations may be reduced or even reversed by using the best trigger finger exercises for relief.
Anatomy of Trigger Finger
The movements of our bodies are caused by the contraction of certain muscles. These muscles are connected to our bones by fibrous cords called tendons. These tendons are covered and protected by sheaths of synovial membranes. These protected the tendon when it stretched. When this sheath becomes inflamed, injured or affected in some way that causes it to tighten, it causes the protected tendon to tighten as well. When the tendon tightens, it causes the bones to contract, which causes the trigger finger to look like a curved finger.
Trigger Finger Exercises
Physical therapists use exercises to help the body recuperate after injuries and trauma. In the case of trigger finger, these exercises are designed to help the sheath loosen and become healthy. Many cases are caused by repetitive actions, such as typing or gripping objects, and these actions should be avoided until the symptoms has disappeared. The following exercises are beneficial, and they may be easier to accomplish while the hand is submerged in warm water and supported by light massages. What follows are some exercises that may help reduce the symptoms of trigger finger.
1. Straightening Stretch
One of the most difficult exercises may be done in two stages. During the first stage, simply attempt to stretch the affected finger as though pointing. In many cases, little to no movement occurs. Other exercises will help to make the finger more agile. When the finger can move more freely, attempt to straighten the finger by placing it on a stable surface and moving the hand downward and backward. If pain is felt, then return the finger to its normal position.
2. Sideways Stretch
Open and closer the finger and the fingers that surround it. Making a peace sign or a “W” with the finger tips will help to relax the tendon sheath. Attempt to extend the finger as far as possible to each side. This movement will help to get the tendon moving within the sheath. If the finger can not move in a particular direction, then use the other hand to move it slightly in the direction that it needs to go.
3. Curling Stretch
Attempt to curl the finger as though making a fist. While this seems counter-productive, it will help the affected area to loosen. Perhaps a particular knuckle will have more range of movements than another, so exercises in this location will help to reduce the effects in the neighboring area. These exercises can be done while the palm is in different positions, so attempt these exercises while the palm is facing downwards, upwards, or forwards.
4. Extensor Exercise
The extensor tendons are what cause the limbs to become straightened. In the case of trigger finger, these are are unaffected by the tightening of the tendon sheath of the flexor tendons. Flexor tendons are complementary to the extensor tendons and are the affected tendons in trigger finger. Placing the hand on a stable surface and lifting the finger at the main knuckle may help to reduce the symptoms of trigger finger by strengthening the extensor tendon.
5. Rubber Band Exercise
Placing a rubber band around all of the fingers and the thumb will create pressure to keep the fingers together. This will cause the movements of the fingers to strengthen and loosen the muscles and tendon sheaths which cause the trigger finger. Expanding the hand apart as though attempting to grab a large object will help bring relief of the trigger finger.
6. Grip Exercise
Using a ball and soft object, like a tennis ball or stress ball, you can grip the object with the hand. Start with small exercises at first, and then attempt to hold the position for an extended period of time. Increasing repetitions and duration will be more beneficial than remaining in the comfort zone. Be sure not to overexert the hand at this time.
7. Okay Exercise
Bring the tip of the affected finger to the tip of the thumb. Press the pads together and hold for an extended duration. From there, extend the finger as far as possible from the thumb and maintain that position. If the thumb is affected, then do this exercise with each finger. Begin with the index finger and touch each finger in sequence until you reach the little finger. The thumb needs more range of motion, so more exercise will be needed to bring it to full capacity.
1. Warm Water
Warm water will help to loosen the tightness of the sheath. By submerging the hand in water and doing the exercises, the the exercises will be easier and more comfortable. Use warm water during until the hand can move relatively freely while under water. This can also be used throughout the day to reduce stress on the hand. Hot pads may be beneficial for those who are working and unable to keep their hand in water throughout the day.
Wearing a splint to keep the finger straight will help to return the muscle to normal functioning. This also will reduce the appearance of trigger finger. When notice exercising, it is beneficial to use a splint. Be certain to remove the splint when you are able to do so, as this will give the tendon sheath time to relax and for you to properly exercise the finger.
3. Medical Attention
If exercises, warm water, splints and rest do not help, then seek medical attention. Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids or surgery may be required. To reduce costs and potentially invasive procedures, use exercises to support the body’s natural healing process.