Each finger has tendons which flex the fingers into the palm of the hand. These can become inflamed causing them to be painful, stiff, clunky or even to get stuck. This is known as trigger finger or ‘stenosing tenosynovitis’. It is quite common and is often noticed in the mornings when the affected finger or thumb may be a bit stuck - with some effort, it straightens with a painful click. Sometimes this condition will settle on its own or with steroid injections. If these measures are unsuccessful, a minor operation may be recommended.
The aim of the surgery is to release the affected tendon sheath so that the tendon can move more freely again. Surgery is performed through a small incision in the palm or sometimes with the tip of a needle. The tendon sheath is cut and then when it heals back together, it is looser, and the tendon has more room to move through it.
The operation is performed under a local anaesthetic (‘awake surgery’) to numb the hand and you can go home the same day.
Once you have recovered from surgery, in most cases you should be able to move the affected fingers without any pain, tenderness, clicking or locking. Sometimes hand therapy can be recommended to regain better use, but the aim of the surgery is to eliminate all symptoms and allow full pain-free movement of the affected hand.
Most people can move their fingers immediately after surgery. It is common to have some soreness in your palm but if you exercise your hand regularly after the operation, this can help reduce swelling and pain.
As with all surgical procedures, there can be some risks. At The McIndoe Centre, we do everything we can to minimise risk of complications. Your surgeon will talk to you about any possible specific complications before you decide to have your operation.