Arthritis is a common condition most everyone understands they may develop as they age. The stiffening of joints being one of the most familiar symptoms gives reason to believe joint popping or catching is arthritis but quite the contrary. This frequent problem is not arthritis but one involving the hand causing locking, popping and clicking of a joint or joints of a finger or thumb. The medical term for this condition is stenosing tenosynovitis. The layman’s term is trigger finger. This ailment is not arthritis but inflammation of the tendon due to a narrowing of the tunnel or sheath of the tendon.
What Makes My Finger Joints Pop Lock and Catch?
Arthritis is a common condition anyone may develop as they age. But if your fingers pop, click, catch and lock you may not be experiencing arthritis but trigger finger.
Do I Have Trigger Finger?
The difference between trigger finger and arthritis
Anytime you flex or grasp with your hand or finger you straighten and release it, this process triggers two sets of tendons making it possible for the motion to occur.
Trigger finger involves the tendons of the hand that are normally smooth bands running from the muscles in the forearm to the bones in your fingers.
The path of the tendons is that of the tightened tunnels or the sheath due to inflammation mentioned earlier. The sheath is lubricated and keeps the tendons close to the bone making the movement more efficient and fluid.
Trigger finger occurs when inflammation develops causing the tendon to enlarge therefore thickening and narrowing of the sheath. This is all located in the area of the palm. The pulley effect of the tendon is greatly impacted by the inflammation and narrowing of the sheath causing the catching, popping, locking and sometimes pain.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
The causes of trigger finger are overuse.
Some believe trigger finger is caused by over use, repetitive gripping, holding of utensils, tools or brushes or anything used for work or hobbies on a routine basis. The science community is researching connections to other illness that may make some more susceptible to it.
How to Treat Trigger Finger?
The best way to treat trigger finger is with down time and some tender loving care.
The optimal treatment is healing and prevention. Stop using the affected area allowing it to heal and preventing it from developing into a more painful and permanent condition. To avoid surgery decrease the activities you know to be causing it long enough to heal the inflammation. During the down time soak the affected area in warm water solutions, use over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and rubs, anything that help ease the discomfort and more importantly relieve inflammation allowing healing.
Steroid injections are also an option. This process injects a small dose of anti-inflammatory cortisone into the problem area. The cortisone shots reduce inflammation quickly reducing the swelling in the tendon sheath and often curing the problem without further reoccurrence. The success rate of cortisone injections is reported to be in and around 60%.