Trigger Finger Surgery Recovery
Trigger finger is a painful, inconvenient condition that surgeons can resolve easily. If conservative treatment has failed in the past, it might be time to move forward and try something new. Fortunately, a quick and minor outpatient procedure can provide you with complete relief of your symptoms. What is trigger finger, and how do you treat it?
What Is Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger, or flexor tenosynovitis, is a condition where inflammation causes thickening of the flexor tendon in the finger, which then causes nodules to form. The inflammation and nodules make it difficult for the tendon to pass through the sheath surrounding it. Sometimes, the tendon sheath thickens as well, causing a narrow passageway. Trigger finger occurs when the flexor tendon gets and remains stuck in a bent position as you’re trying to straighten your finger. This condition can affect any finger, including the thumb.
While trigger finger has no known cause, doctors have linked it to several risk factors. For example, it’s more likely to affect females than males and occurs more often in individuals who are middle-aged or have diabetes. Other risk factors include a history of inflammatory diseases or repetitive motion injuries.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Trigger Finger?
The easiest and most common way to identify trigger finger is observing how the finger reacts when you bend or straighten it. The affected fingers or thumb typically snap closed and stick in that position. You might experience pain and swelling in the finger or even a lump near a joint. Sometimes, you might need to extend the finger manually. In more severe cases, the finger can become locked in the bent position.
Trigger finger symptoms tend to worsen in the morning and ease throughout the day as the finger relaxes. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with your physician. You can also try these trigger finger exercises to help with the pain. More severe cases might need treatment with a single outpatient surgery. At The Hand and Wrist Institute, you’ll be treated by a team of highly skilled professionals dedicated to providing you with quality care and an answer to your problems. We’ll show you how to prepare for your surgery, what to expect before, during, and after surgery, and how to perform surgery aftercare and rehabilitation exercises.
What Happens During Trigger Finger Surgery?
Surgeons perform trigger finger procedures in an outpatient setting, and you can expect to return home after. You’ll receive anesthesia before your surgery so you can remain still for a more effective result. The practitioner makes a small incision into the palm during the procedure and opens the tightened sheath. This simple surgery allows the area to heal with extra room so the finger can move normally. The surgeon sutures the site and applies a small dressing, which must stay in place for about 10 days.
What Is Recovery Like After Surgery?
After trigger finger surgery, you might experience minor swelling and soreness for several days. You might also have difficulty moving the finger initially, but this will improve in a few weeks. You might experience slight numbness or tingling near the incision site — this sensation will improve over time as well. After about a week, you will come in for a post-op appointment, at which point the doctor will remove your sutures and dressing. Total healing time is about six weeks, after which most patients can resume regular activity.
You might be able to return to work within a few days if your job doesn’t require repetitive use of the affected hand, but if you’re required to do any heavy lifting, have to apply pressure to the hand, or perform repetitive movements, you might need up to six weeks off work. Dr. Knight can tell you when it’s appropriate to resume normal activities when you come in for your follow-up appointment.
After surgery, take the following steps to ensure a smooth healing process:
- Get plenty of rest. If you’re feeling tired, that’s a sign your body needs rest to recover.
- Stay active. Start with a low-impact exercise, such as walking, each day.
- Rest the hand. Avoid using your hand for lifting, typing, washing, vacuuming, or other repetitive movements.
- Resume activities. You can shower, but avoid taking baths until the doctor removes your bandage and sutures.
- Eat a balanced diet. If you’re experiencing nausea, you might try a bland diet for the first few days after your procedure.
- Continue with medications. If you’re on blood thinners or take Aspirin, ask when it’s safe to resume them after your surgery.
- Keep it covered. Leave your bandage on until you’re instructed to remove it. Keep the area clean and dry.
- Ease into movement. You can bend and straighten your fingers gently a few times throughout the day to help reduce swelling and keep them flexible. You might need physical therapy to regain full range of motion and strength in your hand. Once you’re fully recovered, you’ll still want to take preventative measures when exercising to keep from reinjuring yourself.
Proper follow-up care is key for a successful recovery. Be sure to go to all your follow-up appointments as directed and call the office if you have any issues or questions.
Things To Watch For
If you have any of the following side effects, it’s important to call the office and tell them what you’re experiencing:
- You notice loose sutures, or your incision has come open.
- You’re bleeding through the bandage over the incision site.
- You develop a fever.
- You have increased swelling, pain, redness, or warmth at the surgery site.
- You have severe numbness or tingling in your hand or fingers.
- You cannot move your fingers.
- Your fingers are cool to the touch or begin to change color.
While some of these can be signs of infection, they all indicate you’re not healing as desired and should seek additional and immediate care.
Contact The Hand and Wrist Institute Today
If you’ve been suffering from the symptoms of trigger finger and want to schedule an appointment to discuss surgery, reach out to our Dallas-area offices today. Dr. Knight and his team will go over treatment options and help you get back to a pain-free life. You can reach us by phone at 817-382-6789 or contact us online through our convenient messaging system.