- What Is
What is a trigger finger?
A trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) is a painful condition in which one of the fingers gets stuck in one position and then snaps straight. The affected finger may bend or straighten with a snap like a trigger being pulled and released.
This condition occurs when swelling narrows the space within the sheath that surrounds the tendon (a fibrous tissue) in the affected finger. In severe cases, the finger may become locked in a bent position.
People whose work or hobbies require repetitive gripping actions are at higher risk of developing a trigger finger. Moreover, the condition is more common in women and people with diabetes.
What is a digital flexor injection?
Corticosteroids can be used to reduce swelling. A digital flexor injection is a conservative treatment for a trigger finger.
A digital flexor injection is usually administered under local anesthesia. The finger to be injected is cleaned with iodine solution or alcohol. Liquid corticosteroids mixed with local anesthetics are injected into the tendon sheath (the membrane that the tendon slides through) at the base of the affected finger or thumb.
The patient experiences momentary pain during the procedure. However, the area becomes numb within some time.
Corticosteroids are thought to work by reducing tendon swelling, allowing the tendon to move freely again. This can sometimes happen within a few days of having the injection, but it usually takes a few weeks.
Is a digital flexor injection effective?
Corticosteroid or digital flexor injections are effective in an estimated 50 to 70% of people with a trigger finger. However, they are generally less effective in people with certain underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
This injection can permanently improve the trigger finger, but in some cases, the problem can return after treatment. Although patients can have a second injection if the first injection effect wears off, it is often less effective than the earlier injection.
How many times can an individual get a steroid injection or digital flexor injection?
A digital flexor injection can be safely administered three times, but overuse of steroid injections can lead to various complications. Doctors typically advise steroid injections no more than three times.
What are the risks of a digital flexor injection?
The risks of corticosteroid injections used for a trigger finger are very rare. Very occasionally, it causes some thinning or color change of the skin at the injection site. There is also a very low risk of infection.
Usually, patients have anesthesia effects such as headache and drowsiness. Potential side effects of a digital flexor injection increase with higher doses and repeated use. Side effects include:
- Damage of the nearby bone
- Cartilage damage
- Joint infection
- Nerve damage
- Temporary facial flushing
- Temporary flare of pain and joint swelling
- Temporary increase in blood sugar
- Tendon weakening or rupture
- Osteoporosis (thinning of the nearby bone)
- Thinning of the skin and soft tissue around the injection site
- Whitening or lightening of the skin around the injection site
What are the common precautions recommended after a digital flexor injection?
Patients are usually advised a 24-hour rest after a digital flexor injection. They are also advised to avoid wetting the site and perform any strenuous activity for several days.
The doctor may advise a few painkillers, antibiotics, and antiinflammatory medications for a few days after a digital flexor injection.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is a Digital Flexor Injection Related Articles
Broken FingerThe most common causes of broken fingers are a traumatic injury to the finger or fingers such as playing sports, injury in the workplace, falls, and accidents. Treatment for a broken finger may be as simple as buddy taping the broken finger to the adjacent finger, or if the fracture is more serious, surgery. Fingers are the most commonly injured part of the hand.
Corticosteroids vs. NSAIDs
Corticosteroids are synthetic hormones, and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are non-narcotic pain relievers. Both medications reduce inflammation. NSAIDs are also used to treat pain and reduce fever.
Corticosteroids (Systemic, Oral, Injections, Types)Oral and injectable systemic corticosteroids are steroid hormones prescribed to decrease inflammation in diseases and conditions such as arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, for example), ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, asthma, bronchitis, some skin rashes, and allergic or inflammatory conditions that involve the nose and eyes.
Examples of systemic corticosteroids include hydrocortisone (Cortef), cortisone, prednisone (Prednisone Intensol), prednisolone (Orapred, Prelone), and methylprednisolone (Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol).
Some of the side effects of systemic corticosteroids are swelling of the legs, hypertension, headache, easy bruising, facial hair growth, diabetes, cataracts, and puffiness of the face.
Finger Anatomy PictureFingers are easily injured, and broken fingers are some of the most common traumatic injuries seen in an emergency room. See a picture of Finger Anatomy and learn more about the health topic.
Finger DislocationA dislocation is an injury that forces bones out of their normal position. Symptoms and signs of dislocated fingers include pain, deformity, and swelling and an inability to move the finger. Treatment involves reducing the joint to move the bones back to their normal position and then splinting the joint to protect it while it heals.
Why Are My Hands and Feet Tingling?Do your hands and feet sometimes feel numb or prickly? Learn some of the common causes.
Joint Replacement Surgery of the HandJoint replacement surgery of the hand entails replacing a damaged joint with an artificial joint. The prosthetic joint is typically made of silicone, and the surgery is used to address joint breakdown caused by rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.
prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos) Corticosteroid
Prednisone is a drug that belongs to the corticosteroid drug class, and is an anti-inflammatory and immune system suppressant. It's used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, for example: inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), lupus, asthma, cancers, and several types of arthritis.
Common side effects are weight gain, headache, fluid retention, and muscle weakness. Other effects and adverse events include glaucoma, cataracts, obesity, facial hair growth, moon face, and growth retardation in children. This medicine also causes psychiatric problems, for example: depression, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and psychotic behavior. Serious side effects include reactions to diabetes drugs, infections, and necrosis of the hips and joints.
Corticosteroids like prednisone, have many drug interactions; examples include: estrogens, phenytoin (Dilantin), diuretics, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), and diabetes drugs. Prednisone is available as tablets of 1, 2.5, 10, 20, and 50 mg; extended release tablets of 1, 2, and 5mg; and oral solution of 5mg/5ml. It's use during the first trimester of pregnancy may cause cleft palate. This medicine is secreted in breast milk and can cause side effects in infants who are nursing. You should not stop taking prednisone abruptly because it can cause withdrawal symptoms and adrenal failure. Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other medical professional if you have questions about beta-blockers. Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other medical professional if you have questions about prednisone.
Trigger Finger (Stenosing Tenosynovitis)Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) is a condition in which a finger tries to snap closed while gripping. This painful condition is caused by inflammation or scarring around the digit's tendon. Anti-inflammatory medication, stretching, and ice are suitable treatments for trigger finger.