When Trigger Finger Tracy first made an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, she was miserable and frankly, pretty scared. During the past few months, she had started experiencing something very unusual with her finger. When she bent her finger, and then tried to straighten her finger, it would always catch before popping out straight. This was especially painful when she tried to grip her stapler at her job as an administrative assistant. And since she couldn’t staple, the office had papers flying everywhere!
“At first, it scared me,” Trigger Finger Tracy explained to her doctor at the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, “my finger would lock as it was bent, then shoot straight out! I started noticing my symptoms early in the morning at work, and they’ve gotten worse over the past few months. But overall, by the afternoon, my symptoms seem to improve.” The doctor asked her if she had noticed any other symptoms, such as pain or swelling of the affected finger. When Trigger Finger Tracy explained that she was also experiencing those symptoms, the doctor performed a physical exam. After performing the exam and finding her finger locked in bent position, the doctor diagnosed her condition as trigger finger.
“Trigger finger? Wow, that sounds pretty terrifying!” Trigger Finger Tracy exclaimed. The doctor calmed her, and explained that trigger finger is a common hand condition in which one of your fingers straightens with a snap after being in a bent position, like a trigger being pulled and released. Trigger finger occurs when the flexor tendon in the affected finger becomes inflamed and swollen. When a person with trigger finger bends their finger, and attempts to straighten it, the inflamed tendon is pulled through the tendon sheath and the fixed size of the tendon sheath no longer allows for the swollen tendon to slide through it without it getting stuck, which is what causes the finger to snap or pop when straightened. The doctor also said that Trigger Finger Tracy’s condition likely developed from her heavy hand usage at her job, such as constantly gripping a stapler or a pair of scissors.
“Whew,” Trigger Finger Tracy sighed, “I’m so glad you know what is wrong with my finger. Now, how do we make it stop bending and snapping?” The doctor calmed her, stating that since she caught her trigger finger early, her condition can be easily treated by simply allowing room for the tendon to glide freely. This is done through a minimally invasive procedure called the Endoscopic Trigger Finger Release.
The Endoscopic Trigger Finger Release is performed using a small endoscope that is guided through two small incisions in the affected finger and palm. The endoscope allows the doctor see the tendon sheath, without opening the entire area with a large incision, as you would with the open trigger finger release. During the procedure the pulley is opened, which gives more room for the tendon to move.
Tracy was able to have the minimally invasive endoscopic trigger finger release done with local anesthesia, and went home that day. The doctor told Tracy to take it easy for the first seven days, and to keep the incision clean and dry. Now, after a week, Tracy is fully recovered and back to stapling, sorting, and organizing all those papers. And she is able to bend and straighten her finger, without the pop.
Are you suffering from symptoms like Tracy’s? Don’t wait! Delaying treatment can cause further damage and require a more complicated procedure. Make an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas today!
Reckless Rita knew she was clumsy. She had suffered from it for as long as she could remember. From the time she fell on her bicycle because she didn’t see a big rock in the middle of the road, to her graduation ceremony where she stumbled in her cap and gown and fell in front of the entire class. And now it happened to her at the office where she works as an accountant. Somehow her computer got unplugged and she was leaning on her wrist, trying to plug it back in when her wrist suddenly twisted and she felt a debilitating pain. Luckily, Reckless Rita’s coworker Carly knew of a hand care clinic to recommend, the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas. Carly had visited the clinic to get her carpal tunnel syndrome treated by the doctors and told Reckless Rita that they would take good care of her wrist. Reckless Rita called the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas and was able to get an appointment that same day.
“Well, Rita, tell me what happened to your wrist,” the doctor prompted. “I was plugging in this computer cable under my table. I was leaning forward to reach the socket when I fell on my wrist. It hurt so bad,” Reckless Rita explained. “If only I had been more careful, I am so clumsy,” she added, her head down.
The doctor told Reckless Rita not to worry as she was in good hands now and asked her to describe the pain in her wrist in more detail. “Well, when it first happened, my wrist hurt a lot. Now, it doesn’t hurt as much as when I fell. However, as soon as I try to move my wrist, the pain returns,” Reckless Rita told the doctor. “And it’s also swollen, as you can see,” she added. The doctor asked Reckless Rita if her wrist had started to feel numb or tingly. Reckless Rita had not experienced this but the doctor decided to conduct a physical exam to confirm Reckless Rita’s diagnosis.
Based on the physical exam and Reckless Rita’s symptoms, the doctor explained to her that she had a wrist sprain. Luckily, Reckless Rita’s injury was a grade 1 sprain meaning that even though her wrist ligaments were stretched, they were not torn and didn’t require surgical repair like a more severe injury would have required. However, Reckless Rita would need to rest the wrist properly and then follow a physical therapy program with exercises to strengthen her wrist. The doctor put a splint on Reckless Rita’s wrist to help her keep it immobile. He also told Reckless Rita to ice the wrist every few hours for a couple of days, until the pain had disappeared.
Two weeks later, Reckless Rita returned to Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas. Her wrist pain and swelling were gone although the wrist still didn’t feel quite normal, it felt stiff after being immobilized. “That is what the physical therapy exercises are for,” the doctor explained. “Now we will strengthen your wrist and soon you won’t even remember that you had a wrist sprain.”
After completing her physical therapy program with strengthening exercises and stretches, Rita now feels better than ever. She is back at the office and all the numbers are right again! And in an attempt to avoid injury, Rita has become more careful. She still spills her iced coffee on the table every so often but she is concentrating more when performing tasks that could potentially lead to another injury.
Have you experienced similar symptoms to Rita’s? It is important to get even minor wrist injuries checked by a hand specialist to discard the possibility of a severe injury, and to return to your normal activity sooner rather than later. Make an appointment with us today!