How to Cure a Trigger Thumb

Written by david montoya
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How to Cure a Trigger Thumb
Repetitive movements such as typing can cause trigger thumb. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Trigger finger -- the medical term is stenosing tenosynovitis -- is a repetitive strain injury that can affect all five fingers. Anyone can suffer from trigger finger, but it is most common among women, the elderly and those suffering from other physical ailments. Common symptoms include pain and the thumb locking in place for short periods of time. Trigger finger can be remedied by reducing inflammation and movement.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thumb splint
  • Ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Heating pad

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  1. 1

    Immobilise the thumb with a splint. Continued movement can exacerbate the injury and delay recovery. A splint provides your thumb with the rest necessary for recovery. Thumb splints are available at most chemists.

  2. 2

    Ice the injured thumb to reduce pain and inflammation. Swelling and join inflammation can delay the recovery process. Ice the thumb in two-minute intervals. Be cautious: Overuse of ice is harmful to the skin and reduces circulation.

  3. 3

    Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce joint swelling. This continually reduces swelling and provides around-the-clock pain management.

  4. 4

    Apply a heating pad to the thumb. Heat reduces swelling and eases soreness. Heat treatment also provides a counter to ice treatment since you get most of the same benefits without the harmful effects of exposure to cold temperatures.

  5. 5

    Reduce strenuous activity and avoid the activity that caused the injury. This may require changes in your habits. For example, write by hand as often as you can if typing caused your trigger thumb. Resting the entire hand ensures the thumb muscles and ligaments are not used.

Tips and warnings

  • Seek advice from your doctor to determine the severity of the trigger thumb and the appropriate remedies. Also ask your doctor about stretching exercises to regain mobility after prolonged immobilisation.

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