Trigger finger, or Stenosing Tenosynovitis, is caused by a narrowing of the sheath that surrounds the tendon that controls the affected finger or the thumb. This narrowing causes the tendon to get stuck when the finger is in a bent position, then suddenly release in a clicking or popping motion. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are at risk of developing trigger finger as well as people who repetitively use a gripping motion such as writers or builders.
Stretching the hand helps to prepare the muscles for strengthening exercises, relieves swelling and neutralises the position of the fingers. Try spreading your fingers as wide as you comfortably can, hold for 15 seconds, then bring them together again. Follow the finger stretch by adopting a thumbs up position, then gently pushing the base of your thumb back to stretch the joint and hold for 15 seconds.
Tendon gliding exercises help to improve trigger finger by causing the tendons to gently run through their surrounding sheaths and increase lubrication. Start by spreading your fingers as wide as you comfortably can, then slowly bend your fingers to touch the top of your palm. Open them out again then touch your fingers to the middle of your palm, then open them again and touch them to the bottom of your palm. Once you have worked your fingers, try slowly moving your thumb across your palm to touch the bottom of your little finger and back again. Repeat the exercises 5 times and perform each stage slowly, stopping if you experience any pain. Immersing the hand in warm water can help to ease stiffness as you repeat the exercises.
Strengthening the muscles of the forearm and wrist that control hand movements can help to balance hand movements and improve the efficiency of your actions. Strengthening exercises also increase blood flow to the hand, creating warmth and speeding up recovery from trigger finger. Start by pinching your fingertips and the tip of your thumb together and place an elastic band around them. Move your fingers away from your thumb until the band is fairly tight and will stay in place on your fingers and thumb. Use a repetitive pumping motion to extend the fingers and thumb further away from each other against the resistance of the band and closer together again, maintaining tension in the elastic throughout. Repeat the exercise 10 times, then remove the band. Follow by bending the affected finger or thumb toward your palm slightly and hooking the elastic band over the middle of it. Use your other hand to pull the end of the band until slight tension is created, then straighten the finger or thumb against the tension 5 times.