Trigger finger is a condition where one of your fingers or thumb is stuck in a bent position and locks. This painful condition narrows the sheath around the finger tendons. People with diabetes or hobbies that require excessive gripping are prone to the injury. Trigger finger can be helped with certain exercises.
Basics of Exercise
Unlike a strengthening exercise of a healthy joint, exercising trigger finger requires a tender touch. This injury is not a result of lack of strength in the finger; it is a tendon issue that stops mobility. Placing the finger in warm water and rotating it is a great way to warm up the tendons and help stretch the finger, regaining some of the range of motion. Massage will also help. Until the problem is resolved, repetitive gripping of objects may only worsen the problem. Between exercises, splint the finger, give it lots of rest and take anti-inflammatory medicine to ease pain.
Because the mobility is locked as a result of specific tendon tightening, releasing the tension and then exercising the opposite action will help to elongate the finger. A transverse friction massage helps to break down the sheath and allows the finger to extend. This should be immediately followed by stretching the finger, either actively or passively to lengthen the tendon. Exercises should be specific to the motion opposite of gripping--extending the finger. This builds muscles to compensate for the gripping imbalance.
Passive exercises may also be helpful. Gliding techniques that force tendons and muscle to contract by stimulating a point can help elongate and realign the tendon. This is a method used in Active Release Techniques (ART) for trigger finger, chiropractic methods and some physiotherapists. It also works deep into the tissue to break up any toxic scars similar to a friction massage. Graston Techniques may also be employed which utilise the same principles but uses instruments to assist in mobilisation of the finger and breaking up damaged tissues helping patients to exercise the finger. Patients should only work with a licensed Graston provider for this technique.