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Hand FAQ

Question:

I'm trying to figure out what to do. I have a trigger finger on my left hand. I am left-handed, and it's becoming a real problem. I saw one doctor who said it was best to inject it with a steroid. When I went for a second opinion, I was told surgery to release the tissue around the tendon worked best. How do I decide?

Answer:

Researchers at Vanderbilt School of Medicine may be able to help you. They spent considerable time going through all the medical literature published on the subject of treatment for trigger finger. In particular, they wanted to know how well steroid injections work.

They were able to find 56 studies on trigger finger. Four of those studies were acceptable for analysis. All the patients were adults with trigger finger caused by work trauma or diseases. For example occupational-based lifting or gripping, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes were most common.

Half to two-thirds of the patients got relief from their symptoms using splinting. Up to 87 per cent were helped by a single injection of corticosteroid. But a little more than one-quarter of those helped by the injection had a return of their trigger finger within a year. It appears that surgery had a much higher success rate (as high as 100 percent).

The authors of the Vanderbilt review suggest the following:

  • Corticosteroid injections are simple and relatively inexpensive
  • More than half the patients got relief from their symptoms after one steroid injection
  • Those patients didn't need the more expensive, invasive surgery
  • If the steroid injection doesn't work, then surgery can be done as the next step Sheryl B. Fleisch, BS, et al. Corticosteroid Injections in the Treatment of Trigger Finger: A Level I and II Systematic Review. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. March 2007. Vol. 15. No. 3. Pp. 166-171.

    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
    All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.
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