Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

A year ago I was diagnosed with trigger finger of the index finger. I've been treated off and on all that time with no success. It was finally discovered that the problem was caused by an infection. A simple antibiotic cleared it up. Why couldn't they figure this out sooner?

Answer:

Infections affecting the soft tissues can be very difficult to pinpoint. Studies show that the average time between the start of symptoms and an accurate diagnosis for this problem is one year.

There isn't a single reason for this delay. Sometimes the patient has other problems that are more pressing, and the primary focus isn't on the finger. In other cases, there is a compromised immune system due to other illness or disease. This can lead to delays in diagnosis.

Most of the time, the cause of trigger finger is idiopathic or unknown. In rare cases, infection is the underlying cause. A series of cases have been reported caused by mycobacterium infections in AIDS patients. Patients who have had a series of steroid injections into the joints have also been reported with infection leading to joint and tendon problems. Hector Mejia, MD, et al. Trigger Finger Due to Tenosynovitis From Mycobacterium Kansasii Infection in an Immunocompetent Patient. In Orthopedics. December 2007. Vol. 30. No. 12. Pp. 1055-1056.

*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.
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