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Trigger thumb - OUCH !
Old 11-02-2014, 09:53 AM   #1
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Trigger thumb - OUCH !

It appears that I have trigger thumb in my right (dominant) hand. I've had it immobilized for a week but its getting worse (I can't bend the thumb at all without significant pain).

I had carpel tunnel surgery in both wrists. The surgeon said that trigger finger often appears in people with carpel tunnel syndrome. My reading suggests that three possible treatments are (1) immobilization for 1 - 6 weeks (2) cortisone shot (3) outpatient surgery under local anesthesia

If you've had trigger finger I'd love to hear how it was treated and what your experience was.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:03 AM   #2
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I had trigger finger in 2011. Got a cortisone shot that fixed the pain and restored about 95% range of motion. After about two months it was back to the original condition again. Had release surgery under local that fixed it completely, and have been symptom-free ever since.

Find a good hand surgeon and get a consultation. This is routine for those folks.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:20 AM   #3
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No advice, just commiseration.

I had carpal tunnel surgery on one hand first three years ago... Was ok for about a month, then the numbness and night time pain came back. Turns out that the problem wasn't carpal tunnel, but bilateral peripheral neuropathy... a numbness and loss of feeling in the finger tips... No good solutions, so I just live with it. hasn't gotten much worse over the past three years, but it is a life changing problem... Can't feel finger pain, heat or the sensitivity that is normal. Makes turning pages impossible, and I drop a lot of small items. Just an age thing so if that's the worst, I very happy.
I also have a trigger finger (not thumb) on my left dominant hand. That doesn't bother me at all except for the clicking sound.
The other part is arthritis... and there's little to fix that... Naproxen when it bothers a lot.
The hand pain comes at night. Doctor prescribed Gabapentin (Neurontin), but, again, only use it when I hurt a lot.
The other thing that works for night time pain (pain is always worse at night), is a wrist support. Not the simple band with a hole for the thumb, but the full cloth with metal support velcro type. Walmart sells for $10 to $30... Google "Walmart wrist splints" for selection.
While I understand that the pain is in the thumb, I think that the full splint that keeps the hand stretched out helps. (Perhaps that's what you're using now.)
Another possible help... Specialized exercises... Utube has several for trigger thumb. I am not sold on these, but it is a possibility. It depends on whether or not the basic problem is arthritis or not, I think.


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Old 11-02-2014, 02:08 PM   #4
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Imoldernu, sorry about the bilateral peripheral neuropathy.

I actually have watched that youtube video and am doing the exercises. My thumb is currently in a splint 24/7 except for 2x a day when I do the exercises.

Braumeister - your experience with the shot is exactly what I was afraid of. That I'd end up with the surgery anyway. I adore my surgeon - my carpel tunnel incisions were so small and after 3 years there only a very nearly invisible scar. I guess I'll be going back for this. Is the surgery done at an outpatient surgery center ?
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Old 11-02-2014, 02:19 PM   #5
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Is the surgery done at an outpatient surgery center ?
Yes, mine was. The hand surgeons (a group) have a small surgical facility in their standalone building, and do most of their work there. As I recall, the procedure took about ten minutes. From showing up to walking out the door was less than two hours.
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Old 11-02-2014, 02:28 PM   #6
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I agree about release surgery, no pain, no scar, and fairly soon, no memory of it save for mentions like this thread. I tried cortisone and it pushed the symptom back for a week or two. Get it fixed, and gone are the days of avoiding certain hand motions and wincing when you pick up a pencil or fork.
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
No advice, just commiseration.

I had carpal tunnel surgery on one hand first three years ago... Was ok for about a month, then the numbness and night time pain came back. Turns out that the problem wasn't carpal tunnel, but bilateral peripheral neuropathy... a numbness and loss of feeling in the finger tips... No good solutions, so I just live with it.
Same here, except I am in my 40s. No good explanation or solution for bilateral peripheral neuropathy, but it seems to be only in my ulnar nerves (numb pinky fingers).

After about 2 years of tests, nerve conduction studies and MRI, they still scratch their head so I just live with it.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:38 AM   #8
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First trigger thumb about 10 years ago. Cortisone shot fixed it up, until about 6 months ago. Got another cortisone shot, it's been great. My other thumb had problems recently as well, cortisone shot in it worked well too. I would definitely recommend it as a more conservative treatment.


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Old 11-03-2014, 04:37 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with trigger finger.

When I started having carpel tunnel symptoms in my second hand I ran to the doctor to sign up for the surgery. I don't know why I'm putting this off. Its local anesthesia and a quick procedure. Getting more conservative as I age perhaps !
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Old 11-04-2014, 10:50 AM   #10
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have had trigger thumb surgery on both thumbs. first one had cortisone shots couple times - painful and only effective for a few months. had the surgery. other one was 10-15 yrs later. decided to pass on the shots. surgery itself is quite simple. small cut at the crease where you thumb bends. then they cut the sheath covering the tendon to release its hold on it. IIRC, recovery was 4?.. 6?.. wks. only inconvenience was the bandaged hand (keep dry, etc)
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:35 AM   #11
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I've had trigger thumb on both hands. First was 8 years ago and one shot did the trick.
Second one was 8 months ago and it took two shots to fix it. My doctor explained that the surgery was very minor if needed and had about 100% success. So far nothing else needed. I do have one other finger(index) that is slow moving at infrequent times and may need a shot in the future, but not yet. I'd try the shot first. Worked for me.
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