How long does trigger finger last?
August 20, 2012 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I have developed trigger finger in the ring finger of my non-dominant hand. How long should I expect this to last?

I woke up with trigger finger on July 9th, six weeks ago. I am seeing my GP once a month for another issue, so we have already discussed this once, and I will be seeing him again in about a week. At our last visit, he wasn't overly concerned about my finger, especially since it's not causing significant pain, but I am wondering how long it should take to go away.

I have read plenty of information on the web, but most of it assumes that I will eventually get a steroid injection, and then possibly surgery. While it is possible that I will need an injection, I am willing to wait it out (unless the pain increases to an unacceptable level). But how long should I expect to wait?

Have you had trigger finger? Did you wait it out? Did it go away without any other treatment? Also, if you did have treatment, please describe what happened. Has it ever come back?

Thanks, mefites!
posted by blurker to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I had trigger finger in my pinky of my dominant hand. Ignored it for a few weeks then went to doctor when it did not appear to be getting better. Got a shot. Went away in about 4 or 5 days. It came back about a year and a half later. Did not get a shot. Lasted about 2 months. If it came back again, I would get the shot sooner. I cannot imagine getting the surgery at this time.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:11 PM on August 20, 2012

I've had trigger finger for close to 10 years -- but I'm a long-term Type I diabetic and that makes me especially vulnerable to the condition. My fingers don't get better by waiting it out. Had surgery on middle finger, dominant hand about three years ago. Honestly, it was the only thing that helped. However, as I say, I have (or possibly am) a confounding variable.
posted by seabound_coast at 1:05 PM on August 20, 2012

I had trigger finger, caused by a repetitive motion in the a fast-paced industrial job.
The problem, as I understand it, is that once the tendon swells, then every routine motion back and forth aggravates the sheath, making it hard to heal on its own. Same principle as carpal tunnel syndrome.
I wasn't driven by pain to treat it, but by increasing inconvenience. My doctor advised surgery and I did it. Outpatient, easy, worked like a charm. Good luck!
posted by LonnieK at 5:54 PM on August 20, 2012

Response by poster: In case anyone is still following this question, I did see a hand ortho last Friday and received a cortisone shot in my finger to try to reduce the swelling and eliminate the sticking. As of today (Monday) it's still triggering, but they did tell me it would take several days to completely take effect. If it is still sticking in a month or so, they will try another shot, but if that doesn't work, they will want to perform the surgery. My preference, for several reasons, is to avoid the surgery if at all possible, but they do seem to have a very high rate of success.

Also, man, that shot hurt! ;)
posted by blurker at 10:59 AM on October 8, 2012

Response by poster: And, in case it's still on anyone's radar (or if anyone needs info on trigger finger later), the symptoms have returned after onlly a few weeks of total pain free/trigger free time. I went back to the hand doctor, and he was going to try another shot, but during the exam he felt a nodule under the pad on my palm, where the sheath is catching. Apparently this indicates that the shot won't really help anything (especially with the quick recurrance of the problem), so we are scheduled for surgery next week.

It's supposed to be a *really* easy outpatient procedure, but I still have to go through general anaethesia, so I'm not excited. I guess I'll hold off on the ukelele thing until this is over.

Thanks for the help.
posted by blurker at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2013

Good luck. As I said, my surgery was smooth and easy.
posted by LonnieK at 4:00 AM on March 3, 2013

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