The tendons and muscles in hands and fingers help them flex to grip objects, hold a child’s hand, or to release items we’ve picked up. Sometimes, the tendons can sustain damage, and a finger may not release from a bent position as it should.
This problem is known as trigger finger. If you have this condition, here are some trigger finger treatment home remedies.
Stenosing tenosynovitis, more commonly known as trigger finger, occurs when fingers snap or lock into place while opening and closing your hand. If you’re gripping a pen and attempt to put it down, a finger may lock into place preventing it from being released. The finger usually gets stuck in a bent position.
This condition occurs when the space within the tendon sheath, which protects the tendon, narrows around it due to inflammation. People whose work or hobbies involve gripping things are more likely to get this condition. It is more common in women than men, and people with diabetes can develop it as well.
Symptoms of Trigger Finger
Trigger finger can develop in any finger or thump and in more than one at a time. It can also occur in both hands at the same time. It is usually worse in the morning when your body is stiff from sleep. This list of trigger finger symptoms is for mild to severe cases.
- Stiff fingers, usually in the morning.
- Your finger feels like it clicks or pops when you move it.
- There may be tenderness or a nodule at the base of an affected finger.
- Finger locking in a bent position. It may suddenly straighten.
- A finger that is in a bent position that you cannot straighten.
The tendons in your hand are fibrous tissues that attach muscles in the fingers to the bones. When the tendon’s sheath becomes inflamed or irritated, it causes trigger finger. As a result, it has a more difficult time moving within the sheath.
The longer the sheath is irritated, the more severe it can get because nodules, thickening, and scarring can develop. If this happens, then the tendons become more restricted in their movement. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to this disorder.
Traditional Treatments for Trigger Finger
After trigger finger is diagnosed by a doctor, usually a primary physician, after examining your hands, and he or she may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to help treat it. For mild to moderate cases, the doctor may show you how to stretch your hands and where to ice them to help relieve the symptoms.
For more severe cases, a cortisone shot may be given to a patient. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory medication that has longer lasting effects than those in pill form. The injections also take effect faster than oral medications.
If the problem persists after two shots, then your doctor may recommend you to an orthopedic surgeon to talk about surgical options to treat trigger finger. However, if you don’t want to or cannot take NSAIDs, and you don’t want to have surgery, you can try one of these home remedies to treat trigger finger.
Home Remedies for Treating Trigger Finger
Try some of these trigger finger treatment home remedies for mild to moderate cases of trigger finger.
Rest Your Finger
The simplest treat you can try for trigger finger is to let it rest. Give it about three to four weeks to improve and reduce the swelling around your tendons. Avoid doing work or hobbies that require sustained gripping, grasping, or using hand-held machinery. Resting the hand will also relieve pain and allow the condition to heal.
Wear a Splint
If you have mild to moderate trigger finger or thumb, wearing a splint can help control the condition. It will prevent your finger(s) or thumb from popping, locking, or bending, and it can also ease the pain of an irritated tendon.
A study published in the Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine journal found that using a splint on the hand can reduce the length and severity of trigger finger symptoms. A doctor can recommend a splint for you to wear. It should be worn six to seven weeks to be effective.
Ice the Area
This home remedy works instantly to reduce pain and swelling associated with inflammation. You can tie ice cubes in a towel and hold the compress against the trigger finger. Place it on the finger for about 10 minutes, then remove it and let it rest for about five minutes.
Use this remedy every day, several times a day. The ice acts to numb the nerve endings in the finger, which helps reduce the pain and swelling. If you don’t have any ice on hand, set a spoon in the freezer or use a bag of frozen peas.
The gel from the Aloe Vera plant has many medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as a home remedy by rubbing some of the gel on your affected finger(s) or thumb. Along with rubbing the gel into your skin, you can drink Aloe Vera juice to reduce inflammation throughout your body.
If you don’t have a plant, Aloe Vera can be bought in gel and juice forms in most health food stores.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which can be used to reduce pain and inflammation. Curcumin fights inflammation at the molecular level, so it is an effective natural way to help treat trigger finger, arthritis, and other mild to moderate anti-inflammatory conditions.
To use turmeric to help with trigger finger, make a paste by mixing some of the seasonings with warm water. Then, apply some of it to the affected area. This treatment can be done several times a day to get rid of any trigger finger symptoms.
Exercise Your Fingers and Hands
A good way to deal with the symptoms of trigger finger is to stretch and exercise the fingers and hands. By doing exercises, you can get your fingers back to functioning properly. Try these five therapeutic exercises.
- With your palm against a flat surface, raise a finger slowly to stretch it. Hold it in a lifted position for two to three seconds, and then let it rest. Raise each finger and thumb in the same way. Repeat the exercise two to three times.
- Place your thumb against your fingers and put a rubber band around your hand. Then, using the rubber band as resistance, open and close your fingers several times. This exercise will help strengthen your fingers and thumb.
- Grip a tennis ball in hand with the trigger finger and squeeze it for about five seconds. Do this exercise five to 10 times a day to strengthen the muscles in your hands and fingers.
- A good way to stretch your hand and fingers is to hold your hand out and widely spread your fingers apart. Hold the position for a few seconds, then relax the hand again. Repeat several times a day.
- Hold the affected finger and the one next to it in a “V” shape. Then, with the other hand, use the index finger and thumb to spread them gently. Doing this will help strengthen the muscles and tendons in your fingers.
Along with using these exercises to treat trigger finger, you can also do them before using your computer. Stretching the hands can keep them cramping if you keyboard for several hours a day.
Add Fish Oil to Diet
The Omega 3 fatty acids in cold water fish can help with trigger finger by repairing damage to the tissues. They also help to lubricate the joints in your fingers and hand. You can add these fatty acids by eating more salmon, mackerel or sardines, or take fish oil supplements.
To help prevent the taste of fish lingering in your mouth from supplements, store them in the freezer. They are still effective, and they can be swallowed frozen.
Eat Almonds or Walnuts
Many tree nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats and vitamins, including almonds. They contain Vitamin E and fats that can lubricate the joints in the fingers, making them less stiff and easier to move. Almonds also contain anti-inflammatory properties.
You can eat them as is or soak them in water to soften them before attempting to chew on the nuts. Walnuts are also a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, so you can choose them if you prefer walnuts over almonds. Both nuts can help reduce the pain of trigger finger as well.
Several more home remedies exist for treating this condition, but you may want to speak with your doctor before adding some spices or supplements to your diet. These exercises and other trigger finger treatment home remedies are mainly for mild to moderate cases of trigger finger, but you can help prevent it from becoming severe by taking advantage of these treatments.
If your trigger finger gets worse, consult your doctor to try more traditional treatments to ease the your discomfort.