Trigger Finger

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
VasquezBob
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:54 pm

Trigger Finger

Post by VasquezBob » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:16 pm

My finger #2 suffers from trigger finger. What I do is massage my hands and fingers every morning and evening. Also, I bought a book, "Fingernastics" that illustrates a variety of finger exercises using rubber bands as well as stretching and pressure exercises. I also use a rubber ball in a variety of squeezing exercises. All of this has helped immensely but, I'm always in search of additional ways to get rid of or mitigate trigger finger. Cold mornings do bring it back some but, not as it did in the past. Question: Does anyone have additional ideas to deal with trigger finger? Thank you for any thoughts and my guitar thanks you, too.

User avatar
Rick Beauregard
Student tutor
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 am
Location: Blaine, WA

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by Rick Beauregard » Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:25 am

I have it RH m finger. It got bad but didn’t hamper my playing too much. I tried stretching, rubber ball, Voltaren gel, CBD (Flo), CoQ10, gelatin, ultrasonic massage... finally I had it diagnosed. True trigger finger is a kind on knot in the sheath of the tendon that prevents the finger from being extended until the thing pops through. Mine got a little painful. There’s two treatments, one may work or may be temporary, cortisone shot at the point of the tendon or sheath issue. The other is more permanent. Cut the sheath surgically to allow the tendon to pass. Minor surgery with local anesthetic. I got one shot and it improved. For a while. Now it’s coming back. I may try another shot. Not sure I’ll go for the cut. We’ll see.

I have type II diabetes which is associated with trigger finger (among other things). Maybe has to do with general inflammation.

Good luck and keep us posted on what works for you.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

beanctr
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:43 pm
Location: Coastal, NC

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by beanctr » Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:48 pm

I had it in my thumb. Yes a cortisone shot is the first step but eventually it will get very painful and require surgery. No problems since. R
"Guitar Hobbyist"

User avatar
chuckinphoenix
Posts: 463
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: New River, AZ

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by chuckinphoenix » Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:58 pm

I had it in my RH middle finger. Very painful Had one cortisone shot that worked for about 6 months. Had surgery after that and no problems since.
If you ain't the lead dog the scenery never changes.

User avatar
Peter Lovett
Posts: 1018
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:35 am
Location: Hobart Australia

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by Peter Lovett » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:53 am

I had it in my index finger left hand and the pain when I flexed the finger was getting to the point that it was distracting and certainly affecting my ability to fret the strings properly. Eventually I sought medical help. Initially via a physiotherapist but after 10 weeks and no improvement they referred me on to a doctor.

Firstly, the doctor ordered an ultra-sound scan of the affected hand which revealed what they suspected was the problem; scar tissue on the flexor tendon was getting caught on a sheave and had to be forced through which was not only causing the pain but also causing the finger to remain bent and having to be forced back to being straight. What I did not expect was that the problem was not in the finger itself, where I was experiencing the pain, but just below the knuckle in the palm of my hand. Treatment was a cortisone injection done while undergoing an ultra-sound scan so that the injection goes exactly where the problem is. They also use the needle to break up some of the scar tissue forming on the tendon.

The downside to the treatment is that you have to get in early or the problem can become chronic and that the effect of the cortisone can wear off requiring further treatment in the future. However, so far so good and that finger is as good as a 68 year old can expect. However, it does not affect my ability to play the guitar now so I am satisfied. I do have other fingers with minor trigger finger issues but none with pain nor do they affect my ability to play so all good.
1994 Jim Williams lattice braced, Cedar/Tasmanian Blackwood

User avatar
otirroz
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:20 am
Location: Vina del Mar, Chile

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by otirroz » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:36 pm

Hello VasquezBob,

As the previous posters have said, the trigger finger is caused by the tendon binding in its sheath. Mine (in my LH index finger) was brought on by repetitive stress due to practicing without taking sufficient breaks. I started with the ice, stretches, Voltaren gel, etc. routine, and found only temporary relief. Then I had the cortisone shots, which only worked for a couple of months. The doctor advised me to do NO MORE than two shots because there is a danger of permanently damaging the tissue. Finally, as a last resort, I had the surgery. It is a simple out-patient procedure with local anesthetic. As it did for some of the other posters, it worked perfectly.

Good luck, and do have something done if it doesn't improve with your current routine. You don't want to do long term damage which will set you back years.

VasquezBob
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:54 pm

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by VasquezBob » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:20 pm

Thank you, all, for the great suggestions. I guess that there are several "degrees" of trigger finger and mine doesn't sound as severe as some of the posts here seem to suggest. I will, however, note all the suggestions and keep monitoring my situation. Thanks, again, Bob

User avatar
Rick Beauregard
Student tutor
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 am
Location: Blaine, WA

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by Rick Beauregard » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:20 am

As a result of the comments above about its efficacy, I’ve scheduled the surgery for my “m” finger for August. It is outpatient surgery and return in about 6 weeks to remove stitches. Hopefully after a short rehab I can dive into the D08 lessons in September.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

MessyTendon
Amateur luthier
Posts: 2056
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:38 pm

Surgery...i need to have it done my scar tissue locked the tendon. My M finger is stuck bent...makes barre chords very difficult.

I should see if it will be able to work.

Trigger finger surgery is not too complicated and you can keep doing exercises after and it's likely not to return.

You can try a finger splint, order a few sizes to make sure it works...Look at the De Royal model. They have a good spring and comfortable padding. Eventually they wear but they do work. It would require wearing the splint daily for months. Dedicated yourself to splinting could very well correct the problem without surgery but it takes time.

User avatar
hilm3g
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri May 06, 2016 1:25 am
Location: South Pasadena, California, USA

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by hilm3g » Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:56 pm

Two years ago, I had trigger finger in my RH middle finger. I tried exercises and massage, but that did not really help. I finally got a cortisone shot and that did the trick. Six months ago, same thing in my LH index finger. I got a cortisone shot again, and it went away. I too am a Type II diabetic. Inflammation in the joints is common to diabetics. Giving up eating flour, starches, and sugar has helped me a lot.

MessyTendon
Amateur luthier
Posts: 2056
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by MessyTendon » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:12 pm

Hey Rick...don't do what I did...My surgeon didn't communicate with me about how long I needed to be in a splint. When I saw him for a follow up he said "what are you doing wearing that"

Well it caused my scar tissue to lock my tendon in place. So be very clear on when you can resume normal movements and do it regardless of pain.

User avatar
Rick Beauregard
Student tutor
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 am
Location: Blaine, WA

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:11 pm

Thanks for the advice Messy. And I think I tried all other remedies hilm3g before deciding on the cut, as I documented in an earlier post. I tried the shots and only got temporary relief like many others.

My doc hasn’t yet been specific on post op except that I have to return for removal of stitches and a vague reference to rehab exercises. No mention of a splint yet.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

VasquezBob
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:54 pm

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by VasquezBob » Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:05 am

Me too!!! I was diagnosed with "pre-diabetes" and panicked. I've attended 24 classes to learn about exercise and nutrition. I had trigger finger in my left-hand that I've been massaging, icing and exercising (light exercises) for many, many months and the trigger finger is almost gone. Then, I developed "trigger thumbs" with a swollen tendon that runs the length of my thumb to my left wrist. My right thumb I called "thumbolina" and my left thumb is "thumbolino"...so much for humor. I had a cortisone shot between my left thumb and index finger and, so far, it's working. Also, had 6 physical therapy sessions with a topical medication and a slight electric buzz with a battery thing-a-ma-gig (cute therapist, too). I now wear thumb splints that I made with rolled-up business cards and sports tape which I cover with wrist-thumb braces. Everything is getting better and I may start playing in a few weeks (slowly). Also, changed my diet which I call "nutrition" cutting the sugar, starch, red meat and only one glass of wine per month. Also, keeping up with ice pads (most evenings) and hand/finger exercises morning and evening. So far, things are getting better; film at 11:00 p.m. Thank you all for excellent postings, Bob

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 830
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:45 am

Wow. Great thread. I also have trigger finger (left-hand 1st finger). My conclusions from this thread:
  • Trigger finger is a professional hazard of guitarists (and climbers and farmers—anyone who forcibly flexes a finger)
  • If you have diabetes, you have much greater risk.
  • Trigger finger does not go away by itself (thank you for removing this illusion).
  • Exercise does not help (thank you for removing this illusion).
  • Get cortisone injection early (not what I wanted to hear, but accepted).
  • You may have to resort to surgery (not what I wanted to hear, but accepted).
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

User avatar
Rick Beauregard
Student tutor
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 am
Location: Blaine, WA

Re: Trigger Finger

Post by Rick Beauregard » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:18 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:45 am
Wow. Great thread. I also have trigger finger (left-hand 1st finger). My conclusions from this thread:
  • Trigger finger is a professional hazard of guitarists (and climbers and farmers—anyone who forcibly flexes a finger)
  • If you have diabetes, you have much greater risk.
  • Trigger finger does not go away by itself (thank you for removing this illusion).
  • Exercise does not help (thank you for removing this illusion).
  • Get cortisone injection early (not what I wanted to hear, but accepted).
  • You may have to resort to surgery (not what I wanted to hear, but accepted).
Good summary with one comment. I’m not sure there is a cause-effect with playing guitar and this kind of “trigger finger.”. The exercise of playing may in fact help with some of these inflammation related issues. It may well cause other issues though. I hope you can keep playing. Climbing and farming? Tough on the digits!
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

Return to “The Café”