Trigger finger is a painful condition that affects the tendons in the fingers or thumb, making it difficult to move them. It is caused by the narrowing of the sheath that surrounds the tendon, resulting in inflammation and pain. While trigger finger can be treated with various methods, shockwave therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years. Over the last several years we have successfully treated numerous patients in our Newmarket clinic with trigger finger using shockwave therapy treatment.
What is Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger is a medical condition that affects the tendons in the fingers or thumb. The tendons in the fingers are surrounded by a protective sheath that enables smooth movement. When this sheath narrows, the tendon becomes inflamed, and the finger or thumb can become stuck in a bent position, making it difficult to straighten. This can cause pain, stiffness, and a clicking or snapping sensation when moving the affected finger or thumb. Trigger finger is more common in women and people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, but can affect anyone.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
The exact cause of trigger finger is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors. Repetitive gripping motions, forceful use of the hand, and prolonged computer use can lead to the development of trigger finger. It is also more common in women and people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, genetics may play a role in the development of trigger finger.
Symptoms of Trigger Finger
The most common symptom of trigger finger is a painful clicking or snapping sensation when moving the affected finger or thumb. Other symptoms include stiffness, a bump or nodule at the base of the affected finger or thumb, and difficulty straightening the finger or thumb. In severe cases, the finger or thumb may become stuck in a bent position, making it difficult to use. The symptoms of trigger finger can worsen over time if left untreated.
Treatment Options for Trigger Finger
Treatment options for trigger finger vary depending on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, rest, icing, and medication may be enough to alleviate symptoms. In more severe cases, physiotherapy, splinting, or surgery may be necessary.
Physiotherapy involves exercises and stretches to help improve range of motion and flexibility in the affected finger or thumb. Splinting involves wearing a splint or brace to immobilize the affected finger or thumb, allowing it to rest and heal.
Shockwave therapy has become a popular non-surgical alternative for treating trigger finger. It uses high-energy acoustic waves to promote healing and reduce pain. The shockwaves stimulate blood flow and promote tissue healing, reducing inflammation and pain. It can also break down scar tissue and calcifications, improving range of motion and flexibility. Shockwave therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for most patients with trigger finger.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to release the tight sheath around the tendon, allowing it to move freely. This is usually done under local anesthesia, and patients can typically return to normal activities within a few weeks after surgery.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment option for your individual needs.
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-energy acoustic waves to promote healing and reduce pain. It is commonly used to treat various musculoskeletal conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow. The shockwaves are delivered to the affected area using a handheld device. The energy from the waves stimulates blood flow and promotes tissue healing, reducing inflammation and pain. Shockwave therapy can also break down scar tissue and calcifications, improving range of motion and flexibility. It is a safe and effective treatment option for many patients and can be used as an alternative to surgery in some cases.
Effectiveness of Shockwave Therapy for Trigger Finger
Several studies have shown that shockwave therapy is an effective treatment for trigger finger. One study was published in the Journal of Hand Surgery, which found that shockwave therapy was successful in treating trigger finger in 87% of patients. Another study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research found that shockwave therapy improved pain and function in patients with trigger finger. Shockwave therapy has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment option for many patients with trigger finger, and it can be used as an alternative to surgery in some cases. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment option for your individual needs.
Benefits of Shockwave Therapy for Trigger Finger
There are several benefits of shockwave therapy for trigger finger.
First, it is a non-invasive treatment option, meaning it does not require surgery or any incisions. This means that there is no need for anesthesia or a long recovery period, and patients can typically resume normal activities immediately after treatment.
Second, shockwave therapy is effective in reducing pain and inflammation associated with trigger finger. The high-energy acoustic waves stimulate blood flow and promote tissue healing, which can reduce pain and improve function.
Third, shockwave therapy can improve range of motion and flexibility in the affected finger or thumb. The shockwaves can break down scar tissue and calcifications, allowing the tendon to move more freely.
Finally, shockwave therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for many patients with trigger finger. It can be used as an alternative to surgery in some cases, and has been shown to have a high success rate in reducing symptoms and improving function.
Side Effects of Shockwave Therapy
Like any medical treatment, shockwave therapy has some potential side effects. The most common side effect is mild to moderate pain during and after treatment. Some patients may also experience bruising, swelling, or numbness in the treated area. However, these side effects are usually temporary and resolve on their own within a few days.
How Long Does the Treatment Take?
The length of shockwave therapy treatment for trigger finger varies depending on the severity of the condition. Typically, a single session lasts between 5 and 15 minutes. Most patients require between 3 and 5 sessions, spaced about a week apart, to achieve the best results.
What to Expect During a Shockwave Therapy Session?
During a shockwave therapy session for trigger finger, the healthcare provider will apply a gel to the affected area and then use a handheld device to deliver high-energy acoustic waves to the tendon. The patient may feel mild to moderate discomfort during the procedure, but it should not be painful. After the session, the patient can resume normal activities, although it is recommended to avoid strenuous activities for a few days.
Who is a Good Candidate for Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for most patients with trigger finger. However, it may not be appropriate for patients with certain medical conditions, such as pregnancy, bleeding disorders, or a pacemaker. It is important to discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider to determine if shockwave therapy is right for you.
Learn More About Shockwave Therapy Treatment in Newmarket
Trigger finger can be a painful and frustrating condition that can affect your daily activities. While there are various treatment options available, shockwave therapy has become an increasingly popular non-surgical option that is safe and effective. By promoting tissue healing and reducing pain and inflammation, shockwave therapy can help improve function and range of motion in the affected finger or thumb.
Contact Spectrum Physiotherapy today to learn more about how shockwave therapy can help treat Trigger Finger.