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trigger finger exercises: 12 easy to do exercises at home

Do you know what is trigger finger? What are the trigger finger exercises, we need to do to treat it? What are the Icd 9 and Icd 10 of the trigger finger? These are the questions, we are going to discuss today.

Trigger finger

trigger finger exercises

This condition is also known as flexor tenosynovitis or locked finger or stenosing tenosynovitis or trigger digit.

When we contract our forearm muscles, the tendon glides through pulleys and leads to the flexion of the digits. When either the pulley or tendon gets inflamed which makes it difficult for the tendon to easily glide through the pulley, this condition is known as trigger finger.

  • We can illustrate this condition by describing painful snapping or catching of a finger or thumb.
  • In this condition, inflammation of fluid-filled sheath (tenosynovitis) surrounding the flexor tendons of the phalanges.
  • You can see a painful nodule at the distal flexion crease.

But our main focus is to know about all the trigger finger exercises here.

Before that, let’s know about trigger finger.

trigger finger icd 10

M65.03 Trigger finger, unspecified finger

trigger finger icd 9

727.03 trigger finger (acquired)

Key features for its diagnosis

  • In the trigger finger, there is a thickening of the sheath or tendon that leads to the constriction of the sliding tendon.
  • You can palpate crepitus and nodules at the location of the A1 pulley.
  • We can consider the cause to be nonspecific overuse.
  • There is pain when you move your digit which shows a triggering or locking sensation.

Signs and symptoms

  • You can feel crepitus.
  • There is a nodule along with the A1 pulley.
  • There is a pain in the palmar MCP joint region with digit motion, especially flexion.
  • You can feel palpable crepitus over the palmar MCP joint.
  • There is a catching, locking, and triggering with flexion of the digit.
  • In this case, there is tenderness and you can see a swelling over the palmar MCP joint.

Possible contributing causes

  • Rheumatoid arthritis or other rheumatic or connective tissue disorder
  • Gout
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Infection – Mycobacterium kansasii
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Overuse activity of the hand and fingers

Differential diagnosis

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Dupuytren disease
  • Loose body in the MCP joint
  • Subluxation of the extensor digitorum communis

Physical therapy intervention

Our main focus is to reduce the swelling and pain in the flexor tendon sheath and finally restore the mobility of the tendon under the A1 pulley at the MCP joint. 

Acute phase

  • We need to follow “PRICE” – protection, rest, ice compression, elevation
  • Immobilization or splinting
  • Buddy taping to reduce exacerbating activities.
  • Ice massage
  • Pulsed ultrasound

Chronic phase

  • We need to gradually increase the workload as pain and discomfort diminished.
  • Keep doing the splinting to reduce repeated motions that may increase the symptoms.

When the focus is on pain

  • Ice
  • High-voltage pulsed stimulation
  • Iontophoresis
  • Ultrasound

When the focus is on swelling

  • Ice
  • Massage

When the focus is on weakness or joint instability

  • Try to establish a pain-free full range of motion
  • You need to start doing the stretching and strengthening exercises.

Trigger finger exercises

Tennis ball exercise

trigger finger exercises
  • In this exercise, you need to grasp a tennis ball or stress ball and hold it in the palm of your hand.
  • Squeeze the ball for about 5 seconds and then release it.
  • Repeat this exercise 5-10 times every day.

Finger spread/ rubberband stretch

trigger finger exercises: finger stretch with rubber band
  • Begin this exercise by bringing all the fingers and thumb together.
  • Put an elastic band around the fingers and thumb.
  • Try to take your fingers and thumb away from each other or you need to extend your thumb and fingers, then relax.
  • Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.

Finger extensor stretch

trigger finger exercises: finger extension stretch
  • In this exercise, put your palm flat on the table.
  • With the help of your other hand, lift the affected finger as far as possible.
  • Hold it there for 5 seconds and then release.
  • Do 5 sets having 8 repetitions each.
  • Repeat this exercise 2-3 times a day.

Finger v-stretch

  • In this exercise, with the help of the other hand, stretch the injured finger and the finger adjacent to it.
  • Stretch it until you can feel a stretch in the finger but do not stretch it too much.
  • Then relax and repeat it 5 – 10 times.

Object pick up

  • In this case, place a few things like a button, coin, etc on the table.
  • Ask the patient to pick up these tiny objects and place them on the other part of the table with the help of the injured finger.
  • Repeat this exercise 2-3 times a day.

Making ‘o’ exercise

o-shaped exercise
  • In this exercise, bring your affected thumb and finger together and make an ‘o’ shaped figure with your hand.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Release it and straighten up your finger.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times and twice a day.

Towel grasp exercise

  • In this exercise, you need to place a towel on the table.
  • Try to squeeze it as much as you can and hold it for 5 seconds and release.
  • Straighten up your fingers
  • Repeat this exercise at least 10 times twice a day.

Finger spread

trigger finger exercises: finger spread
  • In these trigger finger exercises, you need to draw in all the fingers and make a fist.
  • Then spread the fingers as far as you can.
  • Repeat this process.
  • Repeat it at least 10 times twice a day.

Fingertip bend

  • In this exercise, hold the finger just below the topmost joint.
  • Bend the tip of the finger while keeping the rest of the finger still.
  • Repeat it 10 times.

Bend the distal and middle phalange

  • In this exercise, bend the topmost and middle joint while keeping the rest of the finger still.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times a day.

Wrist stretch passively

  • In this exercise, place your palm of both hands together just below the chin.
  • Slowly, bring the hands down to the waistline until you can feel a stretch in the wrist and fingers.
  • Then bring the hand back towards the chin.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times a day.

Side to side wrist bend

wrist bend
  • In this exercise, place your hand flat on the table.
  • Bend your wrist as far as possible to the left.
  • Hold it for 2 seconds
  • Return to the starting position
  • Then bend your wrist as far as possible to the right.
  • Hold it for 2 seconds
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times twice a day.

Don’t forget to do massage – see these massage techniques

In case, you have any queries regarding this topic “trigger finger exercises”, then do let me know in the comments below.

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