Trigger Thumb Treatment

What is Trigger Thumb?

Trigger thumb is an extremely common and debilitating condition. The tendons in your thumb and fingers are covered in a tunnel like structure of tissues called sheaths. If you have trigger thumb, your fingers tendons have become inflamed. Because of this inflammation or swelling, your tendons are no longer properly gliding through your sheaths. When this happens, the base of your fingers may lock up, click, or pop. Essentially, your fingers get stuck in a non relaxed position. This has the potential to be a very painful and frustrating condition, as you lose the full functions of your thumbs. This condition can happen to all of your fingers including your thumbs, index, middle, ring, and pinky. Read more about Trigger Finger. Trigger thumb can range from an acute condition to an extremely painful condition. Because of this, it’s extremely important to consider all different types of treatment options to find what’s best for you!

Remedies for Trigger Thumb:

Thankfully, trigger thumb is almost always treatable. For some people, more conservative methods such as thumb exercises, bracing, and physical therapy will do the trick. For others, it may take steroid injections or surgery to treat their trigger thumb. Below we have laid out all the potential treatment options for trigger thumb!

Non Surgical Treatment for Trigger Thumb

Before you strongly consider steroid injections or surgery for you trigger thumb we strongly urge you to give conservative methods a try, especially if you have a more mild case. There are many trigger thumb remedies that can be performed at home or with the assistance of a physical therapist. If you’re someone looking for treatment options without surgery these will be your best options. Also, If you are in the beginning stages of trigger thumb or your condition is not debilitating start with some of these at home treatment options for your trigger thumb:

Trigger Thumb Treatment Exercises:

Trigger thumb exercises are a great way to work to get your digits back to optimal functioning. Exercises will help to work out and stretch your tendons in order to relieve your pain. What’s also great about trigger thumb exercises is that they prevent future problems. It doesn’t matter what state of trigger thumb you have, exercises are always helpful. If you are worried you may be more susceptible to getting trigger thumb in the future use exercises as a preventable measure. Exercises work well in post surgical situations as they speed up the recovery process. Here are a few of our favorite exercises for trigger thumb treatment:

Trigger thumb rubber band exercise   Trigger thumb lift exercise

  1. Rubber band exercise: This extensor trigger finger and thumb exercise involves drawing the thumb and fingers together, wrapping a rubber band around them and then opening and closing the hand against the resistance.

  2. Finger lift exercise: Lay your hand palm-down on a flat surface and then lift each finger one by one (focusing on even strength) with special emphasis on the injured digit. You shoul raise each finger slowly and deliberately then hold the finger/thumb in the lifted position for a second or two before resting it. 

To read more on trigger thumb exercises to try as at home remedies click here.

Splints for Trigger Thumb Solution:

Splinting or bracing to cure trigger thumb has become an extremely popular treatment option for a variety of reasons. First of all, if you have the right splint and suffer from severe trigger thumb you can completely stop the pain when you have a bad episode. On the other hand, softer trigger thumb braces may help for those with less severe cases or when minimal support is needed. For instance, some people prefer the soft braces while typing at work. The variety of options for splints allow a person to find relief in almost all situations. Rigid braces may even support and immobilize your trigger thumb enough to completely rid yourself of the condition. Below we have gone into detail on a few potential brace options and when is best to use them:

Trigger Thumb Splint Pain Treatment Brace:

This rigid brace is one of the most highly recommended forms of trigger thumb treatment. This brace is completely universal in size and adjustable, making it useable on any of your fingers. The splint helps to immobilize your thumb to prevent it from locking. This at home treatment solution will help stop your inflammation and get you on the fast track to recovery. Because this brace is more of a direct treatment option, it’s best to wear when you don’t need to use your thumb as much. For example, while sleeping or lounging around the house. Read more on the rigid trigger thumb splint here.

There are more treatment splints and braces above that BraceAbility offers to help cure your trigger thumb!

Trigger Thumb Therapy Through Acupuncture:

Acupuncture has been recognized as a great way to treat the pain that comes with trigger thumb. If you are suffering from debilitating pain and hesitant to try surgery this might be a great option for you. A number of acupuncture points can be found on the hand in order to heal the pain. The main points are called the baxie point and jing well. Different places on the sides of your fingers are often used in acupuncture practice as well.

Physical Therapy Pain Relief for Trigger Thumb Natural Remedies:

Visiting with your physical therapist about your trigger thumb may be a very helpful way to treat your trigger thumb. A therapist will help walk you through a variety of treatment options that are non invasive. Therapist most often will teach you exercises like the ones discussed above. Therapist goals are to walk you through ways to increase your hands and fingers mobility. Releasing the tension will help to cure your trigger thumb, this is normally done through stretches and exercises.

The above conservative at home remedies are great for people who have just discovered their trigger thumb, or cases where it’s not completely hindering their life. A few more highly recommended pain relief remedies include icing, heating, and the use of anti inflammatory medication. If you’re finding no relief with these conservative methods you may want to consider surgical options, or surgical options paired alongside these treatments.

Trigger Thumb Surgical Treatment Options:

If you’re at the point with your trigger thumb where you’ve tried conservative at home treatments and are finding no relief… surgical options may be your best bet. Below we walk you through the most common scenario of how doctors approach the treatment of trigger thumb.

  1. Steroid injections to fix trigger thumb: Often times doctors begin treatment of trigger thumb with a round or two of steroid injections. The steroid is injected to your flexor sheath, and is one of the most common forms of treatment. The affected area is injected with the steroid in the hopes that inflammation will be reduced to prevent locking.

  2. Trigger thumb surgery: There are two main forms of trigger thumb surgery that are used by doctors. One is called open surgery for trigger thumb, while the other is called percutaneous surgery for trigger thumb. With open surgery the doctors make a small incision to open up the tendons sheath. With percutaneous surgery the doctors use a needle to break apart the blockage in the tendon sheaths.