Trigger Thumb Treatment

Trigger Thumb Treatment

Treatment for trigger thumb begins with giving the thumb a rest. But that is often easier said than done. That’s where a trigger thumb splint comes in handy. At BraceAbility, one can find a number of splints for trigger thumb that immobilize the thumb to differing degrees, allowing the inflammation to go down and the thumb to heal. 

What trigger finger looks like

Trigger Thumb Splint

A top-selling and top-rated thumb splint for trigger thumb as well as trigger finger is the Active Innovations Trigger Finger Splint. This trigger thumb splint is about as nonrestrictive as they come, but this orthopedic-surgeon-designed splint is highly effective in a short amount of time. It is available in a wide variety of sizes.

Another one of the more popular trigger thumb splints available at BraceAbility that is also useful for treating so-called “gamers’ thumb” is the Gamekeeper's Thumb Splint Spica, also produced by Active Innovations. This thumb support is composed of a cool, comfortable material with an antimicrobial agent that staves off unpleasant odors. Plus, the brace can easily be put on and adjusted with one hand. The heat moldable thermoplastic material of the brace ensures optimal fit.

How to Treat Trigger Thumb at Home

Besides resting the thumb, other at-home treatments for trigger thumb include icing the injured area, engaging in trigger thumb exercises and stretches (add link to blog) and taking anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc.).

The main emphasis is to diminish the swelling that is making it tough for the tendon of the thumb to move smoothly through its sheath.

Use of a trigger thumb splint is sometimes recommended at night, too, as many people curl their thumbs and fingers while sleeping. For instance, the Bauerfeind RhizoLoc Thumb Stabilizer is ideal for use at either day or night and the amount of mobility it allows can be adjusted. The versatile design and breathable material of this thumb brace makes it comfortable for use both during the day and at night.

Treatment of Trigger Thumb in Children

Trigger thumb also affects roughly 3.3 in every 1,000 children. In such instances, the cause is still a tendon having trouble passing through its sheath, but this is not always due to some outside activity or injury; it may be congenital (NF), though this is certainly up for debate.

Regardless of the cause, if wearing a child’s trigger thumb splint and doing stretches are not effective in treating trigger thumb, surgery will be needed to release the child’s bent finger. (Learn more about trigger thumb in children.)

Congenital Trigger Thumb in Children

Invasive Treatment for Trigger Thumb

In some instances, at-home treatment methods fail to provide trigger thumb relief. If that is the case, the next step is often to try a steroid injection into or near the tendon sheath to reduce the inflammation. This is most effective soon after the onset of trigger thumb.

Other treatment options include open trigger finger surgery and percutaneous trigger thumb release. In both cases, the goal is to cut the problematic pulley. While the percutaneous trigger thumb release is less invasive in that it is done with a needle and can be completed in an examination room, there is also more risk of damage to a key nerve in the thumb.  

A picture of Trigger Thumb Surgery

Following surgery, an immobilizing brace, such as the Corflex Ultra Fit Abducted Thumb Wrist Splint may be needed, along with physical therapy exercises to restore full range of motion and strength to the thumb.