Trigger finger and trigger thumb are two conditions that go hand-in-hand (literally). This condition at best, is mildly irritating and at worst, is extremely painful and debilitating. Trigger finger occurs when your finger’s tendon sheath (the sleeve around the tendon) becomes irritated, causing inflammation. This inflammation impedes your finger’s natural gliding motion when you try to bend it. This results in many common symptoms including finger stiffness, a popping or clicking sensation, tenderness or even a visible bump at the base of your finger, and finger locking in a bent position.
In most cases, many different at home treatments can remedy the catching of the digit in a bent position and the pain upon release. Some include anti-inflammatory medication, hot and cold therapy, wearing a trigger finger brace, and stretches or exercises to help alleviate your symptoms.
Sometimes, a trigger finger or thumb brace is not enough to take care of the condition and trigger finger surgery is necessary. Alongside surgery, trigger finger therapy exercises will be needed to get the digit back to optimal functioning. Below are a few common trigger finger treatment exercises as well as some trigger finger stretches.
7 Exercises for Trigger Finger
- One of the main factors of trigger finger is thought to be repetitive gripping motions from hobbies or jobs such as driving, playing tennis, etc. One exercise for trigger finger that can help to strengthen your tendons is to lay the hand palm-down on a flat surface and then to lift each finger one by one (focusing on even strength) with special emphasis on the injured digit. You should raise each finger slowly and deliberately then hold each finger/thumb in the lifted position for a second or two before resting it.
- Another extensor trigger finger exercise involves drawing the thumb and fingers together, wrapping a rubber band around them and then opening and closing the hand against this resistance.
- The next exercise involves placing your finger that is affected to your thumb, essentially created a circle shape with your fingers. Hold this for about five seconds then repeat around 10 times.
- This exercise incorporates grabbing a tennis ball or a stress ball. Hold it in the palm of your hand and squeeze the ball for about five seconds then release. Repeat around 5-10 times a day.
- Trigger finger exercises that work on the abduction muscles can also be helpful for trigger finger treatment. One simple exercise involves spreading the fingers wide, then drawing them together in a fist and repeating the process.
- For another such exercise, begin with the fingers extended straight, lower them to touch the top of the palm, and then extend them again to the upright position. Bend them again to touch the middle of the palm, unbend and extend, and finally lower them to touch the bottom part off the palm and wrap up by straightening the fingers. This is one of the most useful exercises to help relieve your pain.
- The final exercise has you hold the injured finger and the one next to it spread apart from one another so they form a “V.” Place your thumb and index finger of the other hand inside of the split fingers and apply pressure as you split the fingers apart.
In addition to these exercises, it’s recommended to massage the joint or area that is affected by trigger finger. Massaging will help to circulate the blood flow around your fingers and help ease inflammation. Try massaging your hand for a couple minutes everyday before and even after you do the exercises above.