/ Trigger Finger

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Madden - on 29 Apr 2012
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been waking up to find that my fingers will lock in a semi closed position when I try to straighten them. The locking seems to have gotten worse over the time I've been experiencing it as well - It started in my left middle finger, and is now noticeable in my left and right middle and ring fingers.

I was just wondering if anybody else has had similar symptoms, if they've alleviated over time, or if you've had to treat them. If so, how did you go about treating them? I'd love to hear from people, as it seems that mine is quite an unusual case. (normally trigger finger occurs in women, and even then, in people over 50... I'm 17 and male)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
gethin_allen on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:
From experiences of friends and family, What people often call trigger finger (dupuytrens) seems to start in the little fingers first then travels towards the index finger. All the people i know with it are male in their 50s and have all done hard physical jobs like carpentry for many years. Supposedly there is a genetic element to it which worries me as my dad and uncle have it.
MJ - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:

Male, seventeen and your fingers are locked in a semi closed position. I think the medical term for that is wa*kers cramp.
Gus - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:
I've got a friend who had/ has the "trigger finger" condition.

He'd been climbing for over 10 years and then started working as a tree surgeon. The vibrations from holding the chainsaws so tight, probably coupled with climbing to a high level, meant that the tendon thickened and doesn't run through the pulleys as easily as it should, hence why the fingers "lock up".

He said he had to force his finger to open some mornings.

Based on him, my advice would be to go and see a specialist who knows about physical activity/ climbing specifically. The initial solution that he was given was cortisone injections, but I think this was a poor solution that masked the problem/ pain and led to him popping a pulley on a jug at an indoor climbing wall.

I'd rest it for a week or, seek specialist advice and then build it up slowly but surely.

Good luck!!
Trangia - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:

My climbing partner had trigger finger in her thumb and eventually had to have surgery last year. She was off climbing for about six months and is only really getting back into it again this year. Even now the biggest problem is belaying because inspite of the surgery her hand starts to hurt after a few hours and she is worried that in the event of having to hold a fall, she will damage it again. She finds using a grigri is better than a bug.
Solaris - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:

I tore a pulley cranking on one-finger pocket and had trigger finger as a result. It was quite scary to find that my finger would "freeze" half-closed in the middle of a move but it did eventually unfreeze. One way of stopping it is to squeeze the relevant tendon in the palm of your hand - if you can take a hand off to do so! The whole thing sorted itself out naturally over time.

My experience of this condition is different from yours, but I hope it's of some help. In any case, go and see a doctor and/or a physio.
misterb - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:
I have experienced this lately in two fingers that have slight pulley injuries.
In the morning they have been locked in a bent position and i have had to massage them to make them straighten.
If you keep massaging the fingers everyday it might help as it seems to have sorted itself out for me over the last two weeks.
cheers
Madden - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden: Thanks for the advice guys :) it does come and go on different days, so maybe this one will sort it's self out on it's own. I'll make sure to try massaging my hand and not just prodding it curiously. Also, I read that ibuprofen gel can help decrease the irritation in the tendons... Anybody had any experience of it working?
porterclough - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden: It might be worth asking at your GP if there is someone who treats this. I am a GP inject trigger fingers with a small amount of steroid.
Unknown Climber - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:

I had something similar a long time ago. Sometimes I had to use one hand to straighten the fingers on the other. It only happened in the morning and was ok for the rest of the day. I think it started a few months after I began climbing and started climbing harder and pulling on crimps. My guess was that it was something to do with a lag between muscles and tendon getting stronger i.e. I was strong enough to pull on small holds but that had some kind of adverse effect on the tendons until they got stronger.
The good news is that it cleared up and has never happened again. I'm not suggesting that you don't get it checked though.
Chris.Allott - on 01 May 2012
In reply to Madden:
I read that ibuprofen gel can help decrease the irritation in the tendons...

Ibuprofen isn't a great idea - it affects the development of fibrous tissues and tissue repair - may lead to tendon weakening. Anti-inflammatories are best avoided as it's that process that results in fibrous repair and strengthening.
For tendon issues that are not caused by significant rupture of pulleys or the tendon itself it's usually due to inflammation or small tears in the sheath causing a reduction in tendon lubrication.
Warm up fingers as well as muscles before climbing.
As frequently as needed try flexing and extending the fingers as much as possible in warm water - 10 mins or so in a morning or after climbing.
Try something like piano or guitar playing that needs finger extensions without excessive loading.

Madden - on 01 May 2012
In reply to Chris.Allott: Thanks for the info. Shall keep it in mind :)
John_Hat - on 01 May 2012
In reply to Madden:

I've had it after I knacked my fingers doing *way* too much climbing, ignoring the pain I was getting from my tendons, and generally overdoing it when large parts of my body were telling me to "for christ's sake, STOP".

Basically my understanding is the tendon is inflamed so swells up, and then is too big to fit into the sheath. You can force it by using increased muscular pull to get it to fit in, but then it generally "pops" in all in one go, so to speak.

I ended up resting from climbing for nearly six months, and strapping up the offending digit overnight (in fully extended position), plus taking lots of ibuprofen. It went away after a few weeks, but it was, as I say, months before I could climb comfortably on that hand again.
Hannes on 01 May 2012
In reply to Madden: Trigger finger isn't dupuytren's. Dupuuytren's also tends to affect little and ring fingers primarily

it is usually due to a thickening of the tendon which gets caught on the pulleys, releasing the pulleys or sorting out the thickening is the definitive solution

Anti inflammatories help and don't make your tendons any weaker and decrease inflammation but aren't more than a short term fix. Is there a single proper study that shows this a problem for trigger finger or even anything related? Pubmed.org seems to disagree and given that this is the single most reliable source of information in the world on these matters I'd be reluctant to argue with it.

Go see your GP about it and he can refer you to (possibly) an orthopaedic surgeon (they don't just operate) and also to a physiotherapist to see what can be done about it
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Timmd on 02 May 2012
In reply to Hannes:
>
> Go see your GP about it and he can refer you to...

Or she?

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