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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Doctor (MD)
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Experience:  Medical Doctor (MD): Board-Certified Family Doctor
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My top joint on my thumb pop when I try to bend (open &

Customer Question

My top joint on my thumb pop when I try to bend (open & close)it. It is like a trigger finger. It hurts when it pops,the lower joint on the thumb is really sore. what has happened and what is the remedy? thank you.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 10 years ago.


As you intimated--this is called "Trigger Finger", though the clinical term is:

TENOSYNOVITIS. This great link lists all the answers to your Qs, and then some:

In terms of treatment, try: [from same article]

  • Rest. You may notice improvement simply by resting the affected hand. To prevent the overuse of your affected finger, your doctor may also suggest you change or curtail work or personal activities that require repeated gripping actions.
  • Splinting. Your doctor may have you wear a splint to keep the affected finger in an extended position for several weeks. The splint helps to rest the joint. Splinting also helps prevent you from curling your fingers into a fist while sleeping, which can make it painful to move your fingers in the morning.
  • Finger exercises. Your doctor may also suggest that you perform gentle exercises with the affected finger. This can help you to maintain mobility in your finger.
  • Soaking in water. Placing the affected hand in warm water for five to 10 minutes, especially in the morning, may reduce the severity of the catching sensation during the day. If this helps, it can be repeated several times throughout the day.
  • Massage. Massaging your affected fingers may feel good and help relieve your pain, but it won't affect the inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), for example - may relieve the inflammation and swelling that led to the constriction of the tendon sheath and trapping of the tendon, and can relieve the pain associated with trigger finger.

If you've tried the above for 1-2 wks and there's no improvement, then you need to see an Orthopedist or Hand Surgeon to consider the following treatments:

  • Steroids. An injection of a steroid medication, such as cortisone, near or into the tendon sheath also can be used to reduce inflammation of the sheath. This treatment is most effective if given soon after signs and symptoms begin. Injections can be repeated if necessary, though repeated injections may not be as effective as the initial injection.
  • Percutaneous trigger finger release. In this procedure, which is performed under local anesthesia, doctors use a needle to release the locked finger. Combining this procedure with a steroid injection may make it even more effective.
  • Surgery. Though less common than other treatments, surgical release of the tendon may be necessary for troublesome locking that doesn't respond to other treatments.

NOTE: Usually the steroid injection is curative--I've received steroid injections [in the past] for 2 separate cases of trigger finger [2 different fingers]: each injection CURED the problem within 24 hrs after 1 injection.

Good luck & take care.

I hope you found this to be helpful-IF SO, please hit **ACCEPT** as you read this Answer. (Positive Feedbacks and Bonuses appreciated also). THANKS !

(also-you can ask a followup Q, if you need to). "CHAT" is available too.

Best Wishes for your Health,

--Dr. Steve, M.D./FABFP