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My Trigger Finger Adventure

My Trigger Finger Adventure

Most of you have probably experienced trigger finger; but for those who haven't, it is a fairly common "side effect" of RA. The flexor tendon in the finger becomes irritated as it slides through the tendon sheath tunnel. Over time the flexor becomes irritated, it may thicken or nodules may form, making its passage through the tunnel more difficult. It makes a snapping feel, and sometimes "locks" making your finger unable to straighten.

I went this morning to visit the ortho since the tendon had swollen to the point where I could not get my wedding rings off. Back in 1997, I had the tendon release surgery on my middle finger on the opposite hand. I was afraid if I went straight to surgery the rings would be an issue, so I opted for cortisone first. Most people opt for cortisone first (I, surgery), but since I have psychological side effects from cortisone, it is used lightly.

Had to deal with new patient procedures even though I had been there before in 2007 with the medical assistant. She figured I would be getting the injection of cortisone and prepared the needle for the doctor. I captured a picture of it. A 30 unit needle - FILLED! Mind you I had had SO many injections and needles in the course of this disease, but hands are the worse. I remember early in my disease where my wrist was swollen and purple from my hand knuckles to my mid-forearm. I received a cortisone injection and thought I was going to hit the floor in pain! I am no wimp, but it hurt BAD! So I was nervous.

With the needle staring at me, the physician assistant came in, looked at the x-rays, and explained the obvious to me. My hands are a mess (subluxation, erosion, bone-on-bone, cysts) and I have trigger finger! He put me on the rolly chair and at once asked him for a stable chair - I was going to roll if it hurt too bad. We got a stationary chair, but because it sat lower, I had to really maneuver to get palm up. Keep in mind that my range of motion in my elbow is 30 degrees and my wrist is 10 degrees!

A little stick...a little pressure...and it went to PAIN. They lie when they say it will be just a little pressure. He bandaged it up, and that was that. They do put a little numbing stuff in there with the cortisone; it kicks in a few minutes later. GREAT!

BUT the good news. An hour ago it appeared as if the swelling had gone down. I went into the kitchen and put some soapy cold water in a bowl and wrestled with my rings, getting off my engagement ring. I was excited and ran in to show my son. He said, "We can get the other one off." He pulled, and yanked, rotated it around, and it reluctantly came off! Success!

I feel naked.

I also got a call for a job interview today. Will share some more about that later.

2 Replies

Hi Mercedes. I presume it has released the finger too? Sorry to be naive. I haven't had trigger finger. I have had fingers that won't straighten, which has gone on for a few days but eventually they do, but that was when I didn't know I ha RA. Luckily I was divorced at the time so no rings! Ha!

I have had cortisone in my heels and that hurt like whatsit for days before it made a difference. So pleased it takes effect so quickly.

Look forward to hearing about the job?

Take care

Julie xx


Hi Mercedes. Just caught up with your blog. I have the same problem with the middle finger on my left hand which will go into spasm, the tendon stands up like a good little soldier and my finger starts to bend itself. When I broke my left wrist 2 years ago, I mentioned it to the Orthopod and he said what it was (a very long unpronounceable name) De somebody or other's syndrome and if it got very bad I could have it operated on. He did tell me to keep stretching the finger back to stretch the tendon. It seems to have worked so far. do get fingers twisting to one side from time to time particularly if I have been holding a book for a while, and have to straighten them back to their proper position.

Hope all goes well with the new job.

LavendarLady x


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