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Trigger Finger in Children / Babies

Trigger thumb means your child’s thumb pops, clicks or catches when they try to straighten it. Their thumb may lock in a bent position. If the thumb locks, your child can pull it straight using their other hand. (Or you can pull it straight for them.) But they can’t straighten the locked thumb using their thumb muscles.

The muscle that bends the tip of the thumb is called flexor pollicis longus (FLEX-er PAHL-i-sis LONG-us). This muscle starts in your child’s forearm. Near the wrist, the muscle turns into tendon. The tendon runs along the palm side of your child’s thumb and connects to the bone in the tip of the thumb.

When your child moves their thumb, this tendon should glide smoothly inside a wrapping called a tendon sheath. Near the base of the thumb, a tough band (ligament) crosses the tendon and tendon sheath, acting like a pulley. Doctors call this the A1 pulley.

Trigger thumb occurs when the tendon swells, forming a bump (nodule) near the A1 pulley. The nodule gets stuck at the pulley, so the tendon cannot glide inside the sheath. You may be able to feel this bump on your child’s palm at the base of their thumb.

Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger

Trigger Thumb in Children

In children, trigger thumb usually happens between the ages of 1 and 3 years old. It’s not thought to be due to injury or other medical problems.

Most children with trigger thumb have it in only one hand. About one-third of children have it in both hands. Triggering can happen in fingers, too. This is a different and more complex problem.

Trigger Thumb at Seattle Children’s

Trigger thumb is one of the most common conditions treated by the experts in our Hand and Upper Extremity Program. Each year we see many children with this condition in our clinics.

Our team is well versed in the treatment options for trigger thumb. For many children, treatment begins with stretching and splinting. This may be enough to cure the problem. If it’s not, we perform surgery to release the A1 pulley. Our surgeons are experienced at performing this type of surgery in children.

Symptoms of Trigger Thumb

If your child has trigger thumb, they will have one or both of these symptoms:

  • Popping, clicking or catching when they move their thumb
  • Thumb locked in a bent position

You child may also have these symptoms:

  • Pain and swelling in their thumb, usually near the base
  • Bump on the palm side of their thumb, near the base

Trigger Thumb Diagnosis

Doctors can diagnose trigger thumb by asking about your child’s symptoms and doing a physical exam.

If your child seems to have trigger thumb, the doctor will check to make sure they do not have some other problem, like a fractured bone or a joint that’s out of place (dislocated).

The doctor will also check for signs of broader health conditions that may affect the hands, like cerebral palsy orarthrogryposis. (Most children with trigger thumb do not have any other condition.)

Trigger Thumb Treatment Options

Stretching and splinting

If the doctor believes stretching and splinting will be enough to cure your child’s trigger thumb, they will start with these options.

They will teach you stretches and massage to do at home. This can help free the bump (nodule) from the tough band (ligament, A1 pulley) where it sticks.

Your child may also need to wear a thumb splint to stretch their thumb and hold it straight. Because this prevents the thumb from moving, it may keep the A1 pulley from bothering the tendon. The swelling may decrease, and the tendon may glide the way it should.


If stretching and splinting aren’t enough, your child will need a day surgery, called trigger thumb release or A1 pulley release.

The surgeon makes a small cut (incision) on your child’s palm in the crease of skin at the base of the thumb. Then the surgeon cuts through the A1 pulley. This takes pressure off the tendon and allows it to glide smoothly. (The surgeon doesn’t cut into the tendon or remove the nodule.)

After surgery, your child will need a bandage for one to two weeks to protect their thumb while it heals. Trigger thumb rarely comes back, and children rarely need any other treatment for it. You can expect your child to regain normal use of their thumb.


Flexor Tendon Injuries

A deep cut on the palm side of your fingers, hand, wrist, or forearm can damage your flexor tendons, which are the tissues that help control movement in your hand. A flexor tendon injury can make it impossible to bend your fingers or thumb.

Tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bone. When muscles contract, tendons pull on bones. This causes parts of the body (such as a finger) to move.

The flexor tendons allow you to bend your fingers.

The muscles that move the fingers and thumb are located in the forearm. Long tendons extend from these muscles through the wrist and attach to the small bones of the fingers and thumb.

The tendons on the top of the hand straighten the fingers. These are known as extensor tendons. The tendons on the palm side bend the fingers. These are known as the flexor tendons.

When you bend or straighten your finger, the flexor tendons slide through snug tunnels, called tendon sheaths, that keep the tendons in place next to the bones.

A torn or cut tendon in the forearm, at the wrist, in the palm, or along the finger will make it impossible to bend one or more joints in a finger.

Because flexor tendons are very close to the surface of the skin, a deep cut will most likely hit a flexor tendon. In these cases, the tendon is often cut into two pieces.

Like a rubber band, tendons are under tension as they connect the muscle to the bone. If a tendon is torn or cut, the ends of the tendon will pull far apart, making it impossible for the tendon to heal on its own.

Because the nerves to the fingers are also very close to the tendons, a cut may damage them, as well. This will result in numbness on one or both sides of the finger. If blood vessels are also cut, the finger may have no blood supply. This requires immediate surgery.

Occasionally, flexor tendons may be partially cut or torn. With a partial tendon tear, it may still be possible to bend your finger, but not completely. These types of tears can be difficult to diagnose.

Causes of Flexor Tendon Injuries

In addition to cuts on the arm, hand, or fingers, certain sports activities can cause flexor tendon injuries. These injuries often occur in football, wrestling, and rugby. “Jersey finger” is one of the most common of these sports injuries. It can happen when one player grabs another’s jersey and a finger (usually the ring finger) gets caught and pulled. The tendon is pulled off the bone. In sports that require a lot of arm and hand strength, such as rock climbing, tendons and/or their sheaths can also be stretched or torn.

Certain health conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, for example) weaken the flexor tendons and make them more likely to tear. This can happen without warning or injury — a person may simply notice that his or her finger no longer bends, but cannot recall how it could have happened.

Symptoms of Flexor Tendon Injuries

The most common signs of a flexor tendon injury include:

  • An open injury, such as a cut, on the palm side of your hand, often where the skin folds as the finger bends
  • An inability to bend one or more joints of your finger
  • Pain when your finger is bent
  • Tenderness along your finger on the palm side of your hand
  • Numbness in your fingertip

Doctor Examination

It is important to see a doctor whenever the fingers are injured. This is especially true if your finger is jammed and you cannot bend or straighten your fingertip.

First Aid

When you have a serious cut to your hand or fingers, apply ice immediately. Tightly wrap your hand with a clean cloth or bandage to slow down the bleeding. Elevate your hand by keeping it lifted above your heart. See a doctor as soon as possible.

Your doctor may first clean and treat any wounds that are not deep. You may need a tetanus shot or antibiotics to prevent infection.

Physical Examination

These standard examination tests help your doctor determine if a tendon or nerve has been injured.

During the examination, your doctor will ask you to bend and straighten your fingers. To test your finger strength, your doctor may have you try to bend your injured finger while he or she holds the other fingers down flat. To determine whether any nerves or blood vessels have been injured, your doctor may test your hand for sensation and blood flow to the fingers.

Additional Tests

Your doctor may also order an x-ray to see if there is any damage to the bone.

Treatment of Flexor Tendon Injuries

Your hand may be placed in a splint for protection prior to surgery.

After examining your hand, your doctor may place your hand in a splint for protection.

Tendons cannot heal unless the ends are touching, which does not occur with a complete tear. In most cases, a cut or torn tendon must be repaired by a doctor. This requires surgery.

Surgery is usually performed within 7 to 10 days after an injury. In general, the sooner surgery is performed, the better recovery will be.

If your injury is restricting blood flow to your hand or finger, your doctor will schedule an immediate surgery.

Surgical Procedure

Because tendons tear in different ways — such as straight across, at an angle, or pulled right off of the bone — there are many different methods for your surgeon to repair them. All the methods for repair, however, involve special sutures, which are stitches.

Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis (you may go home the day of surgery). Your doctor will apply a dressing and splint after the surgery. Many doctors use a plastic type of splint to protect the repair. Your fingers and wrist will be placed in a bent position to keep tension off the repair.

After surgery, a splint is applied to limit movement and help the tendon heal.

Recovery from Surgery

It can take up to 2 months before the repair heals and your hand is strong enough to use without protection. It may take another month or so before your hand can be used with any force.

Soon after surgery, you will begin physical therapy. Specific exercises will help you gradually regain motion and function. Stiffness after surgery is common, but it usually responds to therapy.

Splint wear and proper exercise, exactly as prescribed by your therapist, are as important to recovery as the surgery itself.

Treatment for Partial Tears

Recent evidence suggests that partially torn tendons do not require surgery for good results. The same splinting and exercise programs that are used for surgery patients can be very effective for patients with partial tears, but with no surgery necessary.

This nonsurgical treatment option is appropriate only after the doctor has explored the wound to accurately assess the extent of the injury.

Long-Term Outcomes

Over the last several decades, advanced research and experience in the treatment of flexor tendon injuries have resulted in improved patient outcomes. Flexor tendon injuries, however, can be very challenging to treat.

Despite extensive therapy, some patients have long-term stiffness after flexor tendon injuries. Sometimes, a second surgery is required to free up scar tissue and to help the patient regain motion.

Overall, flexor tendon surgery results in good return of function and high patient satisfaction.

Injured your Flexor Tendon? Get it treated with Orthopaedic Surgeon. Call +65 6471 2744 or Email to info@boneclinic.com.sg for Appointment

Mallet Finger

Commonly an athletic injury, mallet finger occurs when the outermost joint of the finger is injured. Basketball and baseball players routinely experience jammed fingers, but the injury can occur because of a crushing accident on the job or even because of a cut finger while working in the kitchen.

Mallet Finger

Mallet Finger

With mallet finger, the tendon on the back of the finger (not the palm side) is separated from the muscles it connects.

Three types of injuries commonly occur:

  • The tendon is damaged, but no fractures (bone cracks or breaks) are present.

  • The tendon ruptures with a small fracture caused by the force of the injury.

  • The tendon ruptures with a large fracture.

Mallet Finger Causes

Mallet finger occurs when the outermost joint of the finger is injured. With mallet finger, the tendon on the back of the finger (not the palm side) is separated from the muscles it connects. Three types of injuries commonly occur:

  • The tendon is damaged, but no fractures (bone cracks or breaks) are present.

  • The tendon ruptures with a small fracture caused by the force of the injury.

  • The tendon ruptures with a large fracture.

Mallet Finger Symptoms

People with mallet finger may delay seeking medical attention-even though they may be in a great deal of pain-simply because they can still use their hand.

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Pain, tenderness, and swelling at the outermost joint immediately after the injury

  • Swelling and redness soon after the injury

  • Inability to completely extend the finger but can move it with help

When to Seek Medical Care

Call a doctor immediately to evaluate the injury to determine the need for x-ray films, and to repair any deep cuts. The doctor may recommend an appointment with a hand surgeon for further evaluation or surgery.

A doctor may instruct a person with mallet finger to go to a hospital’s emergency department for further evaluation.

Exams and Tests

X-ray films help the doctor to determine if the bone has suffered a crack or break. Imaging studies may also help the doctor to see any foreign debris in the cut (laceration).

Mallet Finger Treatment Self-Care at Home

  • Apply ice to the injured finger joint to reduce swelling and tenderness. Wrap ice in a towel; do not apply ice directly to skin. A bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel conforms nicely to the hand.

  • Take care not to injure the finger even more.

  • If a cut is also present, clean the cut under running water for a few minutes, then wrap the finger with clean gauze or a cloth. Apply a moderate amount of pressure to help stop any bleeding.

Medical Treatment

  • If the finger is not broken or cut, or if only a small fracture is present, the doctor applies a splint to the end of the finger so it remains extended. With a splint, the outermost joint on the injured finger is not bendable, but the rest of your finger is bendable. This splint needs to be worn for at least 6-8 weeks, perhaps longer, to ensure that the tendon is given the best chance of healing.

  • The doctor also repairs any cuts or damage to the skin. And, if necessary, the tendon may be stitched (sutured) to repair it.

  • For pain relief, apply ice to the joint.

Treat your Mallet Finger Today. Call us +65 64712744 (24 Hours) or Email to: info@boneclinic.com.sg for appointment

Fracture of the Finger

If you think a broken (fractured) finger is a minor injury, think again. Without proper treatment a fractured finger can cause major problems. The bones in a normal hand line up precisely. They let you perform many specialized functions, such as grasping a pen or manipulating small objects in your palm. When you fracture a finger bone, it can cause your whole hand to be out of alignment. Without treatment, your broken finger might stay stiff and painful.


Generally, a fractured finger occurs as the result of an injury to your hand. You can fracture a finger when you slam your fingers in a door or put out your hands to break a fall. You can fracture a finger during a ball game if the ball jams your finger. Carelessness when working with power saws, drills, and other tools can result in a fractured finger.


  • Swelling of the fracture site.
  • Tenderness at the fracture site.
  • Bruising at the fracture site.
  • Inability to move the injured finger in completely.
  • Deformity of the injured finger.


If you think you fractured your finger, immediately tell your doctor exactly what happened and when it happened. Your doctor must determine not only which bone you fractured, but also how the bone broke. Bones can break in several ways. They can break straight across the bone, in a spiral, into several pieces, or shatter completely.

Your doctor may want to see how your fingers line up when you extend your hand or make a fist. Does any finger overlap its neighbor? Does the injured finger angle in the wrong direction? Does the injured finger look too short? Your doctor may X-ray both of your hands to compare the injured finger on your uninjured finger on your other hand.


Nonsurgical Treatment

Your doctor will put your broken bone back into place, usually without surgery. You’ll get a splint or cast to hold your finger straight and protect it from further injury while it heals. Sometimes your doctor may splint the fingers next to the fractured one to provide additional support. Your doctor will tell you how long to wear the splint. Usually a splint on a fractured finger is worn for about three weeks. You may need more X-rays as you heal so your doctor can check the progress of your finger as it heals.

Surgical Treatment

Depending on the type and severity of the fracture, you may need surgery to have pins, screws, or wire put in place to hold your fractured bones together.

Get professional opinion and treatment for your Finger Fracture. Call +65 6471 2744 or Email to: info@boneclinic.com.sg

Hand, Finger and Wrist Injuries

At one time or another, everyone has had a minor injury to a finger, hand, or wrist that caused pain or swelling. Most of the time our body movements do not cause problems, but it’s not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or an injury.

Finger, hand, or wrist injuries most commonly occur during:

  • Sports or recreational activities.
  • Work-related tasks.
  • Work or projects around the home, especially if using machinery such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, or hand tools.
  • Accidental falls.
  • Fistfights.

The risk of finger, hand, or wrist injury is higher in contact sports, such as wrestling, football, or soccer, and in high-speed sports, such as biking, in-line skating, skiing, snowboarding, and skateboarding. Sports that require weight-bearing on the hands and arms, such as gymnastics, can increase the risk for injury. Sports that use hand equipment such as ski poles, hockey or lacrosse sticks, or racquets also increase the risk of injury.

In children, most finger, hand, or wrist injuries occur during sports or play or from accidental falls. Any injury occurring at the end of a long bone near a joint may injure the growth plate (physis) and needs to be evaluated.

Older adults are at higher risk for injuries and fractures because they lose muscle mass and bone strength (osteopenia) as they age. They also have more problems with vision and balance, which increases their risk of accidental injury.

Most minor injuries will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve symptoms and promote healing.

Sudden (acute) injury

An acute injury may occur from a direct blow, a penetrating injury, or a fall, or from twisting, jerking, jamming, or bending a limb abnormally. Pain may be sudden and severe. Bruising and swelling may develop soon after the injury. Acute injuries include:

  • Bruises. After a wrist or hand injury, bruising may extend to the fingers from the effects of gravity. See a picture of a bruise (contusion) .
  • Injuries to ligaments. See a picture of a torn thumb ligament  as in skier’s thumb.
  • Injuries to tendons, such as mallet finger.
  • Injuries to joints (sprains).
  • Pulled muscles (strains).
  • Broken bones (fractures), such as a wrist fracture .
  • Dislocations.
  • Crushing injury, which can lead to compartment syndrome.

Overuse injuries

Overuse injuries occur when too much stress is placed on a joint or other tissue, often by “overdoing” an activity or repeating the same activity. Overuse injuries include the following:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on a nerve (median nerve ) in the wrist. The symptoms include tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain of the fingers and hand. See a picture of carpal tunnel syndrome .
  • Tendon pain is actually a symptom of tendinosis, a series of very small tears (microtears) in the tissue in or around the tendon. In addition to pain and tenderness, common symptoms of tendon injury include decreased strength and movement in the affected area.
  • De Quervain’s disease can occur in the hand and wrist when tendons and the tendon covering (sheath) on the thumb side of the wrist swell and become inflamed. See a picture of de Quervain’s disease .


Treatment for a finger, hand, or wrist injury may include first aid measures; medicine; “buddy-taping” for support; application of a brace, splint, or cast; physical therapy; and in some cases, surgery. Treatment depends on:

  • The location, type, and severity of the injury.
  • How long ago the injury occurred.
  • Your age, health condition, and activities (such as work, sports, or hobbies).

Stop the pain and get your hand checked. Call +65 6471 2744 (24 Hours) or SMS to +65 9235 7641

Finger Arthritis

Joints are places in your body where two bones come together. Arthritis is a problem that causes damage to the normal joint surfaces. These junctions have special surfaces to allow smooth motion. This smooth surface is cartilage, and when the cartilage is damaged, arthritis is the condition that results.

There are two types of arthritis that commonly affect the fingers. These are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis
    Osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common type of finger arthritis. In people with osteoarthritis, the normal cartilage is steadily worn away, exposing bare bone at the joints. The most frequently affected joints in the hand are the knuckles of the mid-finger and fingertip (the PIP and DIP joints), and the joint at the base of the thumb.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Rheumatoid arthritis causes a different type of joint destruction. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease that can cause a number of problems. Among these, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of the soft-tissue surrounding joints. The most commonly affected joints in the hand are the knuckles at the base of the fingers (the MCP joints).

What are the symptoms of finger arthritis?
Symptoms of finger arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of motion

Patients with osteoarthritis often develop lumps or nodules around the knuckles of the fingers. These lumps are called Heberden’s nodes (when around the more distant knuckle) or Bouchard’s nodes (when around the closer knuckle), and actually consist of bone spurs around the joints. These knuckles often become enlarged, swollen, and stiff. People often complain that their rings do not fit, or can’t be removed.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often have the aforementioned symptoms, but can also have more complex deformities of the hands. The fingers may begin to shift from their normal position, and drift away from the thumb.

What are the treatments for finger arthritis?
Early treatments of finger arthritis are focused on managing the symptoms in an effort to avoid surgery. Treatment options include:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
    These medications can help treat the pain of finger arthritis, and also help decrease inflammation and swelling around the joints.
  • Joint Supplements
    Joint supplements consist of glucosamine and chondroitin, two of the major building blocks of normal cartilage. These supplements may be helpful for osteoarthritis.
  • Anti-inflammatory Injections
    Anti-inflammatory is a more powerful anti-inflammatory medication and can be useful in limited applications in the hand.
  • Hand Therapy
    Hand therapy, usually performed by an occupational therapist, is helpful to maintain motion and prevent stiffening of the joints.
  • Ice & Heat Treatment
    Joint stiffness and range of motion can be improved by ice and heat treatments.
  • Splints
    Splinting helps to relax and rest the joints. Splinting should be done for limited periods of time to allow for relief without allowing the joint to stiffen.

If these treatments fail, then surgery may be necessary. In the fingers, several procedures may be done, including removing the bone spurs, fusing the joint, and replacing the joint. The most common surgery is a finger joint fusion. This procedure holds the joint in a fixed position to prevent any further motion at the affected joint. While the joint is then stiff forever, the pain is usually alleviated. Furthermore, during finger joint fusion surgery, your doctor can straighten any deformity and remove bone spurs.

Stop the pain and get your Finger Joint checked today. Call +65 6471 2744 (24 Hours) / Email: info@boneclinic.com.sg

Patient Guide to Finger Pain

Finger pain includes any kind of discomfort in the tissues or joints of the finger. Finger pain may be described as throbbing, aching, increased warmth, tingling, soreness or stiffness. Burning or prickling sensations in a finger, often called pins and needles, are called paresthesias. Paresthesias are often due to temporary or permanent damage or pressure on the nerves that carry sensation messages from the hand and fingers to the spinal cord.

The finger is made up of nerves, bones, blood vessels, muscles and skin. Finger joints are the areas where bones meet and consist of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bursas (fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the joint), and synovial membranes and fluid, which lubricate joints. Any of these structures in the finger can become irritated or inflamed and painful in response to a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders or conditions, such as trauma, infection and inflammation.

Common causes of finger pain include injury or trauma, such as bending your finger backward (hyperextension) or from repetitive use, such as long periods of keyboarding. More serious conditions, such as diabetes or a neck or spinal cord injury, can also cause pain or a burning sensation in your fingers. Sore joints in the fingers may be caused byarthritis, inflammation, and age-related wear and tear. Depending on the cause, your pain may be short term and disappear quickly, or it may develop slowly over weeks or months.

Because finger pain can be a sign of a serious infection or inflammation, you should contact your medical professional about your symptoms. Seek prompt medical care if you have finger pain with swelling, redness, warmth or fever.

What other symptoms might occur with finger pain?

Other symptoms may occur with finger pain. Additional symptoms vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, finger pain due to a serious infection that has spread to the blood may be accompanied by swelling, fever and chills, as well as redness and warmth around the affected area.

Other symptoms that may occur with finger pain include:

  • Arm or wrist pain
  • Bruising or other discoloration
  • Decreased grip strength
  • Drainage or pus
  • Fingernail problems, such as bruising under the nail or detachment of the nail
  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches and pains)
  • Lacerations, abrasions, sores or lesions
  • Lumps or bumps along the finger
  • Numbness
  • Reduced range of motion or movement of a joint
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, finger pain may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care) if you, or someone you are with, have finger pain along with any of these other symptoms:

  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Inability to move the finger, wrist or arm
  • Partial or total amputation of the finger
  • Red, warm and tender skin or a red streak up the arm
  • Severe pain
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Visible deformity

    What causes finger pain?

    The finger consists of nerves, blood vessels, muscles, skin and joints. The hand and finger joints are made up of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bursas (fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the joint), and synovial membranes and fluid that lubricate the joints. Any of the structures in the finger can become irritated or inflamed in response to a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders or conditions, such as trauma, infection and nerve compression.

    Tingling pain in the fingers can be due to compression of the nerves that carry sensation messages from the hand and fingers to the spinal cord. Tingling of both the pinky finger and ring finger together can be a sign of entrapment or compression of the ulnar nerve in the arm due to problems with the shoulder, elbow or wrist joint. Tingling of the thumb, index finger, middle finger and part of the ring finger can be due to problems with the median nerve, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

    In some cases, finger pain is a symptom of a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting, such as a broken bone or invasive bacterial infection.

    Injury-related causes of finger pain

    Finger pain can occur from the following types of injuries:

    • Broken finger or stress fracture
    • Contusion or abrasion
    • Crush injury
    • Degloving injury (separation of the skin and top layer of tissue from the finger)
    • Laceration or blunt force trauma, such as a dog bite
    • Repetitive stress injury
    • Splinter or other foreign body
    • Sprain or strain

    Degenerative, infectious and inflammatory causes of finger pain

    Finger pain can be associated with inflammatory or infectious conditions including:

    • Age-related wear and tear on the joints and osteoarthritis
    • Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa sac that protects and cushions joints)
    • Cellulitis (invasive skin infection that can spread to the surrounding tissues)
    • Ganglion cyst (benign growth or swelling on top of a joint or tendon)
    • Infection, such as a Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infection
    • Paronychia (infection around the nail)
    • Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation)
    • Septic arthritis (infectious arthritis)

    Nerve-related causes of finger pain

    Finger pain, particularly tingling or numbness in the fingers, may be caused by moderate to serious conditions that compress nerves and can lead to nerve damage including:

    • Carpal tunnel syndrome (compression in the wrist area of the nerve that provides feeling and movement to the palm and thumb side of the hand)
    • Cervical spondylosis (degenerative disc disease in the neck)
    • Herniated disc
    • Neck injury
    • Nerve entrapment or compression, such as the ulnar nerve in the arm

    Other neurological causes of finger pain

    Finger pain can be associated with a variety of other conditions that can affect or damage the nervous system including:

    • Alcoholism
    • Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes)
    • Heavy metal poisoning such as lead poisoning
    • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
    • Multiple sclerosis (disease that affects the brain and spinal cord causing weakness, lack of coordination, balance difficulties, and other problems)
    • Neuroma in the finger
    • Peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord)
    • Spinal cord injury or tumor
    • Stroke
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)
    • Transverse myelitis (neurological disorder causing inflammation of the spinal cord)
    • Vitamin B12 deficiency

    Other causes of finger pain

    Finger pain can be associated with other conditions including:

    • Buerger’s disease (acute inflammation and clotting of arteries and veins)
    • Circulatory problems (reduced blood flow)
    • Frostbite or extremely cold temperatures
    • Raynaud’s phenomenon (spasms of small blood vessels of the fingers and toes, reducing blood circulation. Raynaud’s phenomenon is secondary to many autoimmune disorders such as lupus)

    Questions for diagnosing the cause of finger pain

    To diagnose the underlying cause of a finger pain, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your symptoms. Providing complete answers to these questions will help your provider diagnose the cause of your finger pain:

    • What is the exact location of the pain?
    • Describe the pain. Is it sharp or dull, tingling or burning? When did it start? How long does it last? Does the pain occur during or after certain activities?
    • Have you had any recent injuries, including exposure to cold or frostbite?
    • Do you have any other symptoms, such as swelling?
    • What is your full medical history? What medications do you take? Do you smoke?

    What are the potential complications of finger pain?

    Complications associated with finger pain vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder and condition and can be serious. It is important to visit your health care provider when you experience persistent pain or other unusual symptoms related to your fingers or hands. Following the treatment plan you and your health care provider develop specifically for you will minimize the risk of complications including:

    • Chronic disability
    • Finger amputation
    • Finger deformity
    • Inability to perform daily tasks
    • Spread of infection to other tissues

To seek professional opinion about your Finger Pain, call us at +65 6471 2744 / Email: info@boneclinic.com.sg

Swollen Finger Joints

The hand is made of many small bones, and fingers are specially designed to bend at three joints. Swelling at these joints may be the result of an injury or a symptom of a larger problem. Joint swelling is the inflammation of the soft tissue surrounding the bony structures of the joint.

Causes of Swollen Finger Joints

Finger joints can become swollen for a variety of reasons. The joint may be wounded if the hand gets injured in some way or if something bends a finger in the wrong direction. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may both cause inflammation of the finger joints. Arthritis can strike any joint in the body, but it is most noticeable in the hands. Other forms of arthritis, like gout, may be at fault.

Symptoms of Swollen Finger Joints

Swollen finger joints are often quite stiff and painful. Swelling may make the joint quite large and misshapen. The joints may even be red and warm to the touch. Arthritis may make fingers appear crooked as each joint turns the bones of the fingers in different directions.

Diagnosis of Swollen Finger Joints

A trip to the doctor may be necessary to diagnose the cause of swollen finger joints. The physician will examine the finger and take X-rays. Further testing like MRIs, CAT scans and blood tests may be ordered.

Risks of Swollen Finger Joints

There is risk of infection if the joint is swollen due to a cut in skin or a broken bone. If the swelling is caused by rheumatoid arthritis, the joint can be damaged by using the joint while it is swollen. If the reason why the joint is swollen is unknown, it may be helpful to immobilize the finger until swelling subsides or a physician is consulted.

Treatment of Swollen Finger Joints

Treatment will largely depend on the cause of the swelling. Often anti-inflammatory drugs are given, either by prescription or purchased over the counter. Injuries may be treated with hot and cold compresses and immobilization of the finger or hand. Still other treatments may involve physical therapy. If excess fluid is the cause, it may be removed from the joint with a needle. Rarely, surgery is needed.

Prevention of Swollen Finger Joints

Protecting the hands and fingers from injury is always important but not always possible. To prevent infection, gloves should be worn whenever performing any task that may cut the skin. Repetitive tasks that may lead to osteoarthritis, like typing or knitting, should be avoided or minimized.

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Boutonniere Deformity

Boutonnière deformity is an injury to the tendons in your fingers that usually prevents the finger from fully straightening. The result is that the middle joint of the injured finger bends down, while the fingertip bends back. This is the characteristic shape of a boutonnière deformity. Unless this injury is treated promptly, the deformity may progress, resulting in permanent deformity and impaired functioning.


There are several tendons in your fingers that work together to bend and straighten the finger. These tendons run along the side and top of the finger. The tendon on the top of the finger attaches to the middle bone of the finger (the central slip of tendon). When this tendon is injured, the finger is not able to be fully straightened.

Causes of Boutonniere Deformity

Boutonnière deformity is generally caused by a forceful blow to the bent finger.

It also can be caused by a cut on the top of the finger, which can sever the central slip from its attachment to the bone. The tear looks like a buttonhole (“boutonnière” in French). In some cases, the bone actually can pop through the opening.

Boutonnière deformities may also be caused by arthritis. About one third of all people with rheumatoid arthritis also have fingers with boutonnière deformities.

Symptoms of Boutonniere Deformity

Signs of boutonnière deformity can develop immediately following an injury to the finger or it may develop seven to 21 days later.

  • The finger at the middle joint cannot be straightened and the fingertip cannot be bent.
  • Swelling and pain on the top of the middle joint of the finger.
Boutonnière deformity must be treated early to help you retain the full range of motion in the finger.

Nonsurgical Options

Nonsurgical treatment is usually preferred.

  • Splints: A splint will be applied to the finger at the middle joint to straighten it. This keeps the ends of the tendon from separating as it heals. It is important to wear the splint for the recommended length of time-usually 6 weeks for a young patient and 3 weeks for an elderly patient. Following this period of immobilization, you may still have to wear the splint at night.
  • Exercises: Your physician may recommend stretching exercises to improve the strength and flexibility in the fingers.
  • Protection: If you participate in sports, you may have to wear protective splinting or taping for several weeks after the splint is removed.

People with boutonnière deformity caused by arthritis may be treated with oral medications or corticosteroid injections as well as splinting.

Surgical Options

While nonsurgical treatment of boutonnière deformity is preferred, surgery is an option in certain cases, such as when:

  • The deformity results from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The tendon is severed.
  • A large bone fragment is displaced from its normal position.
  • The condition does not improve with splinting.

Surgery can reduce pain and improve functioning, but it may not be able to fully correct the condition and make the finger look normal. If the boutonniere deformity remains untreated for more than 3 weeks, it becomes much more difficult to treat.

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