Does Diabetes Cause Trigger Finger?
I recently had surgery to release a condition called trigger finger in my middle finger and thumb. My doctor said this is a common malady in people with diabetes. Why? Mary Dahlberg, Buffalo, New York
Christy L. Parkin, MSN, RN, CDE, responds: Trigger finger is a musculoskeletal condition that affects the tendons and ligaments in the fingers or thumb. In trigger finger, a finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position and then straightens with a snap—like a trigger being pulled and released. In severe cases, the finger may become locked in a bent position.
What to Know: The cause of trigger finger is usually unknown. The condition is more common in women than men and occurs most often in people between the ages of 40 and 60, sometimes after activities that strain the hand. People with certain medical problems, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to develop trigger finger.
The condition affects 2 to 3 percent of the population but 10 to 20 percent of those with diabetes. Its presence is associated with age and duration of diabetes, not with blood glucose control. In people with type 1 diabetes, trigger finger has been linked to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Find Out More: Signs and symptoms of trigger finger usually start without any injury and may progress from mild to severe. They include:
Finger stiffness, particularly in the morning.
Pain when bending or straightening your finger.
A popping or clicking sensation as you move your finger.
Tenderness or a bump at the base of the affected finger.
The finger catching or locking in a bent position, then popping straight.
The finger locking in a bent position, which you can't straighten.
Possible Solutions: Treatment varies depending on trigger finger's severity and duration. Rest, splinting, physical therapy, and avoiding repetitive gripping may alleviate mild or infrequent symptoms. For more serious cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroid injections, or surgery may be necessary.
Takeaways: Trigger finger is not a dangerous condition, although it certainly can affect your quality of life. The goal of surgery is to release the tendon when symptoms become severe and don't respond to other treatments. This minor operation can provide permanent relief.