Texting, typing on small devices, even holding onto a steering wheel can be impossible for people who suffer from a painful hand condition which causes their finger to lock and stiffen. But, a simple, outpatient procedure is finally giving them a reason to high five.
Simply making a fist was almost impossible for Tom Gates – until recently. “Initially it was kind of funny, look at this little trick finger and then it got worse and worse and it wasn’t funny,” he says.
The retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Was dealing with tenosynovitis or trigger finger. Inflammation and swelling of tissue inside a finger or thumb.
Altoona Hand Surgeon Dr. Andrew Gurman, says trigger finger is a complete complaint seen in his office. “Somebody will come in and say my finger is catching or locking or I have a trick finger,” he explains. Dr, Gurman says sometimes patients have to use their other hand to open the finger.
To get relief, Tom opted for a procedure called percutaneous trigger release. The area is numbed and a small needle is used to cut the ligament that’s causing the problem.
According to Dr. Gurman, “it’s pretty straight forward and only takes five or ten minutes usually and people by and large do very well.”
Tom says, “in less than 20 minutes I was in, out, I was bending my hand.”
Dr Gurman says not everyone with a trigger finger is a good candidate for the percutaneous trigger release. “In people who have middle or ring finger and can make it lock every time then you do it.” He performs the traditional surgery which requires an incision in the palm, when the trigger finger is the thumb, index finger or pinky, because there’s less chance of nerve damage.
But, he says both procedures can be done with a local anesthetic and recovery is pretty quick.
This information was originally published by this news station.