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How Helpful is a Trigger Finger Injection?

By Lakendra Scott
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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For people who suffer from trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, a trigger finger injection is a fairly inexpensive and helpful treatment. This is a treatment that involves receiving a cortisone injection in or near the tendon shaft of the affected finger or thumb in order to release the tendon and unlock the finger. A cortisone injection is seen as a moderate treatment for trigger finger; resting the finger is the most simplistic treatment, and surgery is the most extreme. Overall, trigger finger injections are helpful in the short term, but sufferers might require more injections if pain continues, and some medical officials do not regard injections as long-term solutions. Cortisone injections are also not advisable for people who suffer from diabetes or arthritis, and injections could do more harm than help in people who suffer from these conditions as well as trigger finger.

Trigger finger is a condition in which the tendon in a sufferer's finger or thumb is unable to glide freely. As a result, the finger or thumb gets "stuck" and locks, causing intense pain. The condition deals primarily with the tendon, so treatments for trigger finger aim to provide the tendon with the ability to glide freely. A trigger finger injection is the most commonly used treatment for the condition, and it typically alleviates symptoms in more than half of all patients who receive it.

The efficacy of a trigger finger injection depends mainly on the severity of the condition and any other health problems that the sufferer might be experiencing. This injection is most helpful to sufferers who have moderate trigger finger symptoms. For sufferers who are diagnosed with only slight trigger finger, an injection is not necessary, and treatments such as splinting, finger exercises, rest of the finger for four to six weeks, massage and soaking the finger in warm water will be more helpful.

Trigger finger injections are the most commonly used treatment for moderate cases of trigger finger, but studies have shown that the treatment is not helpful for people who also suffer from diabetes mellitus or rheumatoid arthritis. Patients who also have diabetes or arthritis have a far better chance of recovering from their trigger finger symptoms if they get surgical treatment. A trigger finger injection is also rarely helpful after the first shot because the potency decreases with each additional cortisone injection. If a sufferer is still experiencing pain after the first injection, he or she should look into surgical treatment.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Sep 28, 2013

I had trigger finger too and I think injections can be worth a try, but the success rate of surgery is higher. Some people also find relief with heat therapy, a trigger finger splint and finger exercises.

By SteamLouis — On Sep 28, 2013

@turkay1-- Steroid injections work for trigger finger, but only for a short period of time. I had injections twice and each worked for six months. Eventually, I had to get surgery.

I think the injections buy time, but that's it. Injections are not a permanent treatment and they can only be used a few times. My doctor did not allow me to get the third injection and said that surgery is my only option. I think that trigger finger surgery and therapy exercises are more promising treatments.

By candyquilt — On Sep 27, 2013

Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory. I had cortisone injections done before for arthritis and this time I had one done for a trigger finger thumb. It resolved my symptoms in a week.

I know that some people don't like cortisone injections because they can cause side effects if used frequently. It can cause weight gain and increase blood sugar. But for me, the benefits have always outweighed the side effects. I personally recommend cortisone injections for trigger finger. It's definitely worth a try, especially if the only other treatment option is surgery.

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