Recognising the Differences Between Trigger Finger and Finger Fractures

Ever woken up unable to straighten your finger or felt a sharp pain whenever you tried to move it? How do you know if it is just a case of trigger finger or something more serious like a finger fracture? Both conditions can cause discomfort and hinder your daily activities, but understanding their differences is crucial for prompt and effective treatment. Read on as we delve into the distinct symptoms of trigger finger and finger fractures, empowering you to recognise the signs and take appropriate action for your hand health.


Identifying trigger finger


Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, typically manifests as pain, finger stiffness, and a popping or clicking sensation when moving the affected finger. It often occurs when the flexor tendon in your finger becomes inflamed or irritated, leading to difficulties in bending or straightening the finger smoothly.


Initially, you may notice mild discomfort or a sensation of your finger getting stuck in a bent position, especially after periods of inactivity such as waking up in the morning or after prolonged computer use. As the condition progresses, the popping or clicking sensation may become more pronounced, accompanied by increased pain and difficulty in performing tasks requiring fine motor skills, like gripping objects or typing.


Learn more: What Is Trigger Finger, The Causes & Simple Ways To Prevent It


Understanding finger fractures


Unlike trigger finger which may develop gradually over time, finger fractures often happen with acute symptoms like immediate pain, swelling, and bruising following a specific incident like a fall, sports injury, or crushing force to the finger. The affected finger may also appear misshapen or visibly crooked, indicating a potential break in the bone. Fractures can also vary in severity, from hairline cracks to complete breaks, and may affect different parts of the finger, including the phalanges, or the metacarpal bones in the hand.


Seeking treatment


Whether you suspect a case of trigger finger or a finger fracture, seeking prompt medical evaluation is crucial for accurate finger injury diagnosis and appropriate treatment. For trigger finger treatment, initial measures may include rest, avoiding repetitive gripping or grasping activities, and using splints to support the affected finger and reduce strain on the tendon. Your hand specialist may also recommend gentle stretching exercises or corticosteroid injections to alleviate inflammation and improve finger mobility. In cases where conservative methods are ineffective, surgical options such as the release of the affected tendon may be considered to restore normal finger function.


In contrast, managing finger fractures involves assessing the extent of the hand injury through physical examination and imaging tests like X-rays. Depending on the severity and type of fracture, treatment options may range from simple immobilisation with a splint or cast, to realignment of displaced bones and surgical intervention for complex fractures. Early intervention is not only vital for proper healing but also reduces the risk of long-term complications such as finger numbness, malunion, or chronic pain in the affected finger.


Whether it’s conservative measures for trigger finger or pursuing timely interventions for fractures, staying mindful of any changes in your finger’s condition is crucial. After all, your fingers work tirelessly for you every day—it’s only fair to give them the care they deserve!


Ready to restore optimal hand health and functionality? At Advanced Hand, Wrist & Nerve Centre, our hand specialists in Singapore are dedicated to your well-being. Reach out today to discover how we can help.