Tendonitis usually occurs when you repeatedly injure or overuse a tendon. Tendons are the tissue that attach your muscles to your bones.
Tendonitis in your finger can occur from repetitive straining due to leisure or work-related activities. If you think that you might be suffering from tendonitis, visit your doctor. They’ll likely suggest physical therapy to help with your symptoms. Severe tendon injuries may require surgery.
Tendonitis occurs when your tendons become inflamed due to injury or overuse. This can cause pain and stiffness in your fingers when bending.
Often, your doctor can diagnose tendonitis through examination. In some cases, you may need an X-ray or MRI to confirm diagnosis.
There’s a chance that your tendon pain may be caused by tenosynovitis. Tenosynovitis occurs when the sheath of tissue around the tendon becomes irritated, but the tendon itself is in good shape.
If you have diabetes, arthritis, or gout, you may be more prone to tendonitis. Tendons also become less flexible as they age. The older you are, the greater your risk for tendonitis.
Tendonitis symptoms in your fingers can flare up when performing tasks that involve your hands. Symptoms can include:
- pain that increases during movement
- a lump or bump in or around the tendon
- swollen fingers
- cracking or snapping feeling when bending your finger
- heat or warmth in the affected finger
Trigger finger is a type of tenosynovitis. It’s characterized by the curved position (as if you’re about to pull a trigger) that your finger or thumb may be locked into. It may be difficult for you to straighten your finger.
You may have trigger finger if:
- your finger is stuck in a bent position
- your pain is worse in the morning
- your fingers make noise when you move them
- a bump has formed where your finger connects to your palm
If your tendonitis is mild, you can most likely treat it at home. To treat minor tendon injuries in your fingers you should:
- Rest your injured finger. Try to avoid using it.
- Tape your injured finger to the healthy one next to it. This will provide stability and limit its use.
- Apply ice or heat to help with the pain.
- Stretch and move it once the initial pain lessens.
- Take over-the-counter medication to help with pain.
If the tendonitis in your finger is severe and physical therapy hasn’t remedied your pain, you may require surgery. Three types of surgeries are commonly recommended for trigger finger.
- Open surgery. Using a local anesthetic, a surgeon makes a small incision in the palm of the hand and then cuts the tendon sheath to give the tendon more room to move. The surgeon will use stitches to close the wound.
- Percutaneous release surgery. This surgery is also done using a local anesthetic. A surgeon inserts a needle into the bottom of the digit to cut the tendon sheath. This type of surgery is minimally invasive.
- Tenosynovectomy. A doctor will only recommend this procedure if the first two options are not suitable, such as in person with rheumatoid arthritis. A tenosynovectomy involves removing part of the tendon sheath, allowing the finger to move freely.
To prevent tendonitis in your fingers, take periodic rests when performing repetitive tasks with your hands or fingers such as typing, performing assembly work, or crafting.
Tips to prevent injuries:
- Periodically stretch your fingers and hands.
- Adjust your chair and keyboard so they’re ergonomically friendly.
- Make sure your technique is correct for the task you’re performing.
- Try to switch up your movements when possible.
If the pain from your finger tendonitis is minor, resting it and icing it will likely allow it to heal within a couple weeks. If your pain is intense or does not get better with time, you should visit a doctor to determine if your injury requires physical therapy or surgery.