Patient Story: Saying Goodbye to Trigger Finger

Trigger finger

Patricia Plourde was a year into her retirement when she noticed two fingers on both hands locking and releasing.

“I would close my hands, open them, and my ring and middle fingers would snap,” said the Claremont, New Hampshire resident. “There was a delay with my fingers opening up, but they did open.”

Plourde had trigger finger, a condition where the tendon controlling the finger doesn’t glide smoothly. Fingers popping or snapping when you make a fist is just one symptom; others include pulling your finger to get it straight and pain in your palm.

Plourde wasn’t worried until her fingers became tender and painful.

She turned to Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, where she was already a patient for her mammograms and colonoscopies. In addition, her husband has all his orthopaedic needs — hip, knees, and Achilles — taken care of at APD Orthopaedics. Plourde was referred to Dr. Diane Riley, a board certified hand surgeon who specializes in the hand, wrist, and elbow.

In many cases, the cause of trigger finger isn’t known. Sometimes it occurs with certain medical conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, or it could be the result of repeated, strong gripping. Trigger finger is most common in women over age 50.

“For me, it wasn’t age or circumstance, just anatomy,” Plourde said.

Plourde was a good candidate for an ultrasound technique to correct trigger finger. The procedure is performed using local anesthesia, results in a small incision (typically closed with a band aid or adhesive strip), and provides a short recovery time.

After two visits — one for each hand — in March, “no pain, no trouble, everything is wonderful,” said Plourde. “Dr. Riley is very thorough and she explains every step of the way what she is doing. There are no limits to my recommendation of her. I love APD so it all worked out.”