When you think of trigger fingers in toddlers, you may imagine a toddler who is a good shot with their toy gun as they play pretend cowboys. However, a trigger finger, also known as a trigger thumb, is quite serious. This is also known by its medical name of stenosing tenosynovitis. Occurring in 3 out of 1,000 children, it’s something that may need treatment.
What Is A Trigger Finger?
A trigger finger is when your toddler’s thumb or finger clicks or pops when they straighten it. This is due to the fact that the tendons of the finger responsible for flexing are too big and can’t slide in a smooth fashion.
Why is this a bad thing? While it’s painless on its own, your child may feel pain when they try to straighten their fingers. Then, they may notice their fingers stuck. That’s never good, especially if it’s the thumb. With the thumb being so used, it can be a disaster if your toddler has to use it.
Trigger fingers vary in severity, with some being so severe, your kid cannot straighten their digit at all and need surgery to fix it.
You may wonder what the cause(s) of trigger finger or thumb are. You may think the child has injured their finger by playing too hard. However, trigger fingers are usually not caused by any injury, but instead it’s just due to the tendons being too big. It’s something that doesn’t have a direct cause, and during birth, you may not notice it.
It’s associated with toddlers a lot, but you may also notice it in young children as well, which can be a problem as well.
With that said, there are some things that increase the risk for trigger fingers. These include:
Repeated injury to the hand may cause trigger fingers.
If you suspect your child has trigger fingers, here are a few signs to be on the look out for.
- Their Fingers Are Stiff
If you notice any unusual stiffness, this may be a sign.
- Their Fingers Pop When Straightened
If they bend or straighten their finger or thumb, it could be a sign of trigger finger. Usually, this accompanied by a painful pop, so beware.
- The Fingers Get Stuck
If the fingers, when straightened or bent, end up getting stuck, this may be a sign of trigger finger.
- The Symptoms Can Be Worse in the Morning
The time of day can affect how the symptoms are. During the morning, there is a chance that the symptoms may be worse, so that’s a sign that it could be trigger finger or thumb at work.
Now, these symptoms aren’t just for trigger fingers, either. They may something such as juvenile arthritis. If you want to rule it out, your best bet is to go to a doctor.
Testing For Trigger Finger
If you suspect your child has trigger finger or thumb, you should not hesitate, and you should take them to the doctor and see if they do have it. A doctor will usually figure it out through a physical exam. Sometimes, they may need an X-ray, but those circumstances are quite rare.
If you’re worried about your toddler’s trigger finger, it’s understandable, and you may wonder how it’s treated.
For a third of children who have it, they will outgrow it. If your child outgrows it, this usually happens after their first birthday. If your kid is under one, your doctor may tell you to wait it out, as correcting it when it has a possibility of correcting itself is something to avoid.
However, if it doesn’t go away, you may need surgery.
Trigger Finger Surgery
Surgery is always a little bit scary when it’s a little one on the line. Luckily, the surgery is easy and allows your child to live a life without trigger fingers. Between 1-3 years, surgery usually happens. The surgery involves the surgeon helping the tendon glide better. This usually involves removing the tendon’s sheath, or removing part of the tendon.
Of course, they will make sure there is no other way to treat it. Is it inflammation? If so, is it treatable? The doctors know that surgery is always a last resort, and by knowing this, they can help make the best determination for surgery.
After surgery, your child will be able to go home almost immediately. There will be a bandage over the incision, and they won’t be able to use their hand. This is needed for healing, so make sure your toddler isn’t messing with it. This can make the problem worse.
After a bit, the doctor will take off the bandaging, and the child can use their hand. There are sutures, and these will fall out without any needed intervention. This usually happens a few weeks after the surgery.
After the surgery heals, you may need a follow-up to make sure everything else is going well. Once that happens, and the doctor sees that everything is going well, you probably won’t need to deal with the problem ever again.
Can The Baby Get It Again?
You may wonder if reoccurring trigger finger is a thing. Once it’s fixed, can it happen again? If so, will you need another surgery?
Luckily, trigger finger rarely happens again. In almost all cases, it’s gone for good, and you won’t have to worry about it. Your toddler can rest easily knowing they can use their fingers quite well.
Trigger finger is definitely something that is a bit terrifying. The idea of your toddler not being able to use their fingers properly is definitely a concern. However, with proper treatment, your child should be able to use it quite well. If you suspect your child has it, get a diagnosis, see if they can grow out of it, and if not, it’s time for surgery. Give your toddler lots of love afterwards!
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