This condition affects the synovium of the tendons that bend your fingers. This usually occurs at the base of the fingers on the palm side of the hand. As the tendon glides through its sheath, it passes under a structure called a pulley. The role of the pulley is to keep the tendon close to the surface of the bone. If the tendon sheath has become thickened the tendon will not glide very well under the pulley.
There is usually pain at the base of the finger in the palm or over the front of the thumb as it joins the palm. The finger or thumb can click or catch as it moves and can become ‘stuck’ in a bent position. The joints further down the finger or thumb can become stiff if the symptoms go on for some time.
The most commonly affected digits are the ring finger and thumb.
Factors that may make this tenosynovitis more likely are outlined above. Unaccustomed loading of the tendon with tasks that involve repeated gripping or bending of the fingers is also a major cause.
The images above show some splints which may be used to help settle symptoms. Essentially wearing a splint which holds the digit straight can help to reduce pain levels. With any splint it is particularly important that you remove it regularly and do not become overly reliant upon it.
Using the treatment principles for tenosynovitis (detailed above) plus a splint which can hold the finger straight overnight may see symptoms settle after a period of weeks.
Exercises that encourage tendon gliding are shown below; only perform these within a comfortable range. Where possible perform the exercises with both hands at the same time.
Once your pain has settled you can progress your exercises and work on building up your grip strength.
Should symptoms fail to settle, a corticosteroid injection may be considered to help reduce any inflammation in the area. This would be discussed with you in more detail if required. Your physiotherapist could arrange this if necessary.
If you need additional advice and guidance please complete an MSK self-referral.