If you are experiencing problems with your finger spasming or contracting on its own, you could have one of two of conditions: Dupuytren’s contracture or stenosing tenosynovitis, more commonly known as trigger finger.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that develops gradually over the course of several years. The tissue underneath the skin in the palm of the hand begins to form into knots, which eventually come together to form a cord that pulls the fingers towards the palm into a contracted position; they are unable to straighten completely. The pinky and ring fingers are most often affected, sometimes in both hands but usually one more so than in the other.
There’s no known cause of Dupuytren’s contracture, but it occurs most commonly in men over the age of 50 who are of Northern European descent; smokers and diabetics may be at a slightly increased risk due to the changes in blood vessels they can cause. Treatment varies depending on the severity: for mild cases that don’t affect daily activity, needling or enzyme injections are minimally-invasive ways of breaking up the knotted tissue, although not permanently. For more advanced cases, surgery may be needed; this requires more physical therapy and a longer recovery time, but the effects tend to last longer.
Trigger finger is another condition that causes fingers to become bent toward the palm, although in this case it gets stuck and may snap back to a normal position suddenly – like the release of a trigger. It usually begins with stiffness in the finger and progresses to getting stuck went bent and straightening with a pop; from there, it may stay in a bent position. If you have these symptoms and your finger is hot and swollen to the touch, see a doctor right away – it could be a sign of infection.
Trigger finger usually affects the thumb, middle, and ring fingers and is at its worst when making gripping motions or in the morning; women and diabetics are at a higher risk. Avoiding activities that require repeated gripping (racquet sports, operating vibrating machinery, etc.) and wearing a splint at night to keep the fingers straight can help; the most effective and common treatment is a steroid injection at the base of the finger, although surgery may be required in advanced cases.