What Makes Women More Susceptible to Trigger Finger?

Stenosing tenosynovitis, or trigger finger, develops when the sheath that surrounds a tendon on any of your fingers becomes inflamed. As a result, the sheath tightens around the connective tissue and prevents you from moving through a full range of motion. Severe trigger finger can cause your finger joint to become locked in a bent position.

At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, we see people — especially women — with symptoms of trigger finger that include:

We can help you find relief from this uncomfortable, frustrating, and sometimes disabling condition.

If you have trigger finger, our team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists offers occupational therapy, injections, medications, and splinting. In severe cases, you may need a special release, which we perform with a needle or even surgery.

Women, especially in their 50s and 60s, are most vulnerable to the condition. Why? Researchers aren’t sure, but it may be due to the following.

Women are more susceptible to arthritis

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of trigger finger as are those with such issues as:

Hypothyroidism and arthritis — especially rheumatoid arthritis — also vastly increase your risk of trigger finger. Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, which may also explain why trigger finger is more common in their gender too.

Women’s hormone changes

While it’s still only a theory, hormone changes such as those that occur with menopause may play a role in the development of trigger finger. Cases of the condition do escalate at the age most women pass through menopause and during the postpartum lactation period when estrogen levels decline rather starkly and quickly. 

The theory is that the estrogen changes in women are associated with increased swelling in tendons and joints, making trigger finger (as well as carpal tunnel and osteoarthritis) more likely.

Traditional female hobbies and tasks

Women may also be more likely to do the repetitive tasks and hobbies that contribute to the development of trigger finger. Activities that involve constant gripping or repetitive local trauma may be to blame.

Typing, knitting, and playing musical instruments are common causes. While these tasks are by no means limited to women, they are activities a lot of women do spend significant time doing. These activities may not be the cause, but if you’re susceptible to trigger finger, they could lead to its development.

Trigger finger can affect any finger, even your thumb. If you’re suffering symptoms of trigger finger, come to Maryland Orthopedic Specialists to see if we can control it with conservative treatment. If your case is unresponsive to splinting, physical therapy, and medications, our team of specialists may recommend surgery. Surgery for trigger finger is highly effective, has few complications, and rarely results in recurrence.

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