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Thread: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

  1. #1
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    This afternoon, I had my first cortisone injection at the base of my left ring finger. The finger had been triggering for the past month. Most noticeable in the morning after waking. I've eased off playing and practicing, but the problem persisted and is noticeable later in the day as well.

    Three hours post injection, the finger is numb, and a bit swollen, and much less agile than before the shot. I've spoken to the orthopedic help line, and it seems like this is a side affect that should get better over the next couple of days. I was told to elevate the hand and take Naproxen.

    I know that many others have dealt with this common hand problem. For those who have had cortisone injection, I'd be happy to hear your recollection of the healing process in the hours and days after the shot.

    Everyone at the orthopedic center seemed nice enough, but there wasn't a lot of information shared.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    I had to have a cortisone injection in my thumb for tendonitis in September 2020. I had the cortisone flare side effect but once that cleared up my thumb was much better. Unfortunately after about six months the issue returned, but it's slowly getting better on its own and I've finally started regularly playing instruments again (mainly classical guitar and charango). I know the shots can be a gamble and sometimes they work better than others. I hope you have a speedy recovery.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    I had the opposite problem with my left index finger not closing down enough to play certain chords on the guitar. I had the first injection into a joint and that helped but dissipated in a few weeks. A second injection went into the tendon below the base of the finger and this has been much more effective.

    The swelling is normal, it'll go down in a day or two. Trigger finger is fairly common and you're going through the proper steps. If a series of injections doesn't solve the problem, there is always the surgery which is 100% effective from all reports of heard.

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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    I've had this issue with my left middle finger for the past 5 years. I've had the shot 3 times and they have taken care of the problem each time for approximately 18 months before it starts reoccurring. Once I get the injection it usually takes about 2 weeks for my joint to stop locking up. The next time I have the issue, I've decided to go ahead and have the surgery to have the duct cleaned out. I know it's an aggravating issue. I'll be lifting you up in prayer that the one injection is all that you will ever require. God Bless.

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    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Thanks so much y'all, for sharing your experiences with me.
    24 hours later, swelling is going down and numbness much less. The doctor said go ahead and use the hand normally, and says his experience is that phys therapy has very limited benefit with trigger finger. But I'll stay off guitar and mandolin until things feel normal.

    I'll try and drop by with an update in a week or two. I don't think 'regular' folks can imagine how protective even amateur musicians feel toward their digits! ;-)
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    That shot was excruciatingly painful for me and it took a few days before my left ring finger settled down. It helped for a few months and then the triggering came back. I went on a turmeric regimen that seems to keep it at bay. It took some time for the turmeric to get in my system and start working. I also had acupuncture treatment so it's hard to tell exactly what worked. However, if I run out of turmeric, my hands let me know. Certain mandolin neck shapes seemed to stir up the problem. My Heiden A5 neck was the only one I could play for many years. I seem to be completely over it now and can play a variety of neck shapes without problems, but full and deep neck shapes are still a problem. Unfortunately, I seem to be developing slight triggering on my right hand ring finger--just in the mornings so far. Not ever getting that shot again if I can avoid it.
    Last edited by Don Grieser; May-18-2022 at 10:58am.
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    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    I'm sorry to hear the shot was so painful, Don. In my case the finger and injection site at the base of the first knuckle, palm side, was sprayed with an anesthetic. And the shot was not very painful. Uncomfortable for a while, for sure. But not too bad. It has been tender and numb for the first 24 hours, but luckily, no major pain in my case.
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Brad, I know it's a fairly far ride, but I used to live over the river on the New Jersey side from you and there is a natropath/acupuncture practitioner out near Morristown that is also a mandolin player- Jason Frigerio. He is probably one of the best alternative medicine provider in the tri-state area. You might want to drop him a line if you get frustrated with the cortisone shots. Nice guy, and he speaks "oh my gosh, what am I going to do? I need to be able to play."

    https://www.njnaturalmedicine.com/practitioner/

    I have also had good luck with Chinese herbs. He can help with that too.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    That shot for me was one of the most painful things I have experienced and I have been banged up a lot over the years. Trigger came back and doc asked me if I wanted to get another shot!!? HEEL NO! I went with surgery and have had no problems since
    John D

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    perpetual beginner... jmagill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    I was getting pretty pronounced trigger finger in my right ring finger, especially in the mornings. I was looking down the same discouraging one-way street the OP has taken, but I heard that keeping the finger straight overnight could help.

    So I went to Walgreens and got a metal finger splint padded with foam for a few bucks and started wearing it at night, and my trigger finger... went... away.

    I wear it every night and haven't had a problem since (knock on wood).

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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    [QUOTE there is always the surgery which is 100% effective from all reports of heard.[/QUOTE]

    I suffered through several rounds of cortisone injections for my trigger finger issues. The injection treatments were ineffective. In fact I think the injections made the problem worse! Eventually I had 'tendon release' surgery performed on my 4 trigger fingers, one hand at a time. Both surgeries were a complete success and I was able to resume my job as a pipe organ builder just a day or two after the procedures. I was cautioned not to pull the stitches out, but otherwise I could go about my normal routines. My surgeries were performed more than 20 years ago and the trigger issues have never reoccurred. It was absolutely worth it!

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    D. McCash june39's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Cortisone injections (3) were only a temporary solution for me. I have had no issues since I having the surgery.

  20. #13

    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Had the same a few years ago. I don't recall the timeline for healing very well but I do remember it was pretty short. Bottom line is, no matter how quickly you heal up, you won't regret getting the procedure done. I wouldn't be playing today if I hadn't.

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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Got the shot for onset of trigger finger; the cause was a burning sensation in the palm of my left hand, and LH ring finger would lock up somewhat.

    The injection was not particularly uncomfortable, and the symptoms were relieved over the course of several days. Re-evaluation a few months later was satisfactory. I've since had an occasional twinge in the area, but it seems the injection did what it was supposed to do.

    The doc told me that 75% of her pts were cured by one shot; sometimes a second was necessary. After that, if no success, surgery was the remaining option.

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    bird and mando geek Rob Fowler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    That shot was excruciatingly painful for me and it took a few days before my left ring finger settled down. It helped for a few months and then the triggering came back. I went on a turmeric regimen that seems to keep it at bay. It took some time for the turmeric to get in my system and start working. I also had acupuncture treatment so it's hard to tell exactly what worked. However, if I run out of turmeric, my hands let me know. Certain mandolin neck shapes seemed to stir up the problem. My Heiden A5 neck was the only one I could play for many years. I seem to be completely over it now and can play a variety of neck shapes without problems, but full and deep neck shapes are still a problem. Unfortunately, I seem to be developing slight triggering on my right hand ring finger--just in the mornings so far. Not ever getting that shot again if I can avoid it.
    Don, do you just take tumeric pills or what? Curious what your tumeric regimen is. Thanks!
    Northfield A5 Special #60

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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    The cortisone/lidocaine injections are worth a try if you tolerate them well. Sadly, it's not a fix for most folks, but a lot less expensive than an A1 pulley release in the OR. I had my index finger stuck twice with no real results. I had my pick of hand surgeons to do it so I know it was done well. It's pretty nifty to watch the finger blow up when the solution goes into the tendon sheath, and it didn't hurt me much. Not meaning to belittle anybody's difficult side effects, but everybody I know who's had their elbows injected says the finger injection was a walk in the park.

    My trigger finger wasn't advanced and didn't lock up, so good playing posture seemed to help over time. The saying, "If it hurts when I do that, then don't do that." Really applied to me.

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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    My symptoms were mild with only "soft" triggering and popping. The cortisone shot was not too painful. I was mildly sore that evening, but by day three the pain was gone and so was the pop. I'm two years in and have no problems or regrets.
    You can't get there from here.

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  27. #18

    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    For those considering the tumeric supplement approach, please be careful. Tumeric is a blood thinner, so if you are already on blood thinners or other medications, be careful. While it can be quite helpful for some, tumeric is one of those supplements that interacts with other medications and does have a strong effect on the digestive system, blood, etc. Consult your doctor if you are any medications. We had a family member who had a near fatal reaction to taking tumeric.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    GRAPE JUICE FAST
    (concord grapes are best, red and black are OK. don't use green/white grapes)

    There's a lot of stuff about this, in numerous variations, on the web.
    (Some of the posters here might find the following of interest/use.)

    Variation of the fast, for trigger finger/carpel tunnel, from my 5th-degree black belt martial arts instructor:

    Every 10 days: 24 hour fast with only grape juice. Repeat two more times. If there's no improvement, it's not going to work for you.
    (Because of the high sugar content in grape juice, this is not suitable for diabetics.)

    My wife had trigger finger in her thumb in the mid-90's bad enough that she was scheduled to have surgery for it. She asked the (open-minded female) surgeon about doing this fast, and was told it couldn't hurt to try it. The result was that the trigger-finger went away (and never came back) and the surgery was cancelled. (My wife was somewhat skeptical about it and was surprised that it worked, so it wasn't a case of placebo effect.)

    This is "anecdotal evidence", but if you've been around M.A. long enough, you may have seen or experienced some 'unlikely' occurrences. Over the years, I have adapted numerous things/principals I've picked up from the MA training and applied those to my playing with successful (improved) results.

    Niles H

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  31. #20

    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Niles, the acidic properties in the grape juice work to break down the acids in the tissue so, I think there’s a lot of science to this fast. Although, everyone’s body chemistry is different, so the results will vary. It’s worth a try though in order to avoid surgery.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

  32. #21
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    UPDATE #1 - 17 DAYS POST-INJECTION

    I'm sorry to report limited benefits so far in the mobility of my left hand ring finger. I've been taking it easy since the procedure, but still having trigger finger symptoms upon waking, and some during the day as well. I am able to play once the finger limbers up, but I'll contact the orthopedist to see what he recommends at this point. Give it more time? Try another steroid injection? Schedule surgery?

    Thanks again to those who shared their stories and advice in this thread. I'll update again as things change, since it's an issue that obviously affects a lot of players over their lifetimes. Best wishes, Brad
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Treating Trigger Finger - My First Cortisone Injection

    Brad, looks like you've gotten lots of advice here. Just to add my 2 cents, I tried the injection once. It was painful and was not long lasting. My next 2 trigger fingers were treated with surgery, which for me was the way to go. Admittedly, these are the only solutions I tried.

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