Monday, June 10, 2013

The Trigger Finger

It's been a while since I posted about personal experiences. I have been preoccupied with many things that is going on in my life: work (and more work on the side!), family, triathlon trainings and spreading of diabetes awareness advocacy. While I was being busy juggling everything a tragedy happened.

Two months ago I was lifting weights when suddenly there's something painful on my palms near my thumb. It didn't go away so I have to massage it to ease the pain. As the days go by it becomes more and more painful until it became so swollen I can't bend my thumb anymore. It really affects my everyday living so I decided to see a Rehabilitation Doctor for consultation.

When I went to Dra. Bartolome, and while I was telling her what happened, just by looking at my hand she said immediately that I have a "Trigger Finger" injury particularly on my thumb. I kinda laughed a little because I didn't thought that Trigger Finger is a medical condition. All the while I thought its a term used for someone who types fast or shoot fast on their cameras.

Photo from

What is a Trigger Finger anyway?

According to, "Trigger finger is a painful condition that causes the fingers or thumb to catch or lock when bent. In the thumb its called trigger thumb.

Trigger finger happens when tendons in the finger or thumb become inflamed. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles and bones. Together, the tendons and muscles in the hands and arms bend and straighten the fingers and thumbs.

A tendon usually glides easily through the tissue that covers it (called a sheath) because of a lubricating membrane surrounding the joint called the synovium. Sometimes a tendon may become inflamed and swollen. When this happens, bending the finger or thumb can pull the inflamed tendon through a narrowed tendon sheath, making it snap or pop.

Trigger finger can be caused by a repeated movement or forceful use of the finger or thumb. Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes also can cause trigger finger. So can grasping something, such as a power tool, with a firm grip for a long time."

Still need to work despite the injury...

Dra. Bartolome told me that this can also be work related since I spend most of my time using the computer. She suggested that I get a Corticosteroid shot to eliminate the swelling but this won't guarantee healing. Some patients still needs minor surgery to correct the flexor tendons. I was broke at that time and I can't afford to pay for the shot since it's not covered by my HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) so I chose to undergo Physical Therapy sessions. She prescribed some anti-inflammatory drug and ointment that I can use while waiting for my PT schedule.

I was advised to take a vacation from training most especially on weightlifting or anything that will require me to lift anything heavy using my right hand. I have no other choice but to comply. Before I started my PT sessions the swelling went away after 3 days of applying the ointment. I had 8 PT sessions as of the moment and so far the condition is improving. There are times that it suddenly becomes normal and then goes back to being stiff again. I learned to adapt despite the disability since it has been two months now that I am in this state.

Paraffin Wax Treatment followed by Deep Heat Ultrasound Treatment.

Just when I was ready to go back to running again, I got into an accident that causes my toes to get injury from a broken glass, so I went into a complete training halt. I encountered many unfortunate events in the month of April and I'm glad I was able to get through them alive.

Then I started to gain weight because of the sedentary lifestyle and the busy schedule I started to have since I assumed the duty of being the Secretary of PDAT (Philippine Diabetic Athletes Inc.) and the workload is an additional from what is currently heavy right now. I must admit I splurged into eating to make up for the lack of sleep which is so wrong. I started to get depressed and weak. So when my wounds are healed I decided to get back to training again.

Right now, I am trying my best to lose the excess weight I gained. For my Trigger Thumb, the swelling went away and the pain is now tolerable. Though there are times when it suddenly gained it's reflexes it loses them after a while. The Doctor said I might undergo minor surgery for it if the next set of PT session won't show significant improvements. I hope I don't need to.

I am looking forward to an effective training for my next races. No target times, just to finish injury free. I can do this! AJA!

Good Vibes Everyone and Sweet Running! ^_^