Physical therapies for the conservative treatment of the trigger finger: a narrative review

Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2020 Jun 26;12(Suppl 1):8680. doi: 10.4081/or.2020.8680. eCollection 2020 Jun 29.


Trigger finger (TF) disorder is a sudden release or locking of a finger during flexion or extension. Treatments for this disease are conservative and surgical, including NSAIDs, hand splints, corticosteroid injections, physical therapies and percutaneous or open surgery. However, the effectiveness about the optimal treatment of TF is still in lack of evidence. The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of physical therapies as conservative treatment for trigger finger. A comprehensive literature search of the MEDLINE (via PubMed), Cochrane Library Databases and PEDro databases has been conducted without limits because few papers were published about this argument. The literature search identified four papers in PubMed. Two types of physical therapies were used in the conservative management of trigger finger: external shock wave therapy (ESWT) in three papers, and ultrasound therapy (UST) in one paper. ESWT is an effective and safe therapy for the conservative management of TF. It seems to reduce pain and trigger severity and to improve functional level and quality of life. UST has proven to be useful to prevent the recurrence of TF symptoms. Even if the results suggest the effectiveness of ESWT and UST for TF, future studies are necessary to understand the characteristics of the optimal treatment protocol for trigger finger.

Keywords: conservative treatment; physical therapy; trigger finger.

Grant support

Funding: None