Outcome of trigger finger treatment in diabetes

J Diabetes Complications. Sep-Oct 1997;11(5):287-90. doi: 10.1016/s1056-8727(96)00076-1.


Trigger finger is an underdiagnosed hand disorder causing disability in longstanding diabetic patients. Sixty diabetic patients [39 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and 21 non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)] and 60 nondiabetic patients were examined. All were initially treated by steroid injections: failure to alleviate symptoms was the indication for surgery. The incidence of multiple digit involvement was higher in IDDM patients as compared with the control group (p < 0.001). The diffuse type was 1.45 times more frequent in IDDM and NIDDM than in nondiabetic patients (p < 0.008). The diabetic patients had a relatively longer duration of symptoms (p < 0.003). Significantly, a higher recovery rate upon steroid injection was achieved in control patients as compared with the diabetic ones (p < 0.001). IDDM patients required more surgery compared with NIDDMs and, in 13.3% of diabetic patients, the surgical outcome was not successful. Diabetic patients should be diagnosed early for multiple and diffuse types of trigger digits. Steroid injection as the first mode of therapy is highly recommended although not always successful. Surgery is the definitive treatment but requires a long course of physiotherapy and may be associated with some complications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Constriction, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Constriction, Pathologic / epidemiology
  • Constriction, Pathologic / surgery
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / surgery*
  • Female
  • Fingers*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tenosynovitis / drug therapy*
  • Tenosynovitis / epidemiology
  • Tenosynovitis / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Methylprednisolone