Electroacupuncture effective for trigger finger

Background: Trigger finger (TF; a type of stenosing tenosynovitis) is common, affecting the flexor tendons of the hand, often causing significant pain and functional impairment. Treatment can include splinting, corticosteroid injection, or surgical release. There is little published research on the role of electroacupuncture for treating trigger finger.

Case: After more than 1 year of pain and triggering, a 58 year-old male had locking of his left, fourth ring finger requiring painful manual reduction. Electroacupuncture was performed with 4-6 needles in a rectangular pattern along the radial and ulnar aspects of the A1 pulley of the fourth digit, with 10 Hz delivered in a daisy-chain formation for 45 minutes. Nodule size, frequency of triggering and locking, and severity of pain were assessed before and after 4 treatments over ∼1.5 months.

Results: This patient’s frequency of locking and severity of pain decreased significantly by 50% after his first treatment. Additional clinically significant reductions of locking, pain, and nodule-size were evident after each treatment along with substantial functional gains between visits. After his fourth treatment, he reported 100% resolution of his symptoms with no further pain or triggering. Throughout this time, he continued his usual activities.

Conclusions: electroacupuncture alone directed at the A1 pulley may be an effective treatment modality for patients with trigger finger. The authors hypothesize that electroacupuncture may reduce pain enabling a return to normal function and compression of the nodule, thus eliminating triggering. Further research evaluating the efficacy of electroacupuncture for trigger finger may help substantiate these results.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38162547/

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Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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