A trigger finger is a condition where a finger is stuck in a bent position due to inflammation in the tendon sheath. It typically affects the thumb and ring fingers. Surgery is a commonly used treatment to address the condition by reducing or draining the swollen tendon, lowering the risk of recurrence.

This condition is more common in women over 50 and individuals with diabetes or arthritis. Diabetic patients may experience more severe complications during surgery due to delayed blood clotting and healing. Therefore, alternative treatments are needed to avoid surgery. Let’s discuss alternative therapies for trigger finger treatment.

Alternative Therapies for Trigger Finger Treatment Without Surgery

  • Hand Exercises

Performing hand exercises helps build muscle strength and increases oxygen flow with repeated muscle contraction and relaxation. Hand exercises help relieve muscle spasms and tension. As hand exercises are performed anywhere, and at any time, they are highly advisable. 

The most common types of hand exercise are stretches. It involves clenching your fist and then stretching your fingers, which is quite easy. Repeat it in a set of 15, 2-3 times daily.

  • Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold compress is often recommended to a patient with this condition and is a good trigger finger therapy. Applying the compress for at least 15-20 minutes, two to three times daily is advisable for the best results. The hot compress helps improve blood circulation to help the muscles achieve the required strength. 

At the same time, the cold compress helps seek relief from muscle spasms and tension. It further helps in reducing pain, inflammation, and discomfort.

  • Massage Therapy

Good massage therapy helps improve blood circulation in the hands and fingers. Massage therapy goes beyond the wrist and involves the treatment of the entire hand up to the shoulders. It helps release spam and muscle tension, releasing pain and enhancing muscle health.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional technique where the professional applies pressure on various points throughout the body. It is based on the science of nerve routes. 

Different points in the body help in releasing stress on other body parts. On these pressure points, the professional applies pressure with two different techniques.

  • Manually, the professional presses these points and massages the nearby area. They may also use equipment such as wooden tops for the same. 
  • For the second technique, the professional tapes a small ball or a pulse grain onto the pressure point for a defined period. 
  • Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplements are popular among people suffering from trigger fingers. They have limited side effects and are easily available at home. 

Some of the most popular herbal supplements are garlic, turmeric, Tai chi, etc., which help reduce inflammation. It is a common non-surgical treatment for trigger fingers.

Besides these alternative therapies, there are other lifestyle changes that you can adopt for trigger finger treatment.

Lifestyle Changes for Trigger Finger Treatment

  • Resting and Stretching

Resting and stretching are essential for managing trigger finger symptoms. It can help reduce inflammation, pain, and discomfort in the affected area. It also provides an opportunity for the damaged tendon to heal. Stretching can improve the affected finger’s flexibility and prevent the tendon from becoming stiff.

Various types of stretching exercises can be helpful for the trigger finger. One such exercise is the finger extension stretch. Extend the affected finger as much as possible to perform this exercise and hold it for a few seconds before releasing it. 

Repeat this exercise several times a day. Another stretching exercise involves using a rubber band or a piece of string. 

Then, place the band or string around the affected finger and gently pull the finger back. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, and then release it. Repeat the exercise several times a day.

  • Ergonomics

Ergonomics helps people interact with their work environment. You can make ergonomic changes to reduce the strain on your hands and fingers, which reduces the risk of developing a trigger finger. It can also help alleviate symptoms if you already have a trigger finger.

Pain Management for Trigger Finger

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

As the term suggests, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce swelling and do not contain steroids. These drugs help reduce muscle and tendon inflammation, minimizing the risk of developing a trigger finger.

Ibuprofen and Advil are commonly recommended NSAIDs. The latter is often recommended with a combination of analgesics to reduce the pain.

  • Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are tubes, and ointments suggested to reduce pain and inflammation. They are applied directly on the skin and are known for short-term effects. Commonly suggested topical treatments for inflammation are Volitra, Tiger Balm, etc. 

Short-term topical anaesthetics, such as Ligocaine jelly and Lidocaine paste, may be suggested for extreme pain. While using topical treatments, limit the usage as directed by the physician. 

It is because you might create drug tolerance with repeated use. In case you notice allergies or redness while applying it, make sure to consult your doctor.


A trigger finger is a condition affecting the fingers’ tendons, causing them to become inflamed and causing the finger to get stuck in a bent position. While surgery is often recommended as a treatment option, several alternative therapies can help alleviate the symptoms and even prevent the need for surgery.

Additionally, some alternative therapies may not be appropriate for certain individuals or may have potential side effects. Seeking medical advice can help ensure that the treatment plan is tailored to the individual’s specific needs and that the therapy is safe and effective.

Several alternative therapies can help alleviate the symptoms of the trigger finger without surgery, including rest, ice and heat therapy, stretching and exercises, massage, acupuncture, and herbal remedies.

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