Q&A: Is it possible that "trigger finger" is a manifestation of TMS?
Answer by John Stracks, MD
Dr. Stracks' Profile Page / Survey Response / Bio Page / Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA) Board Member
Good question. Trigger finger is a form of tendonitis (officially stenosing tenosynovitis) in which the offending finger can catch or get locked in place. The conventional understanding is that this is caused by a swelling in the tendon sheath which disturbs the normally smooth movement of the tendon.
A hallmark of TMS is that there is no long-lasting structural change in the body that produces symptoms, so in that model trigger finger wouldn't fit the classic definition of TMS. On the other hand, we know from published studies that people who are susceptible to TMS-like diseases are able to produce swelling in their tissue just by thinking about moving their finger. In that model, the combination of factors that produce TMS symptoms (past experiences, personality traits, and current stressors) can certainly also produce transient swelling in the tendon sheath that leads to a physical symptom (the locking of the finger).
Clinically, I have seen at least one patient with a trigger finger that seemed to resolve when the stressful situation that accompanied the condition resolved.
Hope that helps.
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