Trigger Finger Trials and Tribulations

I’ve had Type I now for 48 years and have had lots of troubles with my hands. I’ve had trigger finger surgery releases on most all of my fingers and now the top joint of my index finger needs a release and is very painful. Does anyone else who has had D for many years have this problem? I know it is related to the diabetes but could it also be my job - using my hands on the keyboard all day? Once I have the release surgery it is all fine with no more probs. Just curious how many others might also have this problem.

I have never heard of this before. Is it related to neuropathy?

No, it’s actually a thickening of the tendons in the fingers/hands that eventually don’t allow the movement inside of the sheath that keeps it all together. A “release” surgery is slicing open the sheath to allow the thickened tendon to move freely. I don’t believe that it is neuropathically driven. My surgeon says it is common in those with diabetes for many years but not all get this.

I’ve been type 1 for 53 years and have had seven or eight surgeries on my hands, not counting carpal tunnel. I don’t think that was the big “D’s” fault. My right pinky is catching on me right now. My understanding is that the diabetes encourages the swelling of the sheath through which the tendons pass.

Hi there, I’ve had Type 1 for 31 years and I got two trigger fingers a few years ago, really annoying stuff. I got that release surgery and they are great now. I haven’t had anymore yet, bummer you’ve had so many.

27 years with the “D” had to have two releases one on each hand not more than 3 months apart from each other, but since then no problems. That was five years ago. But why do i want to pass out while they are doing the procedure??? Its quick, in their office, don’t feel much… “Hey Mike, why you turning gray talk to me, Mike! Keep talking almost done.”??? It’s funny thinking back now but embarassing at the time.

Interesting Linda
…I’ve had 3 trigger finger surgeries for 4 fingers and a thumb. It was years before I was diagnosed with Diabetes…

Oh yeah…I can relate. When I had a carpal tunnel surgery years ago, the Dr. asked me if I wanted to take a peek so I thought “what the heck” and he pulled my tendons (with my wrist split open) and made them wave at me. I still laugh to this day about that - even though I was horrified but well drugged for the occasion!!

Thanks for your response. I feel better knowing that it’s not just me. I’m thankful that it is fixable!!

This is actually my only “complication” if that’s what you want to call it so I consider it minor nonetheless. Thanks for your response!

Is it possible that you had diabetes when you had the trigger surgeries and didn’t know it?

Yes - mine have always been successful as well but its still a pain in the rear - taking time off work and Dr appts etc. I’m thankful however that it is my only diabetic related problem!!

Well, I knit like a crazywoman, and have had db for 35 years. ALso do stained glass and beadwork. I’ve had just one, but it was very bad - twice got stuck in the caught position. I had two different cortisone shots and neither helped. Then, about a year later, I suddenly noticed that the symptoms were gone. Just plain gone. I still have a hard little pea sized nodule on my palm, but no problems since.
I have heard from many sources that db causes your tendons to become stiff - one PT even used the term “crispy” - quite an image, isn’t it, a crispy tendon.
But, as long as it can be fixed …it I ever get another I think I’ll have the surgery right away.

Wow - I appreciate knowing it’s not neuropathy related! Everyone I’ve talked to has indicated that it was just “the eventual neuropathy issues all diabetics deal with…” Since I’d had no issues in my feet, I was puzzled that I’d have neuropathy start in my hands… shrug

I am going in for CTS surgery on 7/10/2009 - while he’s at it, he’s going to take care of a trigger finger and a small cyst (at the base of my thumb). So are these issues caused by the tendons, rather than the nerves themselves?

Hi Kathy,
I also do stained glass although I haven’t done a window in years. Isn’t it a wonderful hobby? I love it. And yes have the surgery if you are ever troubled by this again. It does correct the problem very nicely.

Yes - nodules or thickening of the tendons not nerves. Dave has a web address below that explains it quite nicely.

ive had the same problem for almost two years now… ive had Diabetes for 20 plus years, type I… i havent done anything with it, one doctor said i need a surgery, like you said. but i didnt… at first it was really hard and very painful, ive noticed that i always have it when its cold, especially in the winter… but i just try to massage, and try to put my fingers in a warm running water, and it helps. now im getting used to it that sometimes when i woke up and my fingers are “sleeping” i cant straighten them up, ill just try to massage and then its ok… i had it in my right index finger and the ring finger on my left…

Linda, I’m so happy that you don’t have any other complications. I have had diabetes for 32 years and it’s great to see a whole community who has survived this long without serious complications. All of this is so interesting as I have not heard about this. My fingers get numb sometimes too but it always goes away and seems to happen mostly when I am sleeping. But now I know to keep an eye out for this.

I have had steriod shots a number of times, surgery on the left index finger. My fingers and thumbs are painful when grasping the handlebars of my bicycle and when using screwdrivers and other tools. Wearing a splint at night (because we clench our fists when sleeping) and running warm-to-hot water over my hands in the morning helps.


I have done 55 years with D and had a tendon release in my right thumb area and also carpal tunnel in both wrists. Now I have trouble with frozen shoulders…both…it is very painful. I have to type all day and I just think its the diabetes. Doesn’t it make you mad that all the doctors blame everything on D ??
I had steroid injections in my first finger with the trigger finger and it worked…put the BG sky high but can monitor it with the pump and GCM.