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diabetes and trigger fingers
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diabetes and trigger fingers

I have been diabetic for 43 years (since I was 13) and feel blessed to not have had many complications.  I have had some trigger fingers in the past and have had them repaired surgically by a surgeon who has since retired.  And other than email, I no longer do much typing but I was a transcriptionist years back.

About three months ago, I had a finger "repaired" but it really is not working well and several other fingers on both hands are now "triggering" as well!  I'm not sure if this is a part of diabetes or if othere have had the same thing happen.  Both hands are very painful and pretty useless at times.  I am afraid to have the same doctor do surgery again since the last one ended up so badly. (He's supposed to be the best in the area!)

Any words of wisdom out there? Is diabetes the culprit causing so many to act up at once? Is there an alternative to surgery? (I have been doing the PT advised post surgery but that is causing more pain now, too.)

Any suggestions will be appreciated!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi huggles!  We are volunteers with experience in dealing with type 1 diabetes, not medical professionals so any information that I pass on to you should be verified with your healthcare team.  

I have no personal experience with the situation you describe with your fingers, although I have dealt with carpal tunnel syndrome myself and have been treated with great success by my chiropractor (I know, it's hard to believe, but I'm living proof).  I'm not endorsing chiropractic, just stating what it has done for me in the same area that you are having a problem with.

Because of diabetes being an autoimmune disorder, have you been evaluated by your physician for arthritis or other autoimmune disorders?  

The advice that I can give you is to discuss what's happening with your endocrinologist.  They're the experts when it comes to diabetes.  Good luck to you.
9 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi GG!  I am going to investigate the chiropractic alternative since you say you had luck with that.  I do have carpal tunnel problems as well.

I have tried discussing problems with my endocrinologist concerning areas such as the slowing of my digestive tract (can't remember the medical word for it right now!) and was told that she only works on the blood sugars!  I said that I thought that this may be due to the diabetes and she just said to see my PMD about it and that was that!!!  Maybe I need a new endocrinologist AND hand doctor!  

Thank you so much for your input!  Huggles3
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Huggles,

I am also a 43 year type 1, since 13. Yes, we are not totally alone. The trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is common to those of Scandinavian decent, as is type 1 diabetes. My mother was Swedish, and I have both diseases. I would not consider it to necessarily be diabetes related, but certainly genetic.

I have had two fingers treated successfully by having the tendon sheath opened to relieve pressure. I have a friend, also over 40 years type 1, who has had the same treatment, but had a lot of trouble with swelling. I believe the difference is the skill of the hand surgeon. Mine, in North Carolina, is extremely skilled. Do your research and get recommendations, as we must for all of our physicians, for most of them know little about us or our problems. The result of not getting further treatment could be your fingers curling up to where your hands can no longer grasp anything.

Your endo is an idiot and incompetent in managing diabetes. A "diabetes practitioner" should recognize gastroparesis is part of diabetes (I have this as well) and help you treat it with diet modification and possibly medication. This is a classis diabetes complication and should, like all the rest, be managed through a diabetic
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks, Larry for your input.  I'm not Scandinavian but German/Austrian by descent.  Maybe there was a nice Norwegian in my background somewhere!!!!!

Anyhow, I think the hand surgeon who replaced the one who retired needs more practice and I certainly don't want him to use me as a guinea pig for my other fingers!  I know I have to correct this situation but the pain and swelling that I have now is NOT an improvement over the triggering and pain.  I thought his procedure took much longer than my others ones did and the incision also was placed differently from previous ones.  Something told me right from the minute the anesthesia wore off, too!

Has your friend found any way to relieve the swelling and pain?  did he need additional surgery?  or just time?  Or is it there for the duration now?

I may go for some cortisone shots to get me through the busy summer months and then go on to another hand expert.  I definitely am calling around tomorrow for a new endo.  I've been saying that for years but with the helpful extra push from you, I'm doing it tomorrow!!!!!!!  Thanks for the kick in the butt that I needed.  I thought maybe I was just expecting too much from my endo!!!!  

Thanks again, Larry!  Hugs from Huggles!

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Huggles,

Take care with the cortisone. It will really knock your BG control out of whack! My friend's swelling has gone down, but the result on that finger is still not what she expected. I beleive she has had others done without the same problem, but I do not know if she used the same surgeon each time.

Larry
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Huggles & Larry,

I was just doing some web browsing on trigger finger and came across your discussion.

I, like you two, have had type 1 diabetes for some time.  Mine is nearing 44 years at the age of 12.  I also have arthritis, fibromyalgia & hypothyroidism.  I just recently started experiencing trigger fingers (both hands) within the past few weeks.

My biggest problems seems to be with my right thumb - it is rather painful and this one just started within the past week.

I was just recently laid off (after 18 years) and after taking off several months for a much needed vacation, I've just started looking for a new job.  I just went for a job interview a few days ago (which I think was very positive) when this thumb problem reared its ugly head.  I'll be making an appt. with my primary care doctor tomorrow - hopefully I can get an appt. in a few days.

This is freaking me out.  I do need to get back in to the work force within the next 2 months and I sure don't need any medical problems now.  

I did notice when I was browsing that diabetes, arthritis & hypothroidism & female do seem to make a person more prone to having trigger finger.

http://www.diabetessymptom.net/news/news_item.cfm?NewsID=337

Hopefully I can get some sort of relief.  I hope I don't need surgery ... but that sounds like the end result for most folks.

lelly
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Avatar_n_tn
Are you my brother?
too coincidental, If you are not
I am going to copy this link for my brother,
and you might have been twins.
either way, good luck to you!
my son is 23 and diabetic since 13.
oh how I wish I could have changed that day in history.
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't have diabetes but I am hypothyroid, have a little arthritis in a couple of fingers and recently got a trigger thumb. I'm a 64 year old female. This is the only forum where I could find trigger finger.  

I did go to my wonderful chiropractor and he said it is a bone spur that is a type of arthritis. I had 2 massages this week and he adjusted my neck. All the blood for the arm comes from the neck. By cutting the tendon you are not going to get rid of the bone spur it will just keep the tendon from rubbing on it anymore.

One book says it might be caused by eating too much sugar or an acidic condition. I take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with honey every day. that is supposed to neutrialize that acidity.

How does a cortizone shot help? or does it? I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks in advance. I'm new to this forum. I don't take tylenol or asprin due to hepatitis C. I can take a little.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not of Scandanavian descent and no one in my family has this challenge or diabetes.
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