Is trigger toe the same as trigger finger?

My PA that I saw for a very painful bump at the base of my toe thinks its trigger toe but wasn't sure and didnt know what to do about it.

I work 12 hour shifts in a cardiac cath lab and its become extremely painful.

Do you think it could be trigger toe and what should I do about it?


Joshua Answers:

Wow. I'm impressed that your doctor admitted that s/he didn't know what to do about it.

That is the mark of a good doctor/practitioner/professional.

In answer to your question, yes, trigger toe is exactly the same thing as trigger finger. Except that it's on your foot, obviously. There is slight difference since the foot is load bearing and hands aren't but the dynamic is essentially the same.

The short answer to your questions is:

Ice Dip the feet as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

Self massage the foot and lower leg. Don't worry about technique, just get in there daily.

With an ice cube or equivalent, get in there and dig at the painful spots. INflammation is causing tendon sheath to thicken and then harden. You need to chip away at it diligently, daily. Gently at first, don't hurt yourself.

It's had years of irritation and compensation. It will take some time to reverse the process.

First things first. Get the pain level down. Then even when there is not pain, keep working the hardening tissue. (You may or may not be at that point, but you're definitely in an irritation/pain dynamic.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Jul 19, 2015
Prevention of trigger toe?
by: David K

It seems Trigger Toe is the actual contraction or dislocation of the joint. But following vigorous yard work (in sneakers) I've twice had weeks of pain, heat, redness in the shaft of 1st toe.

Treated twice for a diagnosis of cellulitis, (once by a podiatrist), but I have doubt that this is infection at all.. During flares, I have a sensation of the toe joint "not quite in proper position" until pain &swelling subsides. Then I can 'pop' it, and all quickly improves. Even when healthy, thumbs and great toes sometimes 'pop' when flexed. Years ago I was told I have Trigger Thumbs.

So I think I'm having some tendon sheath inflammation all the time, and incapacitating symptoms occasionally. What can I do to prevent these episodes (other than sedentary lifestyle)?


Joshua Comments:

Hi David.

Trigger Finger is the same dynamic as Trigger Thumb is the same dynamic as trigger toe.

Granted, the toe scenario is different as there is weight bearing etc involved. But ultimately the dynamic and factors involved are the same.

There's a lot that can be going on with toes. The 'diagnnosis' isn't as important (to the extent that it's accurate at all) as what's ACTUALLY causing pain/problem.

Structures attached to the area get to tight, don't work how they're supposed to, pull a joint out of whack, don't support the joint like they're supposed to, etc.

And that is and/or leads to a Tendonitis dynamic.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

See: Process of Inflammation

And, ironically, a sedentary lifestyle isn't a fix or a solution. They dynamic is already structurally in place. It's not going to go away if you sit on the couch all day, it will just progress (downhill) slower.

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