Background: Trigger wrist is a relatively unusual condition, produced by wrist or finger motion. The various causes of trigger wrist can originate from flexor tendon, extensor tendon, bones, or tumour. A proper clinical approach is required to diagnose and manage patients with trigger wrist.
Methods: A keyword search was performed across Google Scholar and PubMed. Articles describing trigger wrist conditions were analysed. Based on the information obtain from the articles, the clinical manifestations and approach to diagnosing the cause of trigger wrist is discussed.
Results: A detailed history alone may lead to a reasonably accurate diagnosis. Patients can present with trigger wrist occurring during movement of the fingers or with wrist movements. Presence of tenderness around A1 pulley suggest trigger finger. Absence of tenderness over the A1 pulley may suggest trigger wrist. The wrist should be examined for any swelling or malunion around the wrist joint. Palpate for any bony prominence, clicking, or crepitus with the movement of the wrist. Examination for the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome should be performed. A simple radiograph of the wrist joint is needed to see any possible bony pathology such as malunion, instability or arthritis of the carpal bone. For soft tissue assessment ultrasound would be a good choice and can be done during finger or wrist movement. MRI is useful for further assessment of space occupying lesion within the carpal tunnel and is useful for surgical planning. Nerve conduction study is indicated for patients with median nerve compression symptoms. During the initial stage, the patient should be advised for activity modification to reduce the wrist and finger movements. Surgical treatment will depend on the causative factor. Surgery done under local anaesthesia has the advantage of reconfirming with the patient, resolution of triggering during surgery by asking the patient to actively move the fingers or wrist.
Conclusions: Trigger wrist is a relatively rare condition compared with trigger finger, which is the most common disorder of the hand. To avoid inadequate and ineffective treatment of patients with trigger wrist, careful examination and proper diagnosis are vital.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.