According to the Mayo Clinic, trigger thumb is caused by a narrowing of the sheath that surrounds your thumb tendon. When you bend your thumb it may catch, and as you try to straighten it, you may hear a snapping sound.
Many alternative medical treatments to control pain and inflammation can be carried out at home, while others may require the services of a physical therapist.
Resting your hand can improve inflamed tissues. Talk to your supervisor about modifying your job if you have to perform constant gripping actions. If your job cannot be modified, you need to find a job where you don’t have to use your hands so much.
Sports activities such as baseball and basketball may need to be eliminated or curtailed during the healing process.
Splinting your thumb for several weeks keeps the joint straight, and allows it to rest. Wearing your splint at night keeps you from curling your fingers into a ball and waking up with a painful thumb that doesn’t want to move.
Ice controls painful inflammation, and can be used at home. Apply an ice bag to your thumb for 10 to 15 minutes, or try an ice massage, which is soothing to tender tissues: Fill a paper cup with water, and put it in the freezer. When the ice is frozen, peel an inch of paper from the top of the cup and massage the exposed ice on your thumb until it feels numb.
Take five to ten minutes in the morning to soak your affected hand in a tub of warm water. This may keep it from locking when you try to move it.
Physical Therapy Treatments
A paraffin wax and mineral oil dip, at home or at a physical therapist‘s office, heats your hand more than some other heating options, without the risk of burning your skin.
Alternatively, or as an addition to a wax or oil dip, ultrasound transmits heat to deep tissues by sending out high frequency sound waves through your skin, and is performed by a physical therapist. Ultrasound may be combined with therapeutic exercises for maximum benefit, so you may be asked to do some simple stretches to warm up the thumb before treatment. After the treatment, your thumb should move more easily, and it’s a good time to perform a few more stretching exercises.