Thrive by IU Health

August 28, 2023

One small surgery can make a huge difference

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

One small surgery can make a huge difference

Going into surgery, Mary Stevenson, 74, was scared. Like many people, she hated needles. But she wanted to stop the pain in her finger that had caused her months of discomfort, so she went through with the 30-minute trigger finger release procedure.

Six months prior, Stevenson started to notice a pain in her right ring finger. She began to struggle to move the finger and lift it up. It was so bad she was at the point where she could barely even lift a heavy pan to cook dinner. After telling her doctor, she was referred to the orthopedics office at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital to see Jacob Triplet, DO, a hand and upper extremity reconstruction specialist.

When she went to schedule her appointment, she was able to set up a time within the same week. At her first consultation, she met with Triplet and showed him what was wrong. When she tried to lift her finger, she felt an awful pain—the same pain she had been experiencing for weeks.

“He was so nice,” said Stevenson. “He explained things in normal people's language, instead of all doctor stuff.” He told me what they would do and what would happen. He checked in and made sure I felt comfortable with the procedure.”

Triplet diagnosed Stevenson with stenosing tenosynovitis, commonly known as trigger finger. Trigger finger is a common condition that more than 200,000 people report having a year. It occurs when the tendons that flex the fingers and thumbs become inflamed. This results in a stiff feeling in the finger and intense pain when you try to straighten or bend the finger, just like what Stevenson was experiencing.

After discussing the diagnosis, Triplet explained the treatment plan. He told Stevenson that he would perform a trigger finger release surgery, in which a small cut is made on the finger to allow the tight tendon to move freely without pain.

The surgery was performed while Stevenson was awake. Triplet made a tiny incision in the tissue over the sore tendon, just like he had explained during the consultation. He then gave her a few stitches and told her to return in three days for a check-up.

Stevenson said that although she was nervous, Triplet and his team put her at ease. “They were all so personable,” she said. “It made my experience memorable. When I went back, I was already able to move my finger and they took the stitches out. Within a week, I didn’t even know I had it. It was wonderful! Today, you can’t even tell that I have a scar anymore.”

After her surgery, Stevenson was able to go back to her normal life, which includes spending time with her husband, children, grandchildren and three great grandkids. Making holiday memories can continue, too. Every Christmas she and her husband make more than 600 cookies to share with friends and family, but last year she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to because of her trigger finger. With the help of Triplet and her care team at Ball, she is back to doing what she loves.

“I recommend Triplet to anybody that says, ‘I have a trigger finger and I don’t know what to do,’” Stevenson said. “Go to Dr. Triplet immediately. You’d be so surprised at how much of a difference there is. I was at the point where I couldn’t do much of anything. I had to get something done. And now, it’s wonderful.”



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Orthopedics treats problems with bones, joints, muscles and the spine to help you return to your previous level of activity quickly and safely. Now offering virtual visits.

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Jacob J. Triplet, DO

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