Article Text

Acupuncture for the treatment of trigger finger in adults: a prospective case series
  1. Motohiro Inoue1,
  2. Miwa Nakajima1,
  3. Tatsuya Hojo2,
  4. Megumi Itoi3,
  5. Hiroshi Kitakoji1
  1. 1Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
  2. 2Faculty of Health and Sports Science, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
  3. 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Motohiro Inoue, Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Honoda, Hiyoshi-cho, Nantan-city, Kyoto 629-0392, Japan; mo_inoue{at}


Objective To determine the effect of acupuncture performed at the synovial and ligamentous tendon sheath (A1 pulley site) on pain during snapping and the severity of the snapping phenomenon in patients with trigger finger.

Methods In this observational study, changes in the patients' condition were compared before and after acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture was performed on 19 fingers of 15 patients. Acupuncture needles were inserted into the radial and ulnar sides of the flexor tendon at the A1 pulley of the affected finger. Treatment was performed daily up to a maximum of five times. Before and after each treatment, pain during snapping and the severity of snapping were evaluated using a visual analogue scale (VAS).

Results VAS scores for pain and snapping severity were significantly improved immediately after the first treatment (p<0.001). Pain during snapping, assessed before each treatment, improved over time, reaching statistical significance from the second treatment onwards (p<0.001); similarly, a significant improvement in the severity of snapping was observed, also from the second treatment (p<0.001). Patients with clinically significant improvements (≥50%) in pain and snapping severity had a significantly shorter duration of the disorder than those with <50% improvement (p<0.05).

Conclusions Acupuncture at the impaired A1 pulley site may be an effective treatment for trigger finger. We postulate that acupuncture may reduce inflammation/swelling of the synovial membrane of the tendon sheath, which predominates when the disorder is of short duration. Further research is required to confirm the efficacy/effectiveness of acupuncture for trigger finger and its mechanisms of action.


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  • Contributors MI designed the study, conducted the research, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. MN conducted the research and acquired the data. TH analysed and interpreted the data. MI analysed the data and supervised the study. HK revised the article critically for important intellectual content and took overall control. All authors approved the final version for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The Research Ethics Committee of Meiji University of Integrative Medicine (24-70-3).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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