Tenosynovitis – Trigger Finger

Indian J Orthop. 2015 Sep-Oct;49(5):542-8. doi: 10.4103/0019-5413.164050.

Outcome of low level lasers versus ultrasonic therapy in de Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Sharma R1, Aggarwal AN1, Bhatt S2, Kumar S1, Bhargava SK2.
Author information
1Department of Orthopaedics, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, India.
2Department of Radiology, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, India.

de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is an inflammation of abductor pollicis longus (APL) and extensor pollicis brevis (EPB) muscle tendon sheaths at the level of radial styloid process. Its conservative management includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, wrist and thumb immobilization, ultrasonic therapy (US Th.) and low level laser therapy (LLLT). Literature is scanty on comparative efficacy of US Th. and LLLT for its management. This prospective study evaluates outcome of US Th. versus LLLT in de Quervain’s disease.
Thirty patients clinically diagnosed de Quervains tenosynovitis were included in the study and randomly assigned to two groups. The average age was 36 years (range: 21-45 years). One group was given LLLT and the other US Th. for a total of 7 exposures on alternate days. The clinical criteria used were Finkelstein’s test, tenderness over radial styloid (Ritchie’s tenderness scale), grip strength, pain (visual analog scale [VAS]) and radiological criteria was ultrasonographic assessment of change in thickness of APL and EPB tendon sheath. They were measured before commencement and at the end of seven sessions of therapy, as per standard procedure.
Significant improvement was seen within both groups in the following outcome measures assessed: Ritchie’s tenderness scale, grip strength and VAS. Finkelstein’s test was not significantly improved in either groups. Ultrasonographic measurement of tendon sheath diameters, the mediolateral (ML), and anteroposterior (AP) diameters was not found to be significantly different in the US Th. group and the laser therapy group after treatment. On comparing both the groups, no statistically significant difference was found. However, looking at the mean values, the grip strength and VAS showed better improvement in the US Th. group as compared to the laser therapy group.

J Clin Laser Med Surg. 1996 Aug;14(4):163-7.

Low level laser therapy with trigger points technique: a clinical study on 243 patients.

Simunovic Z.

Laser Center, Locarno, Switzerland.

Among the various methods of application techniques in low level laser therapy (LLLT) (HeNe 632.8 nm visible red or infrared 820-830 nm continuous wave and 904 nm pulsed emission) there are very promising “trigger points” (TPs), i.e., myofascial zones of particular sensibility and of highest projection of focal pain points, due to ischemic conditions. The effect of LLLT and the results obtained after clinical treatment of more than 200 patients (headaches and facial pain, skeletomuscular ailments, myogenic neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, epicondylitis humery, tenosynovitis, low back and radicular pain, Achilles tendinitis) to whom the “trigger points” were applied were better than we had ever expected. According to clinical parameters, it has been observed that the rigidity decreases, the mobility is restored (functional recovery), and the spontaneous or induced pain decreases or even disappears, by movement, too. LLLT improves local microcirculation and it can also improve oxygen supply to hypoxic cells in the TP areas and at the same time it can remove the collected waste products. The normalization of the microcirculation, obtained due to laser applications, interrupts the “circulus vitiosus” of the origin of the pain and its development (Melzak: muscular tension > pain > increased tension > increased pain, etc.). Results measured according to VAS/VRS/PTM: in acute pain, diminished more than 70%; in chronic pain more than 60%. Clinical effectiveness (success or failure) depends on the correctly applied energy dose–over/underdosage produces opposite, negative effects on cellular metabolism. We did not observe any negative effects on the human body and the use of analgesic drugs could be reduced or completely excluded. LLLT suggests that the laser beam can be used as monotherapy or as a supplementary treatment to other therapeutic procedures for pain treatment.