Pain and Gain

        I have been diagnosed with something called “trigger finger” in the middle digit of my right hand. I had never heard of it before, but when I started mentioning it to friends and fellow golfers, I discovered it is a fairly common malady. In fact, golfing friends in Scotland and here in the States have told me they had out-patient surgery to correct it.
        I will probably join them this winter, since a cortisone injection has had no effect and my orthopod warned that if the pain persisted, surgery was the only remedy. The pain has persisted for a couple of months and, according to what I have read, diabetics with trigger finger almost always require surgery. I meet that criteria as well (Type 2).
        Stenosing tenosynovitis is sometimes called “trigger thumb.” So-called "pulleys" in your fingers hold the tendons close to the bone and help the fingers slide when you bend them. Trigger finger occurs when the pulley becomes thick and prefents the tendon from gliding easily.
        The only thing that partially relieves the pain and permits me to grip a golf club is ibuprofen, such as Advil. Both my cardio and gastro docs have given me permission to take Advil before a round of golf, but advise against using it at other times. The finger still hurts during the swing, but it is tolerable.
        But here is the irony regarding the pain; it has actually helped my golf swing. I cannot grip the club with my right hand as firmly as I had before the problem, and I have discovered I was probably gripping it too tightly when my finger felt okay. Now, the only times I hit the ball to the right are when I stop the club before I get to a full follow through. I also sense that my takeaway is not quite as fast as my traditional lightning swing since I am conscious of putting too much stress on that middle finger. 
        I would rather be pain free, which I will be for next year’s golf season. But as pain goes, this event has added some gain to my golf game.


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