RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Nerve blocks at the wrist for painful injections of the palm.

PURPOSE: Injections into the palmar hand for trigger finger, palmar flexor tenosynovitis, and Dupuytren contracture can be very painful. This randomized, controlled study evaluated nerve block anesthesia at the wrist for prevention of procedural pain associated with painful injection of the palmar hand.

METHODS: Forty-seven corticosteroid injections for trigger fingers in 19 individuals were randomized to (1) anesthesia consisting of median and ulnar nerve block with 1% lidocaine anesthesia followed by standard injection or (2) standard injection alone using the 1-needle 2-syringe technique consisting of transthecal dilation of the synovial sheath with 0.5 mL 1% lidocaine with a mechanical syringe, the reciprocating procedure device, followed by injection with 20 mg triamcinolone acetonide. Baseline pain, needle insertion/sheath dilation pain, corticosteroid injection pain, resolution of trigger finger, and pain at outcome (2 weeks) were determined.

RESULTS: Standard injection for trigger finger was associated with significant pain in 100% of subjects. Nerve blocks at the wrist provided effective anesthesia, resulting in a 56% reduction in injection pain compared with direct injection (P < 0.01). There was 100% resolution of trigger finger in both treatment groups. Pain at the 2-week outcome, reduction in pain from baseline, responders, and nonresponders were not statistically different (P > 0.3 for all). Eighty-eight percent of subjects preferred nerve block anesthesia to direct injection (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Nerve block anesthesia at the wrist before palmar injection is preferred by patients and is highly effective in preventing pain associated with injection of the palmar hand for trigger finger and other painful hand procedures.

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