Background: Trigger finger is most common in the ring finger, but the reason for this is not known. We hypothesized that the compliance of the A1 pulley might be one of the factors responsible for this phenomenon. The purpose of this study was therefore to compare the compliance of the normal A1 pulley of the thumb, index, middle, ring and little fingers using human cadavers. Methods: Eight normal thumbs, index, middle, ring and little fingers from eight fresh frozen human hand cadavers were used in this experiment. The compliance of the A1 pulley was measured by the resistance when passing a tapered metal rod through the A1 pulley. The slopes of the linear region of radial force/increasing area ratio curve were calculated and analyzed. Findings: The mean slope of the linear region of the radial force/increasing area ratio curve was significantly different among the five digits (p < 0.05). Post hoc analysis indicated that the mean slope for the middle finger A1 pulleys was larger than the thumb and little finger A1 pulleys (p < 0.05). Interpretation: The findings did not support our clinical hypothesis that A1 pulley stiffness would parallel the relative frequency of trigger finger by digit.
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