You’re an airsoft warrior. Your kill to death ratio is elite earning you the fear from your peers. You have some of the most legendary airsoft guns known to man. You’re so good in fact that they give you a nickname that has something to do with a GOAT. If and when there is a professional league, your name would top the MVP list. Hall of fame maybe? Then it suddenly hits you. After years of delivering world-class headshots worthy of viral YouTube fame, your trigger finger begins hurting you. What the heck?
The cliff notes summary of the story of Achilles is as follows: He was the most revered and fearless warrior of his time, yet a simple hit to his heel destroyed him. In the airsoft world, the analogue to Achilles heel is Airsoft’s trigger finger. As one Whitby physiotherapist puts it best, “it’s the unknown injury that is easily preventable, but hits you hard when you get it”. Trigger finger is an injury developed from over-use of your fingers, specifically the index finger in this case. It can manifest from any activity requiring prolonged/repetitive finger flexion. This movement is the same one used to squeeze the trigger repeatedly when airsofting.
Initially, it can present as a relatively pain-free clicking with movements of the finger. This is the point where an airsoft player should begin seeking out treatment. If left untreated, symptoms can and will progress to a painful popping/catching felt in the top of the palm when flexing the fingers. When the condition becomes more advanced, it can lead to intermittent finger locking requiring you to use your other hand to pull it out of its locked position. That and you’ll eventually experience a loss of range of motion in your finger flexion and extension. Treatments for severe forms of trigger finger that are left unchecked include the following two. Cortisone injections and eventually surgery to cut away tissues that are preventing finger tendons from moving.
To avoid the severe implications of this injury, it’s important to seek out trigger finger physiotherapy the moment you notice any clicking in the finger when airsofting. Ali from Boss Physio mentions that there are quite a few things that can be done regarding trigger finger treatment. These treatments include soft and deep tissue release of the hand and forearm, corrective exercises to help restore the finger tendon movement, splinting of the fingers during off-times, and education/modification of gun-wielding techniques.
There’s a lot that can be done to prevent and treat trigger finger. Don’t take the early signs of it for granted as they can and will become more severe if left untreated. The worst part is when trigger finger gets bad, you won’t be able to play the game you love. And we don’t want that to happen, right? You need to get to the airsoft hall of fame after all.