Trigger Finger

  • What is trigger finger? (Overview)

Trigger finger is a painful condition that makes the fingers or thumb catch or lock when you bend them. It may straighten suddenly with a snap.

It can affect any finger but most commonly affects the ring and the thumb.

Trigger finger occurs when the tendon that controls that finger can’t glide smoothly in the sheath that surrounds it. This may occur if part of the tendon sheath becomes swollen or if a small lump forms on the tendon.

Risk Factors include diabetes, low thyroid function or rheumatoid arthritis. Also, the condition is more common in women over the age of 50.

Treatment of trigger finger can include splinting, steroid injections or surgery.

  • What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

Symptoms often start mild and get worse over time. These include:

  • Finger stiffness, particularly in the morning.
  • A popping or clicking sensation as the finger bends or straightens.
  • Finger locked in a bent position.
  • Soreness or a bump at the base of the finger or thumb.
  • Finger catching or locking in a bent position then suddenly pops straight.

Trigger finger may affect more than one finger at a time and also may involve both hands.

  • What causes trigger finger?

Repeated movement or forceful use of the finger or thumb can lead to inflammation of a tendon, which can cause trigger finger. Tendons are cords that attach muscle to bone. Each tendon is surrounded by a protective synovial sheath, which allows tendons to slide easily.

Trigger finger occurs when the tendon or the surrounding sheath become irritated and swollen. Long-term irritation causes a small lump of tissue (nodule) to form on the tendon. This nodule makes it harder for the tendon to glide smoothly in the sheath.

Risk Factors include:

-Age. It usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60.

-Gender. It is more common in women.

-Health conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and gout may increase the risk of trigger finger.

-Repeated Gripping. Higher risk of trigger finger occurs in people with occupations and hobbies that involve repetitive hand use and prolonged gripping.

  • How is trigger finger diagnosed?

There are no X-rays or laboratory tests to diagnose trigger finger.

Your doctor will conduct physical examination of your hand and fingers, checking areas of pain and evidence of locking.

  • How is trigger finger treated?

Conservative and non-invasive treatments include:

Rest. Avoid repetitive grasping, repetitive gripping and prolonged use of vibrating machinery. If you can’t avoid these activities, try using padded gloves.

-Splint. Splints are designed to keep the finger still.

-Stretching exercises. Gentle exercises may help ease stiffness and maintain mobility of the finger. 

  • Doctors and Departments

 -Departments that treat this condition

-Doctors who treat this condition

Trigger Finger