Trigger Finger

Symptoms and Causes of Trigger Finger | Orthopaedics

What is a trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a painful condition that causes the fingers or toes to catch or lock when bent. It can affect any finger or more than one finger at a time. You can even hold it in both hands. This is called tenosynovitis stenosis. When it affects the big toe, it is called a trigger thumb.

This occurs when inflammation within the sheath surrounding the tendon of the affected finger narrows. If the trigger finger is severe, your finger may be locked in a bent position.

People who require repetitive gripping actions for work or hobbies are at risk of developing a trigger finger. This condition is more common in women and people with diabetes. Trigger finger varies depending on the severity of treatment.

Alternate name

  • Trigger thumb

Who gets the trigger finger?

Trigger finger or trigger thumb usually appears in:

People with jobs, interests, or tasks that require rigorous repetitive movements; Often grasping, or straining the fingers and/or toes. For example, trigger finger often occurs in people who use their fingers or thumbs for multiple repetitive movements. These people may include:

  • Farmers
  • Industrial workers
  • Musicians
  • People with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or diabetes
  • People between 40 and 60 years old

Symptoms of trigger finger

Trigger finger or trigger foot signs and symptoms:

  • Tapping or popping sensation when moving a finger or thumb
  • Pain at the base of the finger or toe in the palm, especially when holding or holding
  • Pain and stiffness when bending the fingers or thumb
  • Swelling or paleness in the palm
  • Lock the finger (s) or toe in a bent position (in severe cases). The fingers or toes should be gently straightened with the help of the other hand.
  • Inability to bend the finger completely
  • The firmness and bent position of the fingers or toes are worse in the morning. Visibility decreases when using fingers and toes.

Causes of trigger finger

Most of the time, it comes from repeated movements or forced use of the finger or toe. This also happens when tendons, the tight bands of tissue that connect the muscles and bones of the finger or toe, become inflamed. Together, they and the muscles in your arms and hands bend and stretch your fingers and thumbs.

A tendon generally moves easily through tissue (called the sheath) thanks to synovial fluid, which surrounds the joints and keeps them flexible. Sometimes the tendon becomes inflamed and swollen. Chronic irritation of the tendon sheath can lead to scarring and hardening that affect tendon movement. When this happens, bending the finger or toe will cause the inflamed tendon to pull, break, or jump through the narrow sheath.

Risk factors

Things you can do more with your trigger finger:

  • Age. It usually appears between the ages of 40 and 60
  • Sex. It is more common in women than in men
  • Healthy conditions. Diabetes, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to finger sticks
  • Job. This is common for farmers, industrial workers, musicians, and anyone who repeats finger and toe movements
  • Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. This is most common in the first 6 months after the operation

Diagnosis of trigger finger

Trigger finger diagnosis does not require extensive testing. Your doctor or health care provider will make a diagnosis based on your medical history and physical exam. During the physical exam, your doctor will ask you to open and close your arm, checking for evidence of pain, sensitivity to movement, and blockage.

Your doctor will also feel your palm to see if there is a lump. If the bulge is attached to the trigger finger, the bulge will move as the finger moves because the bulge is a swollen part of the tendon that moves the finger.

Treatment for trigger finger

Trigger finger treatment varies depending on its severity and duration.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Olive) may reduce pain but not relieve tendon or tendon inflammation.


Non-invasive conservative treatments can include:

Chill out. Avoid repeatedly grasping, repeatedly grasping, or vibrating handheld machines until your symptoms improve. If you can’t completely avoid these activities, fluffy gloves provide some protection.

A fork. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a splint at night to keep the affected finger in an extended position for up to six weeks. It helps to relax the tendon of the splint.

Stretching exercises. Your doctor may also prescribe gentle exercises to keep your finger mobile.


If your symptoms are severe or traditional therapies don’t help, your doctor may prescribe:

Steroid injection. Injecting steroid medications near or near the tendon sheath reduces inflammation and allows the tendon to freely rotate again. This is a very common treatment and is generally effective for most people who have been treated for a year or more. But sometimes more than one injection is needed.

For people with diabetes, steroid injections are less effective.

Percutaneous release. After numbing your palm, your doctor inserts a firmly structured needle into the tissue surrounding the affected tendon. Moving the needle and finger helps to disengage the contraction that prevents smooth movement of the tendon.

This treatment can be done under ultrasound control, so the doctor can see where the tip of the needle is under the skin to make sure it opens the tendon sheath without damaging the tendon or nearby nerves. This procedure is usually done in the doctor’s office or in the office procedure room.

Surgery. If you operate through a small incision near the base of your affected finger, a surgeon can open the contracted section of the tendon sheath. This procedure is usually done in the operating room.

Surgical recovery

When to improve depends on your situation. The choice of treatment also affects recovery. For example, you may need to wear a splint for 6 weeks. But most patients with a trigger finger recover within a few weeks by resting the finger and using anti-inflammatory medications.

You should be able to move your finger after surgery. Raise your arm above your heart to reduce swelling and pain. Full recovery can take a few weeks, but swelling and firmness can be delayed for up to 6 months.


There are some risks to any surgical procedure. Trigger finger surgery can cause problems like:

  • Infection
  • Stiffness or pain in the fingers
  • Scars and tenderness
  • Nerve damage
  • The tendon is in the wrong place (bowstring)
  • Pain and swelling in the hand (complicated regional pain syndrome or CRPS). It usually goes away in a few months.

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