Trigger finger is a condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a sensation of locking or catching when a finger is bent and straightened. Trigger finger can happen to any finger, but it is most common with the ring finger and thumb. The condition is also known as “stenosing tenosynovitis.” When the thumb is involved, the condition is called “trigger thumb.” It occurs when inflammation narrows the space within the sheath that surrounds the tendon in the affected finger. When trigger finger is severe, the finger may become locked in a bent position.

Several factors may increase a person’s risk for developing the condition such as a history of diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. People that use their hands for repetitive gripping actions for work or other activities are at higher risk of developing trigger finger. Women typically experience the condition more often than do men.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Finger stiffness, more often first thing in the morning
  • A popping or clicking sensation when moving the finger
  • Tenderness or a bump (nodule) in the palm at the base of the affected finger
  • Finger locks in a bent position then abruptly goes straight
  • Finger locks in a bent position but unable to be straightened

Trigger finger can affect more than one finger at a time, and both hands may also be affected. Triggering is usually more pronounced in the morning, while firmly grasping an object or when straightening your finger.

Nonsurgical treatments include rest, splinting, exercise therapy, medications, and steroid injections (in non-diabetic patients). In cases where the finger or thumb is stuck in a flexed or bent position, surgery may be recommended to prevent permanent stiffness.

Patients who have surgery generally experience significant improvement in function as well as relief from the pain of a trigger finger. However, if a contracture or loss of motion was present before surgery, there is a chance that complete range of motion may not be restored by surgery.

From Injury Through Recovery

The SRO Hand Center affords each patient, state-of-the-art medical care in a friendly and compassionate environment. Our team treatment model focuses on diagnostics and meticulous surgical details, in addition to carefully monitored post-surgical rehabilitation and recovery.