Trigger Finger: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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Trigger Finger: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Below is an article on the topic Trigger Finger: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment compiled by the editors of Gootoplist - a general information page about useful tips for life

Trigger finger is a painful condition that makes your fingers or thumb catch or lock when you bend them. It can affect any finger or more than one finger at a time. You can also have it in both hands. You might hear it called stenosing tenosynovitis. When it affects your thumb, it’s called trigger thumb.

You might notice:

Symptoms often start mild and get worse over time. It’s more likely to happen after a period of heavy hand use than after an injury. It’s often worse:

Most of the time, it comes from a repeated movement or forceful use of your finger or thumb. It can also happen when tendons -- tough bands of tissue that connect muscles and bones in your finger or thumb -- get inflamed. Together, they and the muscles in your hands and arms bend and straighten your fingers and thumbs.

A tendon usually glides easily through the tissue that covers it (called a sheath) thanks to the synovium, a membrane that surrounds joints and keeps them lubricated. Sometimes, a tendon gets inflamed and swollen. Long-term irritation of the tendon sheath can lead to scarring and thickening that affect the tendon's motion. When this happens, bending your finger or thumb pulls the inflamed tendon through a narrowed sheath and makes it snap or pop.

Things that make you more likely to have trigger finger include:


There are no X-rays or lab tests to diagnose trigger finger. Your doctor will do a physical exam of your hand and fingers, and they’ll ask about your symptoms.

Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are. Most of the time, you’ll start with:


If you have severe symptoms or if other treatments don’t work, your doctor may suggest surgery. There are two types:

Surgery recovery

The time it takes to get better depends on your condition. The choice of treatment also affects recovery. For example, you may need to wear a splint for 6 weeks. But most patients with trigger finger recover within a few weeks by resting the finger and using anti-inflammatory drugs.

You should be able to move your finger just after surgery. Raising your hand above your heart can ease swelling and pain. Full recovery may take a few weeks, but swelling and stiffness may linger for 6 months.

If your finger was very stiff before surgery, your doctor will probably suggest physical therapy to teach you exercises to help loosen it.

Complications of trigger finger surgery

Any surgical procedure has some risks. Surgery for trigger finger may lead to complications like:


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Trigger Finger.”

Mayo Clinic: “Trigger finger: Diagnosis & treatment,” “Trigger finger: Symptoms & causes.”

OrthoInfo: “Trigger Finger.”

Franciscan Health: “Trigger Finger Surgery.”

National Health Service (U.K.): “Trigger finger.”

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