May 3, 2019

What is trigger finger?

Diseases and Conditions | Hand, Wrist and Elbow


Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that causes a feeling of locking or catching when you try to bend or straighten your finger.

Most commonly, the thumb and the ring finger are affected the most. When someone has it in their thumb, it’s called trigger thumb. However, trigger finger can be present in any finger.

In very severe cases of trigger finger, your finger can get locked in the bent position. Typically, you can use your other hand to straighten the bent finger.

Trigger finger causes

The actual causes of trigger finger is not exactly known, but there are a few factors that increase the chances of someone developing it such as:

  • Medical conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Forceful use of the fingers during certain activities

Trigger finger symptoms

  • Catching, popping or locking sensation when bending finger
  • Pain when you bend your finger
  • Painful lump that forms on the base of the finger on the palm side of your hand

Physician examination

A physician will be able to diagnosis you with trigger finger by evaluating your hand and listening to your symptoms. X-rays are usually not needed.


Trigger finger treatment

 How do you treat trigger finger without surgery?

  • Rest: Avoid the activities that make your finger feel worse.
  • Splinting: You may have to wear a splint while you sleep to keep your finger straight.
  • Exercise: Gentle exercises may help decrease stiffness and improve range of motion.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Steroid injections: Steroid injections may be given to resolve the issue. However, if symptoms do improve after a second injection, surgery might be the next option.

Trigger finger surgery

If nonsurgical techniques do not eliminate your trigger finger symptoms, surgery known as “tenolysis” or “trigger finger release.” will be the next step.

It is typically done in an outpatient setting with injection of local anesthesia to numb the single area. Trigger finger release surgery only requires a small incision.

Recovery from trigger finger surgery

After surgery patients are encouraged to move their finger to reduce pain and swelling. The incision will heal within a couple of weeks, but the swelling can last anywhere from four to six months. It also may be recommended to see a physical therapist to help with trigger finger exercises.

Relieve pain from hand, wrist or elbow injuries

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
McKenzie Muchow

By McKenzie Muchow

McKenzie is the current Marketing Coordinator at OrthoIndy. McKenzie is responsible for online reputation management and creation of individual physician websites. McKenzie graduated from Butler University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications with a concentration in journalism. She has been with OrthoIndy since January 2018.

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