Trigger finger is when a finger or thumb is locked in a bent position. It happens from swelling of the sheath that encloses the tendons of the thumb and fingers. This makes it hard for the tendon to move.
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This problem is caused by swelling of the sheath that encloses the tendons of the thumb and fingers. This makes it hard for the tendons to move. The exact cause of the swelling is not always known.
This problem is more common in women, and in people aged 60 years and older. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the hand. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. Some people may need to see a doctor who treats hands.
It will take several weeks for most people to heal. The goals of treatment are to ease pain and swelling. This may include:
Some people may need surgery when other methods do not help. A small incision will be made in the hand. The tendon will be released from the locked position.
There are no known guidelines to prevent this problem.
Hand Care—American Society for Surgery of the Hand
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
The Arthritis Society
Adams JE, Habbu R. Tendinopathies of the Hand and Wrist. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2015 Dec;23(12):741-750.
Trigger finger. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/trigger-finger. Updated March 2018. Accessed December 6, 2019.
Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/trigger-finger-stenosing-tenosynovitis-in-adults . Updated July 26, 2019. Accessed December 6, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS
Last Updated: 7/29/2020