Trigger Finger

Understanding a Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a specific ailment in the hands where one (or more) of your fingers becomes stuck in a bent position (as if you’re pulling a trigger). Your finger may also make a snapping sound when it’s straightened and bent (as if a trigger is released and pulled).

Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) is caused when the muscles that enclose the tendons responsible for moving the finger become inflamed. This is because the inflammation narrows the available space around the tendons, forcing the finger into a singular position. If you can still bend your finger somewhat, this is considered mild. If your finger gets stuck in one position, it is more severe.

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The largest tell for trigger finger is the inability to bend (or unbend) your finger, however, there are other symptoms involved in this condition, as well. You may experience stiffness, especially after long periods of inactivity (such as overnight), a clicking or popping feeling in your finger when you move it, tenderness, or a bump that appears at the base of the finger on the palm.

Trigger finger can happen to any of your fingers, including your thumbs, so it’s best to be aware if there are any changes with any of your fingers. The good news is that there are good treatments available and our doctors can help!

Causes and Risk Factors

The tendons in your body are the connectors between bones and muscles, and all of them are surrounded by a sheath that protects them from damage. However, when that sheath becomes inflamed, it can interfere with how the tendon can move inside of it. If left untreated, the sheath can thicken and make the situation worse.

If you work in a profession that requires a lot of bending of your fingers or gripping things tightly, you are more at risk. Additionally, women and those with diabetes tend to suffer from trigger finger more often than other individuals. Other risk factors include suffering from arthritis or diabetes.

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As with most ailments, the severity will determine the type of treatment that will be recommended. In milder cases, anti-inflammatory drugs can help to relieve the pain and swelling, although more effort may need to be employed to make a complete recovery. Physical therapy is a great option for recovering from trigger finger, and in specific cases, a doctor might recommend sleeping with a splint to force the finger to remain in a straight position to rest your tendons. In severe cases, steroid injections and therapy might also be suggested.


If you don’t know what it is, trigger finger can seem scary. But the good news is that it doesn’t need to be scary and there are treatment options available to you. Give our orthopedic specialists a call. We can help your fingers start feeling better as soon as possible!

Additional Resources

Trigger finger- Mayo Clinic

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