Trigger Finger Causes and Treatments

Do you find it difficult to straighten your fingers without them locking up and extending or popping forward in a rapid, jolting motion? This movement-limiting condition is most commonly referred to as trigger finger.

Rebound’s dedicated team of fellowship-trained hand surgeons provides comprehensive care for this common condition as well as several other conditions that affect the tendons in the hand, fingers and wrist. Our specialists will identify your treatment options and create a personalized recovery plan. Learn more about your symptoms, trigger finger causes and treatments from one of our hand experts below.

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger, or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that occurs when the flexor tendon in the hand becomes irritated, causing your fingers or thumb to lock momentarily and shoot forward.

“Our flexor tendons control movement in our fingers, and when they are irritated, small nodules can form or the tendons thicken. Both of these factors can cause the tendons to stick,” says Dr. Ben Jacobs, Rebound orthopedic surgeon who sub-specializes in hand and upper extremity surgery.

“The sensation is usually short-lived, and after being momentarily locked, your finger will shoot out, hence the term ‘trigger finger’.”

What are Symptoms of Trigger Finger?

Most symptoms associated with trigger finger occur after activities the place strain on the hand or after long periods of inactivity (after sleep). Here are some common symptoms you may be experiencing if you have trigger finger:

  • Discomfort, tenderness or pain in the hand and palm
  • Pain and difficulty bending and extending fingers and thumb
  • Locking, catching and popping sensations in fingers and thumb
  • Swelling of fingers and thumb
  • Lump in the palm

What Causes Trigger Finger?

Like carpal tunnel syndrome and other overuse hand conditions, trigger finger can be brought on by excessive and repetitive use of your hands. Typically, the exact cause is unknown.

However, trigger finger is also associated with age, sex, certain activities that strain the hand, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other medical problems.

How is Trigger Finger Treated?

Rebound offers non-surgical and surgical treatment options for trigger finger. One of our hand specialists will work with you to evaluate your options.

“First, we meet with the patient to identify the symptoms they are experiencing and then perform a hand examination. Depending on the patient’s best interest and severity of the condition, we’ll recommend treatment options,” says Dr. Jacobs.

For mild cases of trigger finger, our specialists may recommend non-surgical treatment methods, some of which include rest, splinting, anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections.

“When steroid injections, rest and other non-surgical options don’t provide relief and symptoms worsen, we may advise you to consider surgery,” says Dr. Jacobs.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the palm and then widens (cuts) the opening of the tendon sheath tunnel. This provides more room for the tendon and allows it to slide through the tendon sheath tunnel more fluidly.

After surgery, you typically reclaim mobility in your hand and fingers quickly, with only minor discomfort, soreness or swelling. Your Rebound hand surgeon will design a recovery plan that suits you. Hand therapy sessions with our team of expert hand therapists may help you restore function and increase mobility in your fingers more quickly.

If you are experiencing symptoms of trigger finger, do not hesitate to book an appointment with one of our hand specialists online or call 1-800-REBOUND.

Check out the resources below for more information on trigger finger causes and treatments, Rebound services and other hand-related conditions.

Rebound Resources:

Hand Surgery

Hand Therapy

Other Resources:

American Society for Surgery of the Hand – What is Trigger Finger? (Video)

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – Trigger Finger

American Society for Surgery of the Hand – Hand and Arm Conditions

American Society for Surgery of the Hand – What’s a Hand Surgeon: Introduction to Hand Surgery