What is trigger finger?
A trigger finger describes a finger that locks in the bent position and then suddenly straightens associated with pain in the palm. It is caused by thickening of the tendons of a finger, which then becomes stuck within a tight tunnel or pulley through which the tendon glides. Those in most people there is no cause identified, it is more common seen in inflammatory arthritis, gout and diabetes.
What are the symptoms of trigger finger?
Symptoms can range from pain and swelling at the base of the finger to a jumping or triggering feeling when the finger is straightened, especially in the morning. Eventually, the finger can completely lock.
Treatment of a trigger finger
If the trigger finger is because of localized inflammation with a relatively short history then a single injection of steroid may get rid of the problem. When the symptoms are long standing, a minor surgical procedure may be necessary. Under local anaesthesia, the pulley at the bottom of the finger is opened so that the tendon can glide smoothly again. The finger can be moved immediately after the procedure. The most rare but serious risk is an injury to a nerve that supplies sensation to half of your finger.
After the surgery the bandage should be removed on Day 3 but the finger should be moved immediately. At two weeks, the stitches are removed and you can use your hand normally. Very rarely the finger becomes stiff in which case physiotherapy may be needed.
Mr Sam Vollans
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
I graduated from the University of Leeds and completed my specialist training in Yorkshire. Following this, I undertook further training in both elective and trauma shoulder & elbow surgery in Sheffield & Europe.
Have a question about this article?
I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, so please drop me an email using the link below.