Trigger Finger

Also known as stenosing tenosynovitis or stenosing tenovaginosis, trigger finger occurs if a tendon or tendon sheath (the tunnel a tendon runs through) becomes swollen and inflamed, typically resulting in a sensation of locking or catching when fingers are bent and straightened. It is a common and treatable condition that affects both fingers and thumbs, which have tendons that help them bend.

Trigger finger symptoms often start gradually without visible signs of injury following heavy or extensive hand use, such as pinching and grasping. Common trigger finger symptoms include pain at the base of the affected finger or thumb when moved or pressed, stiffness or clicking when moving the affected finger or thumb first thing in the morning and a tender lump at the palm side of the hand as the condition worsens.

The following nonsurgical treatments can help reduce or eliminate the swelling, catching and locking to restore painless movement of the finger or thumb:

  • Splinting at night
  • Taking NSAID medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Limiting activities that involve forceful, repetitive or sustained gripping
  • Hand therapy

If symptoms persist despite nonsurgical treatments, surgery may be considered to open the pulley at the base of the finger so that the tendon can glide more freely.