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University Orthopaedics, Hand

and Reconstructive Microsurgery Cluster

Trigger Digits  




What Is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger or trigger thumb is a condition where a patient feels pain or discomfort when trying to straighten or bend their finger/thumb. Sometimes the finger may become locked or stuck when swelling of the tendon lining occurs.

The tendon lining is like a tunnel in which the tendon muscles glide to bring about motion. The swelling of the tendon lining impairs the smooth gliding motion of the tendons which then results in the pain or catching feeling when the patient tries to flex his finger.




What Causes It?

The causes of trigger finger has not been established. It may be the result of:

  • Doing activities that involve excessive repetitive grasping.
  • Maintaining firm grip of the hand with hard surface for prolonged periods of time (e.g. when using screwdrivers, and during moping of floor).
  • Changes of connective tissue as associated with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or diabetes.
  • Hormonal changes experienced during middle age or pregnancy.



Signs And Symptoms

If you suffer from trigger finger, you may start to feel aching sensations at the base of your finger or thumb. A thickening may also be found in the area. However, when your finger begins to trigger or lock, it is likely that you will feel pain in the middle of your finger or thumb.



Doctors will first try non-surgical methods of treatment, such as making you wear a splint, prescribing anti-inflammatory medication orally or by giving you an injection of steroids.

When symptoms persist without improvement, surgery may be recommended. It is a minor surgical procedure and can be performed as a day surgery case.

Surgery is almost always successful and you will regain normal use of your hand upon recovery.

You may require hand therapy after your surgery to regain normal function of your hand for certain cases.

Hand Surgery, Wrist Surgery, Reconstructive Surgery, microsurgery