Trigger finger is when a finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position, like you are squeezing a trigger. Once it gets “unstuck,” your finger will pop straight out, like a trigger being released.
In severe cases the finger cannot be straightened. Surgery is needed to correct it.
Tendons connect muscles to bones. When you tighten a muscle, it pulls on the tendon, and this causes the bone to move.
The tendons that move your finger slide through a tendon sheath (tunnel) as you bend your finger.
If you have a trigger finger, you may notice:
Trigger finger can occur in both children and adults, but it is more common in people who:
Trigger finger is diagnosed by your medical history and a physical exam. You will not need x-rays or lab tests.
In mild cases, the goal is to decrease swelling in the tunnel.
Your doctor may also give you a shot of a medicine called “cortisone.” The shot goes into the tunnel that the tendon goes through. This can help decrease swelling. Your doctor may try a second shot if the first one does not work.
You may need surgery if your finger is locked in a bent position or does not get better with the above treatments.
The surgery is done under local anesthesia or a nerve block. These will block pain. You will be awake during surgery.
During the surgery:
If you notice signs of infection call your surgeon right away. Some signs of infection are:
If your trigger finger returns, call your surgeon. You may need another surgery.
Digitalstenosing tenosynovitis; Trigger digit; Trigger finger release
Tigger finger. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2012.1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2011:1041.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2014, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.