What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger develops due to inflammation of the tendons in the hand. This condition results to pain, tenderness and deformity of the affected hand. The condition limits movement and there is difficulty in straightening the finger.


The initial symptoms that might arise include:

  • Persistent soreness in the base of the thumb or another adjacent finger
  • Stiffness in the affected finger
  • Lump or bump at the base of the finger close to the palm
  • Snapping or clicking noise during movement

    Apply an ice pack or heating pad to reduce the swelling.

  • Tenderness surrounding the base of the finger

If treatment is not given, trigger finger might progress. The progressive symptoms include a thumb or another finger or both being fixed in a flexed or straight manner.

There is also inability to curl the finger without using the other hand if the condition is in the advanced stage. The symptoms are usually worse in the morning and moves more easily as the day goes on.

Risk factors

Some individuals are prone to develop trigger finger than others. Women are more likely than men to develop the condition.

Other risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Ages 4060
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Tuberculosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Engaging in activities that strain the hand such as using tools or playing musical instruments.

Management of trigger finger

Home care

The commonly used home measures include:

  • Rest from any monotonous activities for 4-6 weeks
  • Use a splint or brace to limit movement and allow the hand to rest
  • Apply an ice pack or heating pad to reduce the swelling
  • Immerse the affected hand in warm water several times to promote relaxation of the muscles and tendons
  • Gently stretch the fingers to improve the range of motion


Medications can help reduce the inflammation. The commonly used anti-inflammatory medications include naproxen and ibuprofen as well as prescription anti-inflammatories and steroid injections.


If home treatments and medications fail to work, the doctor might suggest surgery. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. Once anesthesia is given, a small cut is created in the palm and the tight tendon sheath is cut.

While the tendon sheath heals, the area becomes lose to allow the finger to move easily.


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