Trigger Finger

Texas Hill Country Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Orthopedic Surgeons & Hand and Upper Extremity located in Fredericksburg, TX & Boerne, TX

Up to 3% of all Americans currently have trigger finger, in which a finger or thumb locks in a bent position. At Texas Hill Country Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, the experienced team of orthopedic surgeons knows how aggravating and painful trigger finger can be. They use a variety of medical techniques to reestablish normal finger function and end the pain. There are two offices in Fredericksburg and Boerne, Texas, so call the one nearest you or book an appointment online.

Trigger Finger Q & A

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger occurs when it's difficult or impossible to comfortably bend or straighten one of your fingers. Sometimes, with trigger finger, you can hear a crack as you bend or straighten the affected finger, similar to a trigger. 

Trigger finger usually occurs in your dominant hand, and it's most common in the thumb — where it's sometimes called trigger thumb — and in the ring finger. But it can occur in any digit. 

What causes trigger finger?

Trigger finger develops when the long tendons in your arm and hand — the flexor tendons — start catching when you move your fingers. Every flexor tendon moves through a tendon sheath, a slim tunnel. Throughout the tendon sheath, thickened areas — the pulleys — maintain tendon position and smooth movement. 

With trigger finger, a pulley grows inflamed and thickens too much. This inhibits smooth movement and can make bending or flexing the finger painful. Left untreated, you may eventually develop a flexor tendon nodule, a bump on the flexor tendon that causes even worse symptoms.

You're more likely to develop trigger finger if you're female, have arthritis, have diabetes, have carpal tunnel syndrome, or repetitively make gripping motions in your occupation.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

The most common symptom of trigger finger is a finger that's difficult to bend or straighten, or a finger that's stuck in a bent position. A stuck finger may suddenly straighten, with a pop or crack. Most people experience additional issues, including:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Bump (nodule) in your palm, at the bottom of your finger

 

It's common to have the most severe symptoms after long periods of hand rest, so you may have particularly difficult symptoms early in the morning. 

How is trigger finger treated?

The doctor prescribes conservative care, such as anti-inflammatory medication, a hand splint, physical therapy exercises, and possibly steroid injections. 

If you have a serious case of trigger finger, like a permanently locked finger, you can have trigger finger surgery to create more room for the flexor tendon to move. 

If you need help with trigger finger, don't wait for your finger to lock up permanently to get help. Call Texas Hill Country Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, or click the online scheduling link.