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Trigger finger

Tendons are tissues that control the movement of fingers. They are covered by a sheath which keeps them in place. The tendon can become irritated as it slides up and down the sheath. This irritation can cause nodules to form on the tendon making it difficult to pass through the sheath. The sheath can also become irritated and inflamed causing movement to be obstructed. The tendon can catch on the sheath and suddenly release causing the finger to straighten in a trigger like motion.


  • More common in women aged between 40-60
  • People with medical problems such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to be affected
  • More commonly occur after activities that strain the hand.


Symptoms can start without any trauma to the hand. They may include:

  • Pain when moving finger
  • A tender lump in your hand
  • Swelling of affected finger
  • Finger stiffness in the morning
  • A locking of finger with delayed release


Your surgeon will:

  • Take a complete medical history
  • Perform a physical exam where he will check for motion, pain and look for evidence of locking
  • Request x-rays, bone scanning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as deemed necessary


Simple solutions include;

  • Activity modification and rest
  • Finger exercises
  • Periodic splinting
  • More serious cases may need;
  • Non steroid anti-inflammatory medication and injection of steroids near or into the tendon sheath to reduce inflammation
  • A Percutaneous Trigger Finger Release - This is performed under local anaesthetic where doctors use a needle to release the locked finger
  • Surgery - Depending on the severity of your symptoms you may decide this is necessary. The goal of surgery is to widen the space between the tendon and sheath. An injection is administered to numb the hand and a small incision is made in the palm allowing access to widen the space.