Common Hand Problems: Trigger Finger - Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital

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Published on April 17, 2017

Common Hand Problems: Trigger Finger

By: Amin Afsari, DO

Have you ever woken up with a finger that sticks, or triggers? It is disconcerting when a finger suddenly doesn’t bend down and straighten normally. Although it seems serious, it is a common problem that is caused by tendonitis.

Each finger has two tendons (the thumb has one) that allow bending. Like the line on a fishing pole, the tendon runs through pulleys which hold the tendon close to the bones of the finger. When tendonitis develops, swelling occurs on its surface and the tendon gets stuck – or triggers – as it passes through the pulley.


The cause many times is unknown. We know it occurs commonly with carpal tunnel syndrome. We also see it more commonly in diabetics. Sometimes it occurs with activities that involve prolonged gripping and lifting. Regardless the cause, the treatment is the same.


Cortisone injection resolves approximately 60% of cases. If trigger finger recurs, a second injection is an option. The final option is surgery that involves opening a small portion of the tendon’s tunnel, relieving the triggering. This is a minor surgery that can be done under local anesthetic. The recovery typically lasts two to four weeks; however, as in any surgery there is soft tissue remodeling over the course of six to 12 months. Recurrence is rare.

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If you're suffering from hand or finger pain, turn to the experts at Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.