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 trigger finger symptoms seem serious, it is a common problem that is caused by finger 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.

Trigger Finger Causes

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 of the cause, the trigger finger treatment is the same.

Trigger Finger Surgery

Cortisone injection resolves approximately 60 percent of cases. If trigger finger recurs, a second injection is an option. The final option is surgery, which 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 with any surgery, the soft tissue requires six to 12 months to fully recover. A recurrence of trigger finger after surgery is rare.

More Information

If you’re suffering from hand or finger pain, contact your MOSH Hand Care Team. They are specialists in the orthopedic structure of the hand and experts on treating trigger finger.