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Trigger Finger


Trigger finger is a condition when one of your finger catches in a bent position. Your finger may straighten with a snap. The snap is similar to a trigger being pulled and released. In severe cases of trigger finger, your finger may become locked in a bent position.

It commonly affects the thumb, middle and ring finger. Triggering is usually more pronounced in the morning, while firmly grasping an object or when straightening your finger.


Trigger finger is caused by narrowing of the sheath surrounding the tendon. It is usually associated with repetitive gripping actions or repetitive usage of the fingers.

Trigger fingers are more common in women than men. They occur most frequently in people who are between the ages of 40 to 60 years. Trigger fingers are more common in people with certain medical problems such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs and symptoms

  • stiff finger especially in early morning
  • small lump over the palm on the affected fingers
  • locking or unable to straighten the fingers
  • clicking sound when you move your fingers


Treatment of trigger finger will depend on the severity of symptoms. In the early phase, physiotherapy (strengthening exercise, soaking in warm water, splinting, massage) is the recommended treatment.

Trigger finger isn’t a dangerous condition, so the decision whether to proceed with surgery is a personal one based on the severity of your symptoms, usually in later stage. If the finger is stuck in a bent position, surgery may be recommended to prevent permanent stiffness. Surgery widens the opening of the tunnel so the tendon can slide through more easily. This is usually done through a small incision in the palm as an outpatient surgery.


Take a break in between activities that require repetitive motion of the fingers (computer, sewing or writing)


Campbell Operative orthopaedics

Last Reviewed : 25 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Izan Ibrahim
Reviewer : Dr. Heselynn Hussein