What is Trigger Finger?

Pain, stiffness, and a locking or popping sensation when you move your finger can indicate trigger finger. This condition can impact any one of the fingers, although the ring finger is the most common. If the thumb is affected by this condition, however, it’s referred to as trigger thumb. 

Trigger finger can cause frequent discomfort and may limit your day-to-day activities. Here, we’ll learn more about trigger finger, what causes it, and how you can achieve relief from its symptoms. 

Understanding Trigger Finger

In patients with trigger finger, one of the bands of tissue that attach the flexor tendon to the finger bone, called the A1 pulley, becomes inflamed. With time, the flexor tendon, which allows the bones of the finger to move, can also develop inflammation. A small nodule may form, and when the finger bends or straightens, the nodule will move through the pulley. This creates an uncomfortable sensation of locking or popping. 

What Causes Trigger Finger?

There are a few key risk factors for trigger finger:

  • Forceful, repetitive motions involving the fingers (i.e. frequent gripping or grasping)
    • These motions are most often seen in people with professions involving the fingers, such as construction workers, farmers, and musicians
  • Certain medical conditions, including:
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Diabetes
    • Gout

How is Trigger Finger Treated?

For mild cases of trigger finger, at-home care can often offer relief from pain and discomfort. Resting the finger(s), avoiding activities that worsen your symptoms, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may help manage your case of trigger finger. 

More severe cases that don’t respond to rest may require a surgical procedure called trigger finger release. During this procedure, the surgeon creates additional space in the hand for the tendon to slide. This eliminates the catching or popping sensation that occurs when the finger is bent or straightened. This simple, in-office procedure is performed under local anesthesia and has helped countless patients achieve relief from symptoms of trigger finger. 

If you’re experiencing trigger finger symptoms, contact Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine to learn how our expert team can help you today!