What is a Trigger Finger?

A Trigger finger is when your finger gets stuck in a bent position. It is also known as Stenosing Tenosynovitis.

What happens?

The tendon is a band of tissue that attaches the muscle to the bone. In the hand, tendons and muscles work together to bend and straighten the fingers. Usually the tendons slide easily through a tunnel of tissue called a sheath.

The sheath keeps the tendons in place beside the bones of the finger. A Trigger Finger means the tendon has become irritated and swollen and can no longer easily slide through it’s sheath. A bump (nodule) may also form on the tendon, which makes it even more difficult for the tendon to slide through it’s sheath. So the tendon gets stuck and also the finger.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness when bending the finger
  • A snapping or popping sensation when moving the finger
  • Swelling or tender lump in the palm of the hand
  • Locking of the finger in the bent position (in severe cases) and the finger must be gently straightened with the help of the other hand
  • Inability to fully bend the finger
  • The stiffness and bent position of the finger is worse in the morning and lessens as the finger is used

Treatment includes Physiotherapy:

Resting the finger by using a splint made by a physiotherapist, to limit activities. 

Medications like anti-inflammatories and sometimes a steroid injection.

Surgery may be needed if this does not help. A cut is made in the sheath through which the tendons pass. This is done under local anaesthetic. Cutting the sheath widens the space around the tendon and lets it move freely again.    

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