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Trigger finger

What is trigger finger?

The tendons that bend your fingers run through a tunnel or sheath. Sometimes the tendon can develop a thickened part which catches on the edge of the tunnel as the tendon glides in and out. This can result in the tendon getting stuck in the tunnel and the finger ‘locks’ down into a bent position.

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What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

  • A finger locks down in one position and then when you bring up your finger, it clicks out of position.

  • It can happen in any of your fingers and occasionally in the thumb.

  • Sometimes when the triggering is quite bad the finger can stay down in one position, or if the triggering is in the thumb, the thumb doesn’t bend.

How is trigger finger diagnosed?

If you are showing an obvious triggering, you probably won’t require many tests.


Occasionally you may require an x-ray or ultrasound to see if there is any inflammation around the tendon, because rarely it can be due to some inflammatory conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

How is trigger finger treated?

  • Anti inflammatories

  • Massage, rest and avoiding activities that may cause it

  • Steroid injections can be an effective way to unlock the tightness of the trigger finger with the effects lasting for a few years. The success rate of an injection is around 60%.

  • Trigger finger release surgery

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