Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and as well as a sensation of ‘locking or catching’ when you try to bend or straighten your finger.  The most common fingers affected are the ring, second (hence the name trigger finger) and the thumb.  The condition is due to inflammation of the sheath around the finger tendon and is also known as ‘stenosing tenosynovitis.’

Risk factors

People who have hobbies or work which require repetitive gripping movements of the fingers are more at risk.  The condition is also more common in women and in people with diabetes. 

Click 3D4Medical video on Trigger Finger

Symptoms & Signs

  • Finger stiffness especially in the mornings
  • Popping or clicking sensation when you move the finger
  • Lump or bump at the base of the affected finger
  • Finger locking or catching in a bent position but can suddenly straighten
  • Finger locked in a bent position and not able to straighten

Grades of Trigger Finger

Grade 1. Palm and tenderness at the A1 pulley ligament

Grade 2. Catching of the finger

Grade 3. Locking of the finger which can be passively straightened

Grade 4. Fixed and bent finger

Treatment Options depend on the severity of the condition

  • Oral Medication such as NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Nurofen can help relieve the inflammation and pain but does not cure the underlying problem
  • Rest and avoid repetitive gripping activities or using machines which vibrate such as jack hammers
  • Wear a finger splint to keep the finger extended to rest the tendon
  • Gentle stretching exercises to maintain mobility of the finger
  • Injection of steroid medication into the tendon sheath
  • Surgery (such as tenolysis) to provide relief to the restricted or scarred tendon sheath

Click to view NUH video of Home Exercises for Trigger Finger

Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

After surgery, you will have some discomfort and swelling around the finger.  You are advised to

  • Elevate the hand to rest the tendon and reduce the swelling
  • Take pain medication as provided by your doctor
  • Perform gentle stretching exercises to improve the mobility of the fingers to prevent adhesions

Click to view Dr Jean Paul Brutus video of Post-Op Exercises for Trigger Finger

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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