Trigger Finger

When you bend your fingers and then straighten them again, do some of them lag behind,  stay bent or cause sharp pain? Does your finger bend or straighten with a snap, similar to a trigger being pulled or released? You may have a condition known as Trigger Finger.

Within the hand there are muscles and tendons that allow for finger and thumb movement. These tendons are kept in place by sheaths, which the tendon runs through to allow for smooth movement. Trigger Finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that results when the tendons become inflamed or swollen and have difficulty passing through these sheaths. This impacts smooth tendon gliding causing the finger to snap, pop or ‘trigger’ when is passes through the sheath, leaving the finger in a bent position.

Prolonged irritation can cause scarring and thickening of the tendon which produces bumps or nodules impacting movement even more, therefore it is important that the condition is treated as soon as possible as it may cause the finger to become locked in a bent position. Trigger finger can occur in one or more fingers and thumb and can occur in both hands.

Symptoms of trigger finger include:

  • Painful clicking or triggering motion when trying to straighten your finger or thumb
  • Popping or clicking sounds as you move your finger or thumb
  • Soreness or a bump at the base of the finger or thumb
  • Stiffness in your finger and thumb, particularly in the mornings
  • Difficulties with grasping objects firmly
  • Having a finger locked in a bent position, unable to straighten without using the other hand.

Most common causes of trigger finger include:

  • Activities that involve repetitive use of the hand or repeated gripping movements.
  • Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
  • Recent carpal tunnel syndrome surgery
  • Gender: women are more at risk of developing condition that men

Therapists at Specialist On Hand can help support you to return to your regular activities by providing a treatment program just for you. Treatment options include:

  • Pain management
  • Anti-inflammatory management
  • Oedema/swelling management
  • Activity modification and ergonomic education
  • Soft tissue massage and myofascial release
  • Personalised finger/thumb splints to suit your needs
  • Neurostimulation using Inter-X machine.

If you have any of these symptoms or would like for our specialist therapists to have a look at your injury contact us! We can create personalised treatment programs that will assist you getting back to your regular activities that you enjoy doing the most.


Cooper, C. (2014). Elbow, wrist and hand tendinopathies. In C. Cooper (Ed.), Fundamentals of hand therapy: Clinical reasoning and treatment guidelines for common diagnosis of the upper extremity (2nd ed., pp. 383-393). Missouri, USA: Elsevier.

Picture 1: By Gregory I. Bain, n.d.

Copyright 2020 by Gregory I. Bain Hand and Upper Limb Surgeon

Picture 2: By Adelaide Plastic and Hand Surgery, 2020.

Copyright 2020 by Adelaide Plastic and Hand Surgery