Trigger Finger

Trigger finger occurs when the flexor tendon becomes irritated and begins to thicken, eventually creating nodules making it difficult for the joint to bend and straighten. When the tendon is lengthening, it becomes momentarily stuck then quickly pops out into extension.

Causes and risk factors

  • Trigger finger is most common in women
  • Diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis
  • When the joint or full hand becomes strained


  • Swelling
  • Tender lump in the hand
  • Popping and catching in the finger joints
  • Pain when extending or bending the finger
  • Stiffness in the fingers after prolonged inactivity, like sleeping

Diagnosis and treatment

If symptoms are mild and generally pain free, your doctor may suggest resting the finger and/or placing it in a custom splint. If minimal pain or discomfort is involved, over-the-counter pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines or acetaminophen can be used. Your physician may also recommend to inject the area with corticosteroid.

If pain does not subside, surgery could be suggested by your orthopedic surgeon. If surgery is necessary, some patients may be eligible to utilize wide-awake local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia.


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