trigger finger

Trigger finger is a condition where one of your fingers or your thumb catches in a bent position. Your finger may straighten with a snap. The snap is similar to a trigger being pulled and released. In severe cases of trigger finger, your finger may become locked in a bent position.

Trigger finger most often affects your middle or ring finger or your thumb. If it affects the thumb, it is called trigger thumb. More than one finger may be affected. Triggering is usually more pronounced in the morning, while firmly grasping an object or when straightening your finger.

Trigger finger is also called stenosing tenosynovitis and trigger thumb.

Causes

Trigger finger is caused by a narrowing of the sheath that surrounds the tendon in the affected finger. Trigger finger is usually associated with activities that involve repetitive gripping actions or repetitive usage of the fingers.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of trigger finger are:

  • Stiff finger
  • Clicking, popping  sound when you move your finger
  • Bump or tenderness in your palm, at the base of the finger
  • Swelling
  • A tender lump at the base of the finger on the palm side of the hand
  • Locking sensation with finger movement
  • Pain when you bend or straighten the finger

Treatment options

Treatment of trigger finger varies and depends on on the severity of the condition. Some common treatments are rest, wearing a finger brace, physical therapy, medication, and surgery. Physical therapy will usually involve muscle strengthening exercises, splinting, massage, soaking in warm water, and paraffin wax wraps. A paraffin wax treatment is a type of heat therapy, that increases blood flow, relaxes muscles and reduces stiffness in joints. Massage treatments involve circulating the blood flow around the finger to help ease inflammation. Finger braces are designed to prevent locking of the finger and provide relief from clicking and snapping in the finger.