Trigger finger

Trigger finger

If your thumb or finger gets stuck in a bent position, you probably have a condition called trigger finger. Although it’s most often associated with arthritis, trigger finger can also be caused by a hand accident or strain.

Your thumb or finger could become permanently bent if the condition is left untreated, which could make performing everyday tasks difficult. Our trigger finger Specialists in London are available in as little as 24 hours to help.

What is trigger finger?

The tendon in your fingers pulls on the finger bones enabling you to bend and flex your fingers. Trigger finger, otherwise known as stenosing tenosynovitis, occurs when the area around a tendon, the sheath, becomes inflamed and narrows the space. This causes one or more fingers to become bent because they are locked in one position. It’s a painful condition, even if the hand is in a resting position. When attempting to move the finger, you may experience stiffness or hear snapping or popping sounds.

Trigger finger is usually more of a nuisance than a serious condition. However, if the condition is not addressed, the affected finger or thumb may become permanently bent or, less usually, straightened.


Signs and symptoms of trigger finger

When you move your finger or thumb, you may experience pain, stiffness, or clicking. It may also become trapped in a bent position on occasion.

The following are signs and symptoms of trigger finger or trigger thumb:

  • snapping or popping feeling when moving the finger or thumb
  • soreness near the base of the finger or thumb in the palm of your hand, particularly when gripping or grasping
  • discomfort and stiffness when bending fingers or thumb
  • swollen or sensitive lump in your hand's palm
  • in severe cases, the bent position of the finger or thumb is locked, when this is not the case, the finger or thumb can be gently straightened with the other hand
  • failure to fully bend the finger or thumb
  • generally worse in the morning, improving throughout the day

Causes: how does trigger finger occur?

Trigger finger usually occurs when the tendon’s ability to slide through the sheath is hampered as a result of inflammation of the tendon or sheath. This results in the tendon becoming bunched up to form a lump called a nodule, stopping any movement of the effected finger and becoming bent as a result.

The cause of trigger finger or thumb is not fully understood, but it is more common in women than men, in people with a history of hand injuries such as sprains or fractures, in their 40s or 50s, and those whose jobs or hobbies include a lot of repetitive forceful movements with their fingers or thumbs.

Medical conditions such as diabetes, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), amyloidosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren's contracture and De Quervain's disease increase the likelihood of developing trigger finger.

How is trigger finger diagnosed?

Diagnosis does not necessitate extensive testing. It is based on your medical history and a physical examination by one of our Consultants, who will look for smoothness of motion and evidence of locking whilst opening and closing your hand.

Your Consultant will feel your palm to discover where the pain localised and if any swelling is present and if the swelling moves with the tendon that moves the finger.