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Trigger Finger

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

What is it?

Thickening of the tissues or tendon in the finger meaning the tendon cannot glide smoothly when you use your hand. It can also occur in the thumb which is called trigger thumb and is most common in the ring finger and thumb. You are more likely to develop trigger finger if you are female, aged 50-60, have diabetes or an autoimmune condition. However it can also occur in children.

What are the symptoms?

Pain on the palm side of the hand, a feeling of clicking, catching or locking in one or more fingers. Stiffness in the hand or a small lump can sometimes be felt. Symptoms can come on gradually over time or suddenly after a trauma.

What causes Trigger finger?

Repetitive actions of the hand or trauma to the hand. Activities such as using secateurs, golf, scissors and forceful pulling are examples of activities which can cause trigger finger .

How is it diagnosed?

A hand therapist or physiotherapist can diagnose trigger finger by completing assessments that analyse your hand movement and feeling for any changes in your hand/ thickening of the tendon. An ultrasound scan can help confirm the diagnosis. A physiotherapist can refer you for a scan or can request a referral be completed by your local doctor.

What is the treatment?

Treatment involves splinting the finger from 8- 12 weeks to prevent the finger locking or catching, as well massage and exercises and potential modification to an activity that contributed to the symptom onset. In certain cases a corticosteroid injection or surgery may be needed.

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