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Trigger Finger: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a common and sometimes painful condition that affects the fingers or thumbs. It can make simple activities like grasping objects or bending your fingers difficult. In this article, we will explore what trigger finger is, its causes, symptoms, and available treatments.

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger occurs when one of your fingers or thumbs becomes stuck in a bent position and then suddenly straightens out with a snapping or popping sensation. This condition is caused by the inflammation of the tendons in your hand. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When these tendons become inflamed or irritated, it can lead to the development of trigger finger.

Causes of Trigger Finger

The exact cause of stenosing tenosynovitis is not always clear, but several factors may contribute to its development:

  1. Repetitive Movements: Activities that involve repetitive gripping or grasping motions, such as using hand tools or playing certain musical instruments, can increase the risk of trigger finger.
  2. Medical Conditions: It is more common in individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
  3. Age and Gender: It is more prevalent in women and tends to occur most frequently in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60.
  4. Hand Anatomy: Some people may have a hand anatomy that makes them more susceptible to developing trigger finger.

Symptoms of Trigger Finger

The most common symptoms of trigger finger include:

  1. Finger Stiffness: You may notice stiffness in one or more fingers, particularly in the morning.
  2. Popping Sensation: When you try to straighten the affected finger, it may snap or pop.
  3. Finger Locking: The finger may lock in a bent position and then suddenly release, causing a clicking sensation.
  4. Tenderness and Swelling: The base of the affected finger may feel tender, and you may notice some swelling.
  5. Pain and Discomfort: In some cases, stenosing tenosynovitis can be painful, especially when you try to move the affected finger.


If you experience symptoms of trigger finger, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider. They will typically diagnose it based on a physical examination of your hand and by discussing your symptoms and medical history. In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays may be ordered to rule out other conditions.

Treatment Options

Treatment for stenosing tenosynovitis depends on the severity of your symptoms. Here are some common approaches:

  1. Rest and Activity Modification: Your healthcare provider may recommend resting the affected hand and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition.
  2. Splinting: Wearing a splint to immobilize the affected finger can help alleviate symptoms and promote healing.
  3. Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
  4. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can teach you exercises to improve the range of motion in your finger and reduce stiffness.
  5. Corticosteroid Injections: In more severe cases, your healthcare provider may inject a corticosteroid medication into the affected tendon to reduce inflammation.
  6. Surgery: If conservative treatments are not effective surgery may be recommended to release the affected tendon.


Trigger finger is a common hand condition that can cause discomfort and limit your hand’s functionality. While it can be bothersome, many individuals find relief through conservative treatments like splinting, medication and physical therapy. If you suspect you have stenosing tenosynovitis, it’s essential to seek medical advice to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. With proper care and treatment most people can successfully manage this condition and regain normal hand function.

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