Trigger Finger

What is Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger
is the term used to describe the injury suffered to the finger when it gets stuck in a bent or trigger position before all of a sudden releasing very quickly and painfully. Trigger finger is common in sports where you are overusing the fingers with a constant grip such as in tennis or boxing.  In most cases the finger or fingers will get back to normal on its own but there are cases where a brace or splint may be required.  If the finger does not release back to its normal position, a minor surgery known as a trigger finger release may need to be performed.

Medical Definition of Trigger Finger
The flexor tendons of the fingers glide back and forth under four annular and three cruciform pulleys that keep the tendons from bowstringing.  The first annular pulley may become thickened and stenotic from chronic inflammation and irritation.  As a result, motion of the tendon is limited and the finger may snap or lock during flexion of the finger or thumb.  The long and ring fingers are most often affected.  Trigger finger is often times associated with rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.  A higher prevalence of trigger finger is observed in patients with carpal tunnel.

- Locked Finger

What are the symptoms of Trigger Finger?
- Pain in the finger
- Swelling and stiffness in the morning, especially in the morning
- Finger catches when flexing and may be described as going out of joint
- Wake up with finger locked in the palm; gradually unlocks throughout the day

Related Injuries
- Finger Fracture
Jammed Finger
Mallet Finger

Treatment of Trigger Finger
- Proper usage of NSAIDS to help alleviate any pain.
Corticosteroid injections into the tendon sheath may alleviate more severe pain.
- After 2 injections if the problem is unresolved, surgery may be necessary.


- Trigger Finger Release

Related Anatomy
- Hand


- Tennis

Greene W.B. (Ed). (2001). Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care.Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (282-284)