Trigger Finger

Trigger finger, otherwise known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition of the hand in which the finger gets stuck in a bent position – this is called triggering. This condition is charactarized by pain, stiffness, and a sensation of locking when attempting to bend and straighten the finger.

What are the causes of trigger finger?

The flexor tendons connect the muscles of the forearm to the bones of the fingers. The flexor tendons allow the fingers to bend. Each of these long structures goes through a tunnel in the palm and fingers, allowing the finger to bed and straighten. This tunnel is called the "tendon sheath".

Trigger finger commonly occurs when the tendon that bends or flexes the finger gets stuck in the pulley-system at the base of the finger due to inflammation narrowing the tendon sheath, preventing the finger from straightening out. It can involve a single digit or more than one finger at the same time and is frequently associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and those with medical conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

How is trigger finger treated?

Without treatment, trigger finger may cause the finger to lock in a bent position. For mild to moderate trigger fingers, non-surgical treatment may involve a cortisone injection into the hand, medication and hand therapy. In some cases, this may be curative, but a surgical release may be necessary for persistent or more severe triggers.

Surgical treatment of trigger finger is known as a "tenolysis" or trigger finger release surgery. In cases where surgery is advised, your hand surgeon will be surgically releasing the pulley that is blocking the flexor tendon from gliding through the tendon sheath, causing it to get stuck. Using local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia, this surgery is done on an outpatient basis through a very small incision into the palm of the hand.