Trigger Finger

Trigger finger (‘Stenosing Tenosynovitis’) is a common condition affecting the fingers. The fingers may click or lock in a flexed position due to catching or irritation of tendons on the pulleys that hold the tendons in place. Swelling can develop in the tendon, which causes more irritation and further swelling. Ultimately, the swelling may get stuck in the pulley causing locking of the finger.

What are the causes?

There is often no clear cause but there may be a history of injury. Trigger finger is also associated with:

  • Diabetes
  • Repetitive work or activity
  • Inflammatory arthritis


Trigger finger presents as pain or clicking in the palm on bending of the fingers.


Trigger finger may be helped with rest, anti-inflammatory tablets and sometimes a splint. Otherwise, a steroid injection can relieve symptoms and sometimes ‘cure’ the condition.

If symptoms persist or recur, then surgery is usually recommended. This is usually performed in hospital as a day surgery under local anaesthetic. Surgery is by an incision in the palm. The pulley is visualised and divided, allowing the tendon to move freely. Occasionally, inflammatory tissue may need to be excised (synovectomy).


The finger can be moved immediately after surgery. The dressing is removed at the first appointment and usually recovery is complete within 2-3 weeks. No splints are required.

More Information on Trigger Finger

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Hand Trigger Finger