Trigger finger is a very common condition. It starts with pain in the palm of the hand when flexing or extending the finger.The condition is diagnosed when the finger is straightened and becomes stuck, blocking the joint.

The finger is generally more painful in the morning. In the later stages of the condition, the finger often needs to be straightened using another finger, which can be very painful. The affected finger may become completely locked in a bent position.


In order to fully understand the causes of Trigger finger, the anatomy of the finger and hand tendons must be examined. These tendons are the continuation of those in the forearm. They go through the palm and end at tip of the fingers. When fingers are flexed, they are not moved but pulled against the phalanxes by flexion pulleys.

This tendon pulley system is very precise and a small thickening of any tendon, even locally, can produce a blockage.

For reasons unknown, the tendons thicken locally in this pathology and often cannot be pulled towards the palm of the hand.


trigger-fingertrigger-finger3 Not the flexed position of the finger.    It could not be straightened.

The cause of tendon thickening is mostly unknown. It appears to be linked sometimes to repetitive hand movements, but there is no proof of this.

A vicious circle is created by chronic inflammation – the tendon friction aggravates the inflammation, which increases the thickening of the tendon. This in turn increases tendon friction.

Potential Sufferers

Anyone can be affected by this condition, even babies, but middle-aged women are the most affected. Diabetes is a risk factor.



If other therapies are not efficient or possible, a surgical procedure should be used.. Generally, this is carried out under local anaesthesia, and hospitalization is unnecessary. The surgery expands the palm pulley, so that the tendon can pass though more easily. After surgery, no splint or rehabilitation is needed, a simple swab is worn for a few days. The finger can move after surgery, but it should not be forced for a period of three weeks. A full recovery takes about three weeks.