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What is Trigger Finger?

Does your finger get "stuck" in a bent position?

Or do you sometimes feel some sort of discomfort, right where your finger joins the palm of your hand? It might be pain, popping, a kind of a "catching" feeling, or just limited finger movement.

Trigger finger is a painful condition of the tendon and pulley system of the hand, and is medically known as stenosing tenosynovitis.

Triggering can cause a finger to catch or lock in either a bent or extended position. When a triggering finger is forcibly flexed or extended a “snap” is sometimes felt. This condition is best explained by understanding the anatomy of the hand.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

One of the first symptoms of trigger finger is often a soreness or discomfort at the base of the digit. A nodule may be felt in this area.

The most common symptom is pain and a clicking or grating sensation when the finger is bent and straightened.

In some cases, the affected finger locks in a flexed or extended position because the nodule becomes stuck at the edge of the pulley and cannot move through the tunnel.

Manipulation of the finger with the other hand may be the only method to fully flex or extend the digit. In some cases the joint is completely frozen or contracted.

woman looking at painful finger

What causes trigger finger?

The causes of trigger finger are unclear and usually occur as an isolated condition.

Some trigger fingers are associated with underlying medical conditions that cause changes in tissue such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and gout.

Trigger finger is more common in women than in men and tends to occur most frequently in people who are between 40 and 60 years of age.

It is common for patients to develop triggering in more than one finger, and episodes of heavily repetitive use can sometimes exacerbate symptoms.

How is trigger finger diagnosed?

Trigger finger is diagnosed by physical examination and a complete patient history.

The affected finger may be swollen and there may be nodule or bump felt in the palm of the hand.

Usually a palpable click can be felt as the nodule snaps under the first finger pulley.

The finger may also be locked in a flexed or extended position.

Additional testing such as X-rays, MRI or ultrasound is usually not necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Trigger finger symptoms & treatment

Treatment options with Advansor TFTM

The physician can perform the procedure in their office or outpatient setting with minimal soft tissue trauma, often requiring no stitches!

With our Advansor TFTM the surgeon can use a small amount of local anesthetic, and the entire trigger finger release procedure can be completed in less than 10 minutes!

Wouldn't you like a treatment as simple as this?

Normal Finger Movement


The tendons connect the muscles of the forearm with the bones of the fingers and thumb.

The tendons are held close against the bone of the fingers by a pulley system thereby increasing the mechanical advantage to finger movement.

The pulleys are a series of rings that form a tunnel through which the tendons glide.

The gliding is aided by a slick lining or coating called tenosynovium.

Trigger Finger Illustration

trigger-finger-illustration2Trigger finger occurs when: the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick and constricting around the tendon, making it difficult for the tendon to move through the pulley, or the tendon develops a nodule or swelling of its lining (tenosynovium).

This creates a discrepancy between the size of the tendon and the size of the entrance to the tendon sheath. An increased resistance to the gliding of the tendon through the pulley system often results in pain, popping or catching in the finger. When the tendon catches, it produces inflammation and swelling, leading to a vicious cycle of triggering, inflammation, and swelling. On occasion, this will lead to joint stiffness or contracture.