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Trigger finger is a condition that affects the tendons in your fingers or thumb, and limits finger movement. When you try to straighten your finger, it will lock or catch before popping out straight.

In trigger finger, also known as “stenosing tenosynovitis,” one of your fingers or your thumb gets stuck in a bent position and then straightens with a snap — like a trigger being pulled and released. If trigger finger is severe, your finger may become locked in a bent position.

Often painful, trigger finger is caused by a narrowing of the sheath that surrounds the tendon in the affected finger. People whose work or hobbies require repetitive gripping actions are more susceptible.


The flexor tendon can become irritated as it slides through the tendon sheath tunnel. As it becomes more and more irritated, the tendon may thicken and nodules may form, making its passage through the tunnel more difficult.

The tendon sheath may also thicken, causing the opening of the tunnel to become smaller. If you have trigger finger, the tendon becomes momentarily stuck at the mouth of the tendon sheath tunnel when you try to straighten your finger. You might feel a pop as the tendon slips through the tight area and your finger will suddenly shoot straight out.

The thickened nodule on the flexor tendon strikes the sheath tunnel, making it difficult to straighten the finger. The cause of trigger finger is usually unknown. There are factors that put people at greater risk for developing it.

• Trigger fingers are more common in women than men.
• They occur most frequently in people who are between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age.
• Trigger fingers are more common in people with certain medical problems, such as diabetes and rheumaitod arthritis.
• Trigger fingers may occur after activities that strain the hand.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Rest and Splinting

If symptoms are very mild on scale of 0 (no complain) to 10 (severe), and your condition is around 2/10, resting the finger may be enough to resolve the problem. Your doctor or physiotherapist may recommend a splint to keep your finger in a neutral, resting position. If it doesn’t get better within 2 weeks, seek further professional advice.


Dorval Physiotherapy and Wellness can help you with laser therapy, ultrasound, soft tissue release, and exercises. You also may be a candidate for acupuncture treatment. For more information, please call us for a 15-minute free consultation.

Surgical Treatment

If your finger was quite stiff after surgery, physiotherapy and finger exercises will help loosen it up and the healing process.

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