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Trigger finger is when the finger or thumb catches or locks when it bends towards the palm due to the tendon getting stuck. Pain and discomfort, stiffness and clicking are all typical symptoms of trigger finger. People suffering from the condition usually develop small bumps at the base of the affected finger or thumb.
The exact cause of trigger finger is unknown, although women and people aged over 40 are more likely to develop the condition. People with certain medical conditions are also more susceptible to trigger finger, for example if you suffer from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or gout.
Non-surgical treatment may involve injections, medication or splinting, which is when the affected finger is strapped to a splint in order to relieve the symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you may be offered surgery. The two main procedures are open surgery or percutaneous surgery. During open surgery, the doctor will make an incision into the palm in order to reach the tendon. He or she will then cut the ligament in the area where the tendon is catching, which will release the tendon. In percutaneous surgery, a needle is inserted into the skin and the ligament is cut. This process does not involve any incisions and so you will not have any scarring following the procedure.
A typical procedure takes approximately twenty minutes. The majority of procedures are carried out with the patient under local anaesthetic.
After the surgery you should be able to move your finger immediately and full movement will return within a fortnight. You may experience some pain or tenderness in the finger.
The dressings can be removed after a few days.
This page is intended for informational purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.