Trigger Finger/ Thumb Release

What is it?

It is a condition which happens as a result of a localised restriction to straightening a finger. This is caused by a thickening of the tendon and there is a mismatch between the size of the tendon and its sheath making it difficult for the tendon to pass through a pulley in the palm of the hand.

 What symptoms does it cause?

Usually bending the finger is normal but beyond a certain range of movement, the sufferer has difficulty straightening the bent finger. This often straightens suddenly and a ‘click’ may be felt. There may be some pain and sometimes a little lump can be felt at the point of obstruction. The digits most commonly affected are the ring and middle fingers and sometimes the thumb.

 What are the causes?

The cause is usually unknown in adults. Sometimes it may be associated with certain medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.


This may consist of simply keeping the finger straight with a splint and the use of oral anti-inflammatory drugs. The recurrence rate is high.

 A steroid injected into the tendon sheath is usually successful for early disease with minimal functional impairment.

 If triggering is severe and/or injection has failed, surgical release gives the best long term relief.

 You will be seen and assessed and if you are offered an operation, the following information may be useful.

 If you are on Warfarin, Clopidogrel or dipyridamole (persantin) please inform the surgery at assessment.

Below is our Trigger finger & thumb leaflet:

Trigger Finger & Thumb Patient Information Leaflet