Trigger Finger & Trigger Thumb

What is Trigger Finger and Trigger Thumb

Trigger finger or trigger thumb occurs when fingers or thumb become stuck in a bent position, resembling squeezing a trigger. Individuals with this condition may experience stiffness when bending their fingers or hear snapping or popping noises during finger movement. Trigger finger affects approximately 2 out of 100 individuals and is more prevalent among women aged 40 and older, particularly those with diabetic conditions.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of Trigger Finger are characterised by a range of physical manifestations that vary in intensity and frequency.

  • Pain and Stiffness: Individuals may experience discomfort and rigidity in the affected finger or thumb.
  • Swelling: The affected digit may exhibit signs of inflammation and swelling, contributing to discomfort.
  • Finger Pops: Some individuals may notice audible popping or snapping sensations when moving the affected finger or thumb.
  • Inability to Grip Objects or Close the Hand Fully: The condition may impede the ability to grasp objects or fully close the hand, affecting daily activities and dexterity.

Causes and Risk Factors

The development of Trigger Finger is attributed to a combination of factors that affect the tendons and their sheaths in the fingers and thumb. 

Repetitive Strain

Repetitive and prolonged use of the fingers and thumb, involving gripping, grasping, or repetitive movements, can result in irritation and swelling of the tendon sheath. This is frequently observed in individuals involved in tasks demanding manual dexterity or forceful hand use.


Occupations or hobbies requiring repetitive hand movements and prolonged gripping pose an increased risk. Musicians, industrial workers, and individuals using hand-held machinery, such as cooks or cleaners, are especially prone to this condition.

Health Conditions

Certain systemic health issues, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or gout, are strongly associated with an increased risk of Trigger Finger or Thumb. These conditions can cause systemic inflammation and changes in the connective tissue, thereby predisposing individuals to tendon-related problems.

Age and Gender
The prevalence of Trigger Finger increases with age, particularly in individuals over 40 years. Women are more likely to develop this condition than men, though the reasons for this are not fully understood.

Direct injury to the finger or thumb can precipitate the development of Trigger Finger or Thumb, especially if the injury affects the tendon or its sheath.


Our Doctors will conduct a thorough diagnosis of your Trigger Finger. This includes a comprehensive physical examination, detailed discussions about your symptoms, and a review of your medical history. The severity of your Trigger Finger will be categorised into four different grades based on the evaluation of your finger mobility and function.

Treatment Modalities

Pain Medication

This involves the use of medications such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, and other specialised medications designed for pain management. The type and dosage are tailored to the individual’s condition and medical history.


Minimally invasive treatments aim to effectively relieve common pain conditions by targeting pain sources.

  • Coreflex Injections: Typically contain a corticosteroid and are used for inflamed joints or tissues.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections: Utilise own platelets to promote healing in damaged tissues.
  • Intra-Articular Injections: Most commonly used to treat osteoarthritis in the hip or knee, but they can also be given in other joints, including shoulders, wrists, ankles, hands, and fingers.

For chronic pain conditions originating from spinal issues, Neurospan can be performed by our team of pain specialists from Singapore Paincare Center.

Are Your Symptoms Affecting Your Quality Of Life?

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Prevention Strategies

Taking a break is the most beneficial action you can take. It’s likely that you’ve been exerting too much strain on your finger(s), and it’s essential to allow your body some time to recuperate. You may also consider wearing a splint at bedtime to ensure your fingers have the opportunity to recover.

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What Causes Trigger Finger?

    Trigger Finger is primarily caused by inflammation and narrowing of the tendon sheath, leading to impaired movement of the tendon. This can be due to repetitive motions, gripping activities, or health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

    Who is at Risk of Developing Trigger Finger?

    Individuals over 40, women, and those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or gout are at a higher risk. Occupations or hobbies that involve repetitive hand use also increase the risk.

    How is Trigger Finger Diagnosed?

    Diagnosis is primarily clinical, based on medical history and physical examination. The presence of a clicking sensation or locking of the finger during flexion and extension is a key indicator.

    What Are the Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Trigger Finger?

    Non-surgical treatments include rest, activity modification, splinting, NSAIDs, steroid injections, and physical therapy. These options aim to reduce inflammation and improve finger movement.

    When is Surgery Recommended for Trigger Finger?

    Surgery is considered when symptoms are severe or do not respond to non-surgical treatments. It involves releasing the constricted section of the tendon sheath to allow better tendon movement.

    Can Trigger Finger Be Prevented?

    While not all cases are preventable, reducing repetitive strain on the fingers, using ergonomic tools, and managing underlying health conditions can reduce the risk. Early treatment of symptoms can also prevent worsening.