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What is Trigger Finger?

Stenosing Flexor Tenosynovitis also known as trigger finger is a common pathology that affects approximately 2% of the general population. It occurs when the flexor tendon becomes inflamed and struggles to smoothly glide through the tendon sheath. 

Patients will often describe a snapping, catching or locking type sensation when bending and straightening the finger or thumb. It can be quite functionally limiting and often affects individuals on a daily basis while performing normal activities. The area of concern is most commonly found on the underside of the knuckle of the affected joint. 

Sometimes a palpable nodule in the palm is present and is often painful when pressure is applied.  

Physiotherapy in managing trigger finger and trigger thumb | action rehab hand therapy

Symptoms of Trigger Finger

Trigger finger, or Stenosing Flexor Tenosynovitis, can manifest in several noticeable ways. Being aware of these symptoms is crucial for early identification and timely intervention. Here are the common symptoms associated with trigger finger:

  • Pain: Pain is often a prominent symptom, with discomfort experienced around the affected joint.
  • Stiffness: Individuals with trigger finger may notice stiffness in the affected finger or thumb, making movements less fluid.
  • Catching: A sensation of catching or snapping within the joint when bending or straightening the finger is a telltale sign of trigger finger.
  • Locking of Joint: Trigger finger can lead to the joint locking in a bent position, causing temporary immobilization.
  • Finger Stuck in Bent Position: In severe cases, the finger may become stuck in a bent position, and returning it to a neutral, straight position can be challenging.

Recognizing these symptoms early on can facilitate prompt treatment and better outcomes for individuals dealing with trigger finger. In our upcoming sections, we’ll explore these symptoms in greater detail and discuss effective management strategies.


Exploring the Causes of Trigger Finger

Understanding the underlying causes of trigger finger, or Stenosing Flexor Tenosynovitis, can shed light on why this condition occurs. Here are some key factors contributing to trigger finger:

  • Repetitive Activities: Engaging in repetitive activities that require frequent gripping, such as playing a musical instrument or working with tools, can increase the risk of trigger finger. The repetitive motion places strain on the flexor tendon, potentially leading to inflammation and the development of this condition.
  • Higher Incidence in Middle-Aged Females: Interestingly, trigger finger tends to affect middle-aged females more frequently than other demographic groups. While the exact reasons for this higher incidence in this population segment are still being studied, hormonal and anatomical factors may play a role.
  • Imaging and Diagnosis: In most cases, a clinical examination by a healthcare professional is sufficient for diagnosing trigger finger. Imaging studies like X-rays or MRIs are typically not required. The diagnosis is primarily based on the patient’s medical history and the presentation of symptoms.


Trigger Finger Treatment Options

Conservative treatment options may include rest, finger immobilisation, task modifications, soft tissue massage, strengthening exercises, oral NSAID’s and CSI injections (if indicated). Surgery, involving release of the A1 pulley can be performed if conservative management has provided limited benefit. 

If you present with any other of the above symptoms and are concerned, please feel free to book a consultation with one of our friendly therapists who will be happy to assess you and provide an  individualised therapy plan.  

Physiotherapy in managing trigger finger and trigger thumb | action rehab hand therapy

Choosing Action Rehab for Your Trigger Finger Care

In the journey to manage trigger finger or trigger thumb, early recognition of symptoms and the right treatment approach are pivotal. At Action Rehab, we specialize in comprehensive hand therapy, including the management of conditions like trigger finger. Our hand therapists are here to guide you through tailored treatment plans.

Don’t let trigger finger limit your daily activities. If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms discussed in this article and have concerns, we encourage you to take the proactive step towards regaining comfort and mobility in your hands. Book a consultation with one of our friendly hand therapists and let us provide you with an individualized therapy plan to address your specific needs.

Your hands play a crucial role in your daily life; consider our hand therapists at Action Rehab. Contact us today to embark on your journey towards healthier, pain-free hands.


  • Ben cunningham

    Ben Cunningham is the Hand Therapist at the Melbourne Football Club and has over 20 years’ experience providing hand and upper limb therapy, including working in the United Kingdom at the Queen Victoria Hospital and as the senior clinician at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.