What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is also called as stenosing tenosynovitis. It is a condition when your flexor tendon is inflamed and swollen, which narrows the space in the flexor tendon sheath, resulting in the “Trigger Sign” (clicking, locking or snapping) when bending and extending the affected finger.

In severe trigger finger, it is common to find a bump (nodule) at the base of the affected finger, also having excruciating pain when moving the finger.


Signs and symptoms of trigger finger may progress from mild to severe and include:

  • Finger stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • A popping or clicking sensation as you move your finger
  • Tenderness or a bump (nodule) in the palm at the base of the affected finger
  • Finger catching or locking in a bent position, which suddenly pops straight
  • Finger locked in a bent position, which you are unable to straighten

Trigger finger can affect any finger, including the thumb. More than one finger may be affected at a time, and both hands might be involved. Triggering is usually more pronounced in the morning, while firmly grasping an object or when straightening your finger.


Tendons are fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. Each tendon is surrounded by a protective sheath. Trigger finger occurs when the affected finger’s tendon sheath becomes irritated and inflammed. This interferes with the normal gliding motion of the tendon through the sheath.

Prolonged irritation of the tendon sheath can produce scarring, thickening and the formation of the bumps (nodules) in the tendon that impede the tendon’s motion even more.

Risk Factors

  • Repeated gripping (especially hook grip)
  • Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Women has higher risk than men
  • High risk occupations such as pianist, homemaker, seamstress and secretary

Article by Chen Yan Xing

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