Hand Surgeon Mark E. Pruzansky, MD and Jason S. Pruzansky, MD can help you experience less pain and recover quicker from hand, wrist and elbow surgery through minimally invasive surgery techniques. Call our Concierge Services at 212-249-8700 to schedule your appointment.

What are Trigger Finger and Trigger Thumb?

Trigger Finger is a condition in which the flexor tendons of a finger or thumb become swollen (tenosynovitis) and get stuck in the tube-like sheath around them.  Normally, the flexor tendons easily fit through the sheath in each finger and pass back and forth without difficulty as the finger bends and straightens.  If the tendons become swollen, the sheath cannot accommodate them.  Consequently, as the tendons try to move in and out of the sheath they become stuck and then pop through, leading to triggering.

Symptoms of Trigger Finger and Thumb

Pain with moving the finger, tenderness in the palm, and triggering are classic symptoms of this condition.  Sometimes there may be triggering, but with minimal pain.  In severe cases, the tendons have become so swollen and the sheath so tight that the tendons cannot even pass all the way through, leading to limited range of motion of the finger without actually triggering.

Common Causes of Trigger Finger and Thumb

Trigger Finger most commonly occurs due to a genetic predisposition.  Other causes may include an injury as well as diseases like Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Diagnosing Trigger Finger and Thumb

Speaking with you to understand your symptoms and carefully examining your hand are central to making the diagnosis.  An x-ray of the hand will evaluate for other reasons to have pain and stiffness.

Treatment Options for Trigger Finger and Thumb

Initial treatment generally involves rest, anti-inflammatory medication, ergonomic training, and a cortisone injection.  Persistent cases that do not respond to steroid injections may benefit from surgery.  The procedure is minimally invasive and involves opening part of the sheath, so the flexor tendons have more room to move.


Trigger Finger and Thumb are common and can range from being a mild nuisance to causing great difficulty with use of your hand.  Call HandSport Surgery Institute at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and restore your finger’s motion.