Trigger Finger/Thumb

Also known as: stenosing tenosynovitis.

What is trigger finger/thumb?

Trigger finger or trigger thumb is a common disorder in which a finger becomes locked in a flexed position and it catches or snaps when put into extension. While triggering of the fingers is common in adults, triggering of the thumbs is more common in infants and children.

What causes trigger finger/thumb? 

Trigger finger and trigger thumb is caused by a disparity in size of the flexor tendon and its surrounding sheath. When the tendon is enlarged, or the sheath is tight, the tendon cannot glide smoothly. It occurs by chance and it is not associated with hereditary or genetic disorders.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger/thumb? 

Along with difficulty or inability to straighten the finger, people with trigger finger/thumb may experience pain, swelling, a popping or catching sensation in the fingers or a lump in the palm.

What are trigger finger/thumb care options? 

In some cases, trigger finger/thumb may resolve spontaneously. A specialized splinting and stretching regimen under the supervision of a pediatric hand therapist can assist in resolution of these cases. In cases where the triggering does not resolve with conservative measure (therapy and splinting), surgery can be performed to release the bands that restrict the tendon from gliding normally.

Reviewed by: Aaron J Berger, MD

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:19:10 PM

Upcoming Events

Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) Family Conference

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital invites you to attend a conference designed to provide individuals with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) and their family’s up-to-date information about the possible aspects of BWS and their management. 

Learn more and register


Chad Perlyn, MD is a pediatric plastic surgeon and Co-Director of the operating room at Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

From the Newsdesk

Nicklaus Children’s Opens Subspecialty Care Center in Boynton Beach
11/07/2017 — The Boynton Beach Care Center is the newest Nicklaus Children’s care location and offers a range of services for children from birth through 21 years of age.
Harper's Success Story
08/31/2017 — When Harper was diagnosed with Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome shortly after birth, her family knew they wanted the best team possible for her tongue reduction surgery. Harper now leads a limitless life thanks to Dr. Chad Perlyn, an expert in treating macroglossia, and the Craniofacial Center at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.