Is your thumb or finger getting stuck in a bent position? You may be having a trigger thumb or trigger finger. It is called stenosing tenosynovitis medically. Like radial tenosynovitis, any person can get this ailment. Let us learn trigger thumb and trigger finger causes, how to spot its symptoms, and what Medica Stem Cells are offering for stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger finger/thumb) treatment in the UK and Ireland & India.

What is stenosing tenosynovitis?

Trigger finger usually affects the left or right ring finger, followed by your thumb, long finger, index finger and little fingers. In a healthy individual, pulleys hold the flexor tendons close to the finger bones. The flexor tendons are very long, and they extend from the forearm to the finger bones. These tendons pass through the flexor tendon sheath. This sheath will appear as a tunnel for the tendon. While bending the fingers, the tendons glide effortlessly through the pulley.

However, in the stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger finger), the pulley becomes very thick and create nodules. The tendon sheath will also narrow. Hence, the flexor tendon cannot glide easily with the aid of pulleys. It swells and evokes pain. You will moreover experience difficulty in bending and straightening your fingers.

If the above condition occurs in your thumb, it is called trigger thumb.


Stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger finger/thumb) occurs commonly with several chronic medical conditions like

  • Diabetes
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Tuberculosis
  • Renal disease

It may also be caused by strong and repetitive gripping or sudden trauma. However, the exact cause of stenosing tenosynovitis is still unknown in most cases.

  • Gender – Trigger finger is more common in females compared to males.
  • Age – People between the age group of 40-60 are more likely to have trigger finger
  • Activities – Activities like pruning, gardening, clipping and playing musical instruments cause trigger finger more often.
  • Trigger finger commonly affects farmers, musicians, as well as industrial workers.
  • People with carpal tunnel syndrome and de Quervain’s syndrome are at a higher risk of developing trigger finger.

If you have trigger thumb/ finger, you will have discomfort at the base of your thumb or finger where it joins the palm. This portion is quite sensitive to pressure. You will feel a lump at this spot.

Other symptoms include:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Restricted finger movement
  • Popping or catching sensation
  • Stiffness in the finger especially after waking up from sleep
  • Tenderness beneath your finger
  • Snapping or clicking noise with movement
  • Persistent soreness beneath the finger while grasping

If you don’t treat it, another finger may also get locked in the straight or bent position. You won’t be able to uncurl your injured finger. You can straighten it only with the help of another hand.

Usually, the trigger finger worsens in the morning when you wake up. After that, your finger will begin to relax and move freely as the day goes on.

Physicians, at first, tell you to open and close your fingers. They will then diagnose trigger finger with the following examinations:

  • History of snapping sensation
  • Tenderness
  • Finger in a bent position
  • Irregular nodule in the flexor tendon – although the nodule is invisible, you can still feel it in the palm.

However, the physicians don’t require imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, and ultrasound scan to diagnose trigger finger.

Trigger finger treatment aims at eliminating the above symptoms and to restore mobility to your finger/thumb.

Like radial tenosynovitis, trigger finger treatments usually include wearing splints, activity modification, administration of medications, and steroid injections. Also, application of ice may alleviate the swelling. Your physician may recommend massage, stretching exercises, and range of motion (ROM) exercises to restore function and relieve pain.

If these non-surgical based trigger finger treatments do not provide any considerable improvement in your symptoms, surgery will be the last resort. The surgeon will open the pulley beneath the finger, and by doing so, the tendon will be able to glide freely and restore your finger movement. Trigger finger/thumb surgery is a day-care procedure that is performed under local anaesthesia. You won’t need a hospital stay.

According to the 1997 research article published in the Journal of Hand Surgery, around 97 per cent of patients recovered completely from trigger finger. Similarly, the remaining 3 per cent had significant improvement in their symptoms. Surgery proves to be highly effective with lesser complications and low recurrence rates. There was no wound infection, nerve injury, ulnar deviation of the digits, and tendon bowstringing. Unlike conservative treatments, surgical intervention delivers rapid and definite relief from this ailment. *

However, usually, it takes a few weeks to several months for a complete recovery. Hence, your physician may recommend physical therapy after surgery to regain other functions like grasping, pulling and typing faster. You will have significant relief from post-surgical stiffness. Your physician will take away the sutures in 7-14 days. Moreover, you can get back to your everyday life within a few weeks.

Trigger finger does respond to treatment. But, don’t leave it untreated. Else, this condition may worsen and restrict your finger movements forever. In severe cases, the flexor tendon sheath may also burst. Hence, we recommend you to undergo proper and timely treatment for trigger thumb/finger treatment without surgery. Opt for an early diagnosis to undergo timely trigger finger/thumb treatment in the UK or Ireland.

Your first step to exploring your trigger thumb/finger treatment without surgery is scheduling a consultation with our Consultant. To do so call us from the UK on 020 8168 2000 or Ireland on 01 298 8000. Alternatively, book a consultation online or request a calll back today!


* Gregory A. Turowski, Peter D. Zdankiewicz, J. Grant Thomson, The results of surgical treatment of trigger finger, The Journal of Hand Surgery, Volume 22, Issue 1, 1997, Pages 145-149, ISSN 0363-5023.

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