What are the Most Common Trigger Finger Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2019
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Among the most common trigger fingers symptoms is pain upon affected finger or thumb movement. Trigger finger symptoms also can present as a sore, inflexible or frozen finger, occurring most often after a prolonged rest of the hands. Frequently, a loud crackling noise with attempts to straighten the finger and tenderness of the finger, particularly at its base, are experienced.

When a finger or the thumb gets crooked or bent and cannot straighten without an audible popping sound, it is a condition known as stenosing tenosynovitis. Commonly referred to as trigger finger, this restriction of finger movement occurs when the finger tendon becomes inflamed and swollen. This can occur when the covering, called a sheath, tightens and restricts the free sliding of the tendon necessary for smooth finger bending and straightening.


Often a complication due to repetitive use strains or inflammatory responses, such as an injury or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, trigger finger symptoms occur most often in the dominant hand's middle finger or the thumb. Each time the finger seizes in a bent position, it can cause more irritation to the tendon and the surrounding area. Chronic locking of the finger joint can lead to tendon scarring and an overall reduction of flexibility. An abnormal finger appearance in the form of tendon thickening or a protrusion or bump in the joint area may be present. The continual pressure exerted on the tendon may even produce tissue damage by scrapping the surface and causing tiny scratches or splits.

Treatment for trigger finger symptoms usually focuses on relieving pain and restoring natural finger movement without the joint locking and the hitch-like motion with finger extension. Range of motion exercises, including the bending and straightening of the fingers in warm water, may help ease morning stiffness. Applying ice to the base of the finger and taking anti-inflammatory medication can help lessen the swelling and pain which may occur after excessive hand and finger use.

When trigger finger symptoms attack suddenly, stopping the aggravating finger movements and utilizing compression wrapping or a splint may ease discomfort. Symptoms that continue over time and impede normal activities may require medical treatment. Steroids, in the form of a cortisone shot, can help lessen pain and inflammation. Tension can be released through specific medical techniques such as a trigger finger release, a minimally invasive procedure where an inserted needle unhitches the locked tendon. In severe cases, surgery is necessary to fix and free the tightened tendon.


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Post 4

I just found out today I have trigger finger (ring finger). I also had a low-positive result for rheumatoid arthritis a couple of years ago (another doc told me about it today) and read that trigger finger can be caused by RA. It happens when I haven't moved it for a while, gripping my Kindle, etc. It's painful when it snaps back.

Post 3

Trigger finger symptoms can actually mimic arthritis a lot. I'm a guitar player and I started experiencing trigger finger symptoms a few months ago. I have arthritis in my family so I was sure that was it. It turned out to be trigger finger. My doctor gave me a few steroid injections and trigger finger exercises. I seem to be okay now.

Post 2
@donasmrs-- Yes, trigger finger usually happens when the fingers haven't been used for a while.

It happened to my father when he was using a manual wheelchair. He was straining his fingers in the process and started experiencing trigger finger at night and in the mornings when he was not using his wheelchair.

He ended up getting trigger finger surgery, which was actually very easy and he hasn't had it since.

Post 1

Does trigger finger usually happen after resting and sleeping?

I think I have trigger finger, although I haven't seen my doctor about it yet. My right thumb and sometimes my middle finger locks up particularly in the mornings. It snaps back but it's painful when that happens. It doesn't happen during the day though, just in the mornings or after I take a long nap.

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