What is trigger finger?

Trigger Finger
Jump to

Trigger thumb and trigger finger in children: Overview

A trigger thumb is a thumb stuck in a bent position. It can also happen to a finger. It happens when the tendon that bends and straightens the thumb or finger can't slide smoothly under the ligaments that hold the tendon against the bones. In most cases, this is caused by a bump (nodule) that forms on the tendon. The cause of the bump isn't known. Some cases may be caused by inflammation or problems with how the muscle develops.

Your child's bent thumb or finger may straighten out on its own.

A trigger thumb or finger can be painful. But it normally isn't a serious problem. Rest and exercises may help the thumb or finger relax so that it can move freely.

The doctor may put a splint on your child's thumb or finger. This will give it some rest. Your child may need surgery if the thumb or finger keeps locking in a bent position.

Trigger finger and trigger thumb

Trigger finger and trigger thumb are conditions in which you find it hard to bend or straighten your finger or thumb. It can feel as if the finger or thumb is stuck or catches, snaps, or clicks when you try to move it.

You may also feel tenderness or a bump in the palm of the hand around the affected finger or thumb. The bump may seem to move as you bend or straighten the finger or thumb.

Trigger finger or trigger thumb can develop when the flexor tendon and its sheath thickens or swells. The flexor tendon helps a finger or thumb to bend; its sheath is the tunnel-like opening that the tendon normally glides through.

The exact cause of trigger finger and trigger thumb is not known. The conditions are more common in people who have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or a history of repeated injury to the area.

A doctor can usually diagnose the problem from a description of the symptoms and by examining the finger or thumb. X-rays or other tests are not usually needed.

Initial treatment for trigger finger or trigger thumb includes resting the affected hand, taking anti-inflammatory medicine, wearing a splint, and possibly taking a shot of cortisone. Surgery may be recommended if other treatments fail.

How can you care for your child's trigger thumb or trigger finger?

  • If the doctor put a splint on the thumb or finger, have your child wear it as directed. Don't take it off until the doctor says you can.
  • Give your child any medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with the medicine.
  • If your doctor suggests exercises, have your child do them as directed.

Trigger thumb and trigger finger in children: When to call

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child's thumb or finger locks in a bent position and won't straighten.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.