Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that can cause one or more of your fingers to become stuck in a bent or straight position.
It usually affects the thumb or ring finger but can happen to any finger. When you try to move the affected finger, you may feel stiffness, pain, or a popping sensation. This can make simple tasks or everyday activities difficult, such as grasping an object, typing on a keyboard, or even just holding a cup of coffee.
What causes trigger finger?
Tendons are protected by connective tissues known as a tendon sheath. Repetitive and forceful use of your fingers can sometimes cause inflammation of the tendon sheath, causing the tendon to get stuck or caught when it tries to move through the sheath. This results in your finger becoming locked in a bent or straight position, also known as trigger finger.
In some cases, the repetitive motion of the finger moving back and forth can cause a growth or nodule to form on the tendon. This exacerbates the trigger finger, making it more difficult to move.
What are the symptoms of trigger finger?
Trigger finger causes the following symptoms in the affected finger:
Pain or discomfort during movement
Bump or lump at the base
Instability during movement
Locked in a bent or straight position
Tenderness or swelling at the base
Feeling heat or warmth
In addition to these symptoms, trigger finger can also result in difficulty performing daily activities.
If you notice any of the symptoms, make an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Puah KL is our Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Artisan Sports & Orthopaedic Surgery. He used to serve the sports service of Singapore General Hospital - the highest volume trauma centre for orthopaedics in Singapore.
Trigger finger can be painful as it is a condition that affects the tendons in your fingers or thumb. This can cause them to become inflamed and make it difficult to move any fingers that are affected. When you have trigger finger, you may experience pain, stiffness, and a popping or clicking sensation if you try to bend or straighten the affected finger.
If you have a severe case of trigger finger, you may even experience your finger(s) locked in a bent or straight position, which can cause pain or discomfort.
Who is at risk of trigger finger in Singapore?
Trigger finger can affect anyone in Singapore, but certain factors may increase your risk of developing this condition.
These risk factors are:
Age: individuals over the age of 40 are more likely to develop this condition.
Gender: women are more prone to trigger finger than men.
Certain activities: you may be at a higher risk of developing trigger finger if you engage in activities that require repetitive gripping or grasping motions, these include playing a musical instrument, typing on a computer or using hand tools.
Certain medical conditions: medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or carpal tunnel syndrome are also factors that can increase your risk of developing trigger finger.
How is trigger finger diagnosed?
Diagnosis of a trigger finger involves the following:
Physical examination: your affected finger will be examined and you will also be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked to perform certain movements with your fingers and/or thumb to see if you experience any pain or difficulty moving.
Trigger test: a trigger test involves pressing on the base of the affected finger while you try to flex it. If you have trigger finger, you may also experience a popping or clicking sensation and/or your finger may become locked in a bent or straight position.