Trigger Finger Causes & Treatments


In this video, Dr. Bennett explains the causes of trigger finger and then describes trigger finger treatments.

Summary of Dr. Bennett’s Trigger Finger Video

Hello. My name is Dr. J. Michael Bennett. I’m a member of the Fondren Orthopedic Group. I am a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who’s subspecialized in sports medicine and surgery of the shoulderelbow, and knee, as well some hand surgery.

Today, we’re going to talk about a very common pathology that we see in a lot of patients and that’s called the trigger finger or a locking finger.

Causes of Trigger Finger

Most patients will present with a severe pain with flexion of the finger where they cannot bend their finger due to pain or locking sensation at the base of the finger. It’s very common in patients that work a lot with their hands or it can be seen in patients that are diabetics.

Sometimes, it will be associated with some sort of trauma to the finger at the tendon itself. But often times, they’ll get a locking sensation in the finger followed by pain, and then they’ll usually feel a pop. If you palpate the base of the finger, sometimes, you’ll feel a nodule there and usually, that just means the tendon is swollen.

So each of these tendons is going through a number of tunnels in the finger that allow you to bend and extend the finger. They’re called pulleys, and when the tendon gets inflamed, it has to squeeze through that pulley. This is a very crude picture here of a hand, and it’s just showing you one of the pulleys here that’s involved. This is actually the A1 pulley. It’s called the A1 pulley.

And so what happens is that you have an inflamed area of the tendon that creates a nodule. And that nodule, if a tendon get swollen, it has to slide in and out of that little pulley. As that tendon gets crammed through that pulley, it gets locked and it gets stuck, and it can become painful.

Trigger Finger Treatments

Sometimes, we can treat this with anti-inflammatories and it can go away in very mild cases. Sometimes, the doctor may even inject a little bit of steroid right along this tendon sheath here to see if that’ll help decrease the size of the tendon, help with the inflammation, and allow the tendon to glide a little bit easier.

But if you continue to have locking or triggering, the third option is actually going in there and doing a release, where you do make a little incision in the region at the palm here, and you release that pulley. You actually make a cut there. When you release the pulley, it opens up this sheath here. That sheath gets opened up, and it allows the tendon to glide back and forth without getting caught up into that pulley.

It’s important that if you do decide to try an injection that you do not get multiple back to back injections. You want to give yourself plenty of time before you a get a second injection because steroid injections aren’t necessarily good multiple times back-to-back. You usually want to give yourself at least a few months before you get a repeat injection because it can be associated with tendon ruptures. However, that should be discussed between you and your doctor. This is a very successful procedure in regards to taking care of the locking issue with the tendon.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to go to our website at or give us a call at our office at (281) 633-8600. Thank you very much.

Call Us for an Evaluation

Call us at 281-633-8600 for an appointment at our Sugar Land office or 713-234-3152 for an appointment at our Houston office.  You can also click the Book an Appointment button at the top of the page.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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