What is Trigger Finger and How Can I Manage It?

trigger finger, hand therapy partners
November 1, 2023

Have you ever experienced a sudden, painful, and involuntary snap or pop in your finger when trying to straighten it? If so, you might be familiar with a condition known as “trigger finger.” Trigger finger, medically referred to as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a relatively common hand condition that can affect people of all ages. 

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is a condition characterized by the inflammation or thickening of the tendons in the fingers or thumb. These tendons are responsible for flexing and extending the fingers, allowing for smooth and controlled movement. When someone has trigger finger, the affected tendon becomes irritated or swollen, making it difficult for the tendon to glide through the tendon sheath (a protective tunnel-like structure) within the finger. As a result, the finger may become stuck in a bent position and may snap or “trigger” when straightened. If you or someone you know is dealing with trigger finger, you’ll be pleased to learn about the indispensable role hand therapists play in its diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

trigger finger, hand therapy partners

Common Symptoms of Trigger Finger

  • Pain and tenderness at the base of the affected finger or thumb.
  • A popping or snapping sensation when moving the finger.
  • Stiffness and difficulty straightening the finger, especially in the morning.
  • A visible bump or nodule at the base of the affected finger.

Causes of Trigger Finger

While the exact cause of trigger finger is not always clear, several factors can contribute to its development:

  • Repetitive Hand Movements: Engaging in activities that involve repetitive gripping or grasping, such as using hand tools, playing musical instruments, or typing, can strain the tendons and lead to trigger finger.
  • Medical Conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout, are at a higher risk of developing trigger finger due to their potential to cause inflammation and damage to the tendons.
  • Gender and Age: Women are more likely to develop trigger finger than men, and it often occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing trigger finger.

hand therapy for trigger finger

8 Tips for Managing Symptoms!

  • Avoid Prolonged Grasping

Refrain from holding onto objects for extended periods- this increases your chances of getting into a “locked” position. Instead, use tools or ergonomic aids to reduce strain on your hand.

  • Consult a Hand Therapist

Our hand therapists, who specialize in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation, can provide tailored guidance and exercises to manage trigger finger effectively. They can help you regain strength, mobility, and functionality in your hand.

  • Finger Splinting

A splint can help keep your affected finger in a straightened position, relieving pressure on the inflamed tendon. Wearing a splint at night may be especially beneficial to reduce oval 8 hand therapy partners for trigger fingermorning stiffness. Our therapists have a couple different options that may be best for you!

  • Stretching Exercises

Gentle passive stretching exercises can improve finger mobility and flexibility. Perform these stretches as recommended by your therapist to maintain great hand function.

  • Warm Compress

Applying a warm compress to the affected finger can help relax the tendon and reduce pain and stiffness. Use a warm, damp cloth or a heating pad for relief.

  • Ergonomic Adjustments

Review your workspace and daily activities to identify ergonomic improvements- can you make a handle thicker so your don’t need to bend your finger too much? Ensure your hand is in a neutral position during tasks to reduce strain and minimize triggers.

  • Rest and Activity Modification

Give your affected finger some much-needed rest by avoiding repetitive gripping or grasping activities. Modify your daily tasks and work to minimize activity on the affected hand as much as possible.

  • Corticosteroid Injections

A healthcare provider may recommend corticosteroid injections into the affected tendon sheath to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. This can provide temporary relief.


Managing trigger finger can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies and diligence, you can experience relief and improved hand function. Remember that it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Contact our therapists right away if your symptoms increase! By incorporating these 8 tips into your daily routine, you can take significant steps toward reducing pain, enhancing finger mobility, and regaining control of your life. Don’t let trigger finger hold you back; explore these management strategies and regain comfort in your hand.