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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.

Last Revised: October 11, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD

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