Trigger Digit

Trigger finger/Trigger digit is a very common condition involving the fingers and thumb. It most commonly affects the thumb and ring finger. It usually affects one finger/thumb at a time, though multiple digits can be affected. The condition increases with age and is more common in Diabetics. It is also called Stenosing Tenosynovitis.

Trigger Finger/Trigger Digit Symptoms and Anatomy

Trigger finger/thumb is caused by an inflammation of the tendons at the base of the finger/thumb. The tendons then get stuck under a ligament/pulley at the base of the finger/thumb. This results in a popping "triggering" of the middle finger (PIP) joint or end (IPJ) joint of the thumb. This is NOT a bone or arthritis issue.

Trigger Finger/Trigger Digit Symptoms

  • Popping "triggering" of the middle finger(PIP) joint or end thumb (IPJ) joint
  • Tenderness at the base of the finger/thumb-in the palm
  • Symptoms tend to be worse in the morning
  • Numbness is not part of this diagnosis
  • This is not to be confused with Dupuytren's Contracture which cases a fixed finger contracture-no popping

Trigger Finger/Trigger Digit Treatment Options

  • Splinting at night in extension
  • Decreasing activity-avoiding heavy gripping
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Local Cortisone injections-can cure condition
  • Outpatient surgery

Trigger Finger/Trigger Digit Surgery

If indicated, surgery is usually performed in an outpatient setting at an ambulatory surgery center. A very small incision is made, and the offending ligament/pully is cut, allowing the tendon to move without triggering. Usually therapy is not required after surgery. Most patients use their computers and cell phones the same day and drive the next day. Surgery can be performed with many different anesthesia techniques, from simple local anesthesia to general. The surgery has a high success rate.