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Trigger finger release

3-minute read

This page will give you information about trigger finger release. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a condition where your finger jams or gets stiff. It can also affect your thumb.

The tendons that bend your fingers usually glide freely through tight tunnels in your hand. If the fibrous wall of a tunnel thickens, the tunnel becomes too tight, usually resulting in your finger jamming in a bent position.

Illustration showing a trigger finger.
Trigger finger.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The aim is to allow your finger to move freely.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

A steroid injection into the base of your finger can treat the problem. However, you may need more than one injection.

If your trigger finger continues or is severe, surgery is usually recommended.

What does the operation involve?

The operation can usually be performed under a local anaesthetic and usually takes about 20 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a small cut at the base of your finger. They will cut open the fibrous tunnel that is causing the trigger finger.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • scarring of your skin

Specific complications

  • numbness
  • tenderness
  • bowstringing
  • severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your hand

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to normal activities.

Keep your hand raised and bandaged for 2 days. It is important to gently exercise your fingers, elbow and shoulder to prevent stiffness.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

Trigger finger is a condition where your finger jams or gets stiff. If treatment with steroid injections has failed, surgery should allow your finger to move freely.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Last reviewed: September 2018

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