Trigger Finger: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Many people who regularly repeat certain finger and thumb movements, particularly pinching-style movements, are at risk of developing trigger finger (a.k.a. stenosing tenosynovitis). Trigger finger is an orthopedic condition that involves inflammation and swelling around the tendons that bend the finger.

The tendons glide through a protective covering called a sheath, which is lined with a thin membrane that helps reduce friction. However, when inflamed, the membrane can thicken to several times its normal size, preventing the tendons from gliding freely through the sheath.

The result can be “triggering,” painful snapping, or locking of the finger or thumb when bent because the swollen portion of the tendon gets caught on the opening of the sheath. When this happens, straightening the finger or thumb may require using the non-affected hand to pull the finger back into an extended position, causing another painful snap as the swollen portion of the tendon passes back into the sheath.

In the following video, Annie Muehlberger, APRN, RN – a nurse practitioner who works alongside Dr. Brian Divelbiss and Dr. Mark Winston to care for patients with hand, wrist and elbow conditions – explains more about trigger finger, including surgical and nonsurgical treatment options:

To make an appointment, please call us at 913-319-7600.

About Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics

Since 1923, Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics has provided high-quality orthopedic care. Our patient care team includes board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and physiatrists, as well as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, durable medical equipment specialists and more. With two convenient locations in Leawood and Kansas City, Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics offers surgical and non-surgical treatment options across all subspecialties of orthopedic medicine.


The medical information contained in the Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics website is provided to increase your knowledge and understanding of orthopedic conditions. This information should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific medical or surgical treatment plan. As each patient may have specific symptoms or associated problems, the treatment regimen for a specific patient may not be the proper treatment for another.

Gaining knowledge and understanding of a particular problem or condition is the first step in any medical treatment plan. We believe the information presented on our website will be helpful for those individuals experiencing hand and wrist diseases, injuries, or other related problems. However, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your family physician. You are encouraged to consult with your physician to discuss any course of treatment presented or suggested.