What Are the Warning Signs of Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, limits your range of motion and can cause a snapping sound when you bend or extend your finger.

Experts can address this condition at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow located in Atlanta and Marietta, Georgia, with corticosteroid injections, other non-surgical treatments, or surgery if necessary.

Continue reading our blog to learn more about this condition, how to treat it, and the steps you can take to prevent it.

What Is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger occurs when inflammation causes scar tissue called a tendon sheath to narrow. Tendons pass through this sheath and can become stuck.

For example, you cannot move the flexor tendons, or you may hear a popping sound when you bend or extend it. This condition often affects the a1 pulley at the base of the finger.

Causes of Trigger Finger

A swollen tendon sheath is the most common cause of this painful condition. Inflammation can develop due to repetitive movements, such as gripping or squeezing an object.

According to the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, this condition often affects the ring finger or causes a trigger thumb.

A single injury will rarely cause a trigger finger, but forceful use and repeated movements where you bend and straighten your fingers palm side can increase your risks.

Trigger Finger Risk Factors

Some patients are more likely to get a stuck finger or thumb. Diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing inflammation.

Medical conditions like gout and rheumatoid arthritis of the hand can also increase your risks. Thumb arthritis may also play a factor. 

Warning Signs of Trigger Finger

There are a few early symptoms of trigger finger you might notice. First, note that you might feel pain when one individual finger moves, but the other fingers have no symptoms and can glide freely. It’s best to get a doctor to diagnose this as trigger finger can sometimes be confused for Dupuytren’s contracture

You Experience Pain

Inflammation happens when fluids build up and cause tissues to become swollen in the finger or thumb. It can also affect nerve function.

Pain is usually one of the earliest symptoms, especially when you perform gripping or squeezing motions.

You Hear Popping or Snapping Sounds

Straightening your finger can be difficult, and trigger finger release often creates a snapping sound when you extend it in a straight position.

You’re Having a Hard Time Moving Your Finger

Swelling can reduce your range of motion and cause finger stiffness. In advanced cases of trigger finger, patients often find that they’re unable to move their flexor tendon.

Trigger fingers typically become stuck in a bent position. It’s possible to experience finger articulations that freeze temporarily when the condition first appears.

You See Swelling

As the fluid builds up and causes the tendon sheath to become inflamed, you might notice common symptoms of inflammation, such as redness, heat, and a tender lump.

Trigger Finger Diagnosis

A healthcare provider can diagnose a trigger finger based on a simple hand exam. Your doctor might also recommend seeing a hand therapist or hand surgeon in order to confirm that you have stenosing tenosynovitis.

Trigger Finger Treatment

Mild cases of trigger finger will typically go away after a few weeks with some rest for most patients.

However, your healthcare provider might recommend other treatments based on their findings during the physical exam:

  • A splint can keep your finger straight and help reduce pressure on the flexor tendon.
  • Light stretching exercises can restore your range of motion and reduce pain.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will reduce the swelling.


In more severe cases, your doctor might recommend steroid injections or even surgical treatment. A steroid injection will reduce inflammation locally in the affected finger, while surgery can release the a1 pulley or affected tendon.

Get Treatment for Trigger Finger Today

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, we encourage you to reach out to our Atlanta or Marietta location to book an appointment.

Our orthopedic surgeons at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow are familiar with trigger finger and are ready to help you find the right treatment plan for you.

You Might Also Enjoy...


2020 Continuing Education Conference

In light of recent developments with regards to COVID-19, we are canceling our conference planned for June of this year. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you next year!


Atlanta Braves Game

Let’s go Braves!! After a week-long Hurricane, our staff had a blast watching the Atlanta Braves play at their new stadium while soaking in the warm rays of the sun.


Cold Finger Tips

Have you ever shaken hands with someone on a warm day, but their hand felt cold? Or maybe you have felt your own fingers were colder than they should be…