Trigger Finger Cause and Cure

By Medically reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor

Trigger finger a condition that can be very painful to the patient. In people with this condition, their fingers or thumb catch or lock themselves when they are bent. This is caused by inflamed muscles or tendons in the finger joints. The tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect the muscles and bones in the joints. If the condition is in the thumb, it is called trigger thumb.

How trigger finger occurs

In a healthy joint, the tendons form a band attached to the bones and muscles at both sides. Together with the muscles, tendons assist the bones in the hands and arms to bend and straighten.

Usually, the tendons can slide through the tissues that cover it (sheath) thanks to a lubrication membrane around the joint (the synovium).

When the tendons in the finger or the thumb become inflamed and swollen, trigger finger can occur. If this happens for a long time, it can create scarring or thickening of the sheath that prevents the tendon from moving smoothly through the sheath, making a snap or pop sound.

Trigger finger has no known cause. However, there are many risk factors related to it that you may not be aware of:

  • If you are a woman, you are at a higher risk of trigger finger than man.
  • People in the age 40-60 years old often develop trigger finger.
  • If you have certain medical complications, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, there is a higher risk of having trigger finger.
  • Frequently performing activities that strain the hands, such as typing or using tools, can lead to trigger finger.

What are the nonsurgical treatment options for trigger finger?


If the symptoms are not severe, giving your hands and fingers a rest will allow them to recover.


Taking over-the-counter pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) or acetaminophen can be helpful to relieve the pain.

Steroid injections

If the symptoms are bad, your doctor might want you to have an injection of corticosteroid (an anti-inflammation medicine) into the tendon sheath to reduce the swelling. However, in some cases, this solution is only temporary, especially if you have a medical condition such as diabetes and arthritis.


In many cases, exercises for the hands and fingers are the best treatment and prevention for trigger finger. These hand exercises will strengthen the muscles and tendons. They may involve hot and cold therapy, wearing a brace or simply just stretching exercises.

Therapy and chiropractic

If you don’t like traditional treatment, chiropractic or therapy is a great alternative.

In chiropractic, there are treatments that can fix trigger finger called: Active Release Technique (ART) and Graston technique. Studies on chiropractic found that these treatments are very effective for trigger finger.

Moreover, chiropractors usually work on the whole-body to promote healing as well as relief to any other sore muscle in the body, as most conditions are not limited to only one area of the body but often affect the surrounding areas or make the patient mentally tired. Chiropractic provides the patient with more relief without the use of invasive procedures. Chiropractic is an effective, natural way to treat trigger finger.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: June 20, 2017 | Last Modified: December 8, 2019

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