Macksville Clinic - 2/12 Cooper St, Macksville, NSW, 2447 - Nambucca Heads Clinic - 20 Liston St, Nambucca Heads, NSW, 2448

Trigger finger

What is a trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a condition that causes the finger or thumb to ‘click’ or ‘lock’ when it is bent, it can start off by catching. If you have a trigger finger it may progress to actually getting locked in a bent position, requiring the other hand to pull it out straight again. Your finger may get stuck in the bent position if you have a severe cases in which you will need medical assistance to straighten you finger. The palm of your hand or the front of the thumb under the webbing may be tender this indicated that the of a nodule, or a thickening of the tendons to the fingers, as this is the cause of the triggering.

What causes trigger finger?

Trigger finger can be caused by:

  • Age
  • Repetitive movements or gripping
  • Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and grout.

How do I know if I have trigger finger?

If you have a trigger finger you will feel a clicking sensation in the palm of your hand when you bend and straighten your finger. In severe cases, it  is possible that you will not be able to straighten your finger from a bent position without the help of your other hand. You may be able to feel a small lump in the palm of your hand at the base of your finger or thumb. This can be diagnosed by professional assessment.

How can physiotherapy help with trigger finger?

Your physiotherapist will be able to help diagnose your condition, they will be able to provide you with a special splint to wear which will limit you being able to bend your finger (stops the tendon from ‘clicking’ or ‘locking’). Most people are able to continue with there everyday activities while wearing a splint. This splint will need to be worn full time for 4–10 weeks until the clicking has resolved. Your physiotherapist will be able guide you through the management of your condition. Other physiotherapy techniques that can be helpful include massage, stretches and tendon gliding exercises to enhance the recovery.

How effective is physiotherapy for trigger finger?

Physiotherapy is usually very effective in treating a trigger finger whilst splinting for up to 10 weeks it is common for 90 %  of patients to resolve the issue. If splinting is not enough alone, a corticosteroid injection may be helpful. If this does not work then a small surgery may be required.

Can I do anything at home?

Your physiotherapist will give you guidelines to ensure you recover. It is important to follow the instruction of your physiotherapist meaning you must wear your splint at all times and complete the exercise daily.

How long will my recovery be?

You will be wearing a splint full time for up to 10 weeks and then will be able to gradually start exercises and reduce wearing your splint . The painful nodule in the palm of your hand may take several months to recover.  

If you would like to find out more please call us or book an appointment here.

Back to Physiotherapy for Your Finger

Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association 2019, Your Body, viewed 19 November 2019, <>.