2 min read

Trigger Finger

Last reviewed: 29/07/2019
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

Is trigger finger painful?

If you have trigger finger you may have pain at the base of the affected finger when you move or press it.

What is the treatment for trigger finger?

Sometimes trigger finger improves on its own with rest. Painkillers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may help to relieve any pain you have.

Using a splint to keep your finger straight can help to improve your symptoms. This splint can be worn during the day or just at night.

If you still have symptoms after resting your finger or using a splint, your doctor may recommend an injection of steroids into your finger or thumb, or a minor procedure to help your finger or thumb move more freely.

What causes trigger finger?

Trigger finger is when a finger or thumb ‘locks’ in place after it is bent. It can be hard to straighten that finger without pulling on it with the other hand.

The condition occurs when a finger tendon (a strong tissue that attaches muscle to bone) becomes swollen and inflamed. When this happens, the tendon is no longer able to slide easily through the sheath that covers it. Instead, it can bunch up to form a small lump that makes bending the affected finger or thumb difficult. You may feel your finger click as you straighten it.

It is not clear why some people develop trigger finger while others don’t. However, some factors can increase your risk of developing the condition, including:

Can trigger finger go away on its own?

Yes, trigger finger gets better without any treatment in around one in five people. Sometimes, minor lifestyle changes, such as resting the finger and/or using a splint to keep it straight, can help to improve the symptoms of trigger finger.

If your symptoms do not improve with these measures, your doctor may recommend treatments such as steroid injections or a minor procedure to help the affected finger or thumb move more easily.

Why does trigger finger get worse at night?

The symptoms of trigger finger tend to be worse in the morning rather than at night. The finger usually starts to relax and move more easily as the day goes on.

Was this article helpful?

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.