Frequently asked Questions (trigger finger)

Are there any diseases which greater risk of getting a trigger finger or a trigger thumb?

You are at greater risk for developing a trigger finger (trigger thumb), if you suffer from these diseases:

  • Diabetes mellitus (particularly in type I diabetes)

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Amyloidosis in dialysis

  • Under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism)

  • Gout

You are also at greater risk:

    • After a tendon injury in the palm or finger
  • After infections of the hand
  • If one or more of your relatives affected by a trigger finger or thumb

 Can a child affected by a trigger finger or trigger thumb?

congenital trigger thumb

congenital trigger thumb in a child

In infants, a similar disease can observe, that affects nearly always the thumb. Most children with congenital trigger thumb are seen with end joint of the thumb is locked in flexion. (Figure left)

A snapping is possible but rare. A frequent finding at surgery in this case is a nodular thickening of the flexor tendon. Known as Notta’s node.

After surgery „below“ (proximal) the scar has formed a nodular thickening, which was not before the operation. How is that?

palmar knote

Dupuytren’s disease in conjunction wiht a trigger finger

This condition is an early stage of a Dupuytren’s contracture. The hand of patients with Dupuytren’s contracture is affected by a thickening and shortening of the connective tissue in the palm.

Dupuytren’s disease may occur in conjunction with trigger finger or trigger thumb. (Trigger finger an Dupuytren’s contracture are different diseases!)

In some case an experienced hand surgeon palpated before operation a thickening of the connective tissue just under the skin.

In other cases the thickening of the cords in the hands develops after surgery. (But even after an injury).  The reason why, is not well understood. Some of these patients had a hereditary disposition of Dupuytren’s disease.

Can more than one finger be affected by triggering at the same time?

Yes of course! Repetitive or forceful use of the hand often narrows more than one tendon sheaths in one hand. Remember: powerful gripping a golf club, tennis rackets…..

What complication may occur if a trigger finger is treated by splinting in extension?

This treatment can cause stiffness of the finger (or thumb). In rare cases the affected finger cannot flexed.

Is it possible that a snapping finger (trigger finger) after an operation occurs at the same finger?

This is a possible complication after surgery. If triggering is not resolved after surgery, one cause is an incomplete division of the A1-pulley. In very rare cases this condition is due to a second narrowing in the tendon sheath. Recurrent triggering is rare after successful surgery of a trigger finger or trigger thumb.

In a case of recurrent triggering, it is advisable to look for coexisting diseases, especially rheumatic arthritis.


In concluding this informational paper I would like to encourage you to address all questions you may have in connection with a snapping finger or thumb with your attending physician as this document does not constitute a replacement to a personal examination or consultancy through your doctor.

Trigger finger / trigger thumb:    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    carpal tunnel    de Quervain

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