Trigger Finger

The tendons in our hand that allow us to flex our fingers go through a series of tunnels or “pulleys” that keep the tendon confined to its correct position. These pulleys allow the tenon to glide easily back and forth but do not allow the tendon to bow-string forward as the finger is flexed. Occasionally, small nodules can form on the tendons that cause them not to be able to slide under the pulley easily. This commonly presents as pain or “triggering.” This is when you attempt to extend or flex the fingers, and the finger in question will lag behind the others. Sometimes it will pop open momentarily, and other times, you may have to pry it open using the other hand.


One treatment for this is a steroid injection, which has about a 50% chance of resolving your trigger finger for good. If that fails, then a quick 5-minute procedure to release the pulley may be a good option.

William Ashford, MD

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