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Trigger Finger Treatment & Surgery in Singapore

Trigger Finger | Spire Orthopaedic

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is a painful condition that makes your fingers or thumb catch or lock when you bend them. If it is severe, our finger may become locked in a bent position. People whose work or hobbies require repetitive gripping actions are at higher risk of developing trigger finger.

Symptoms of Trigger Finger

  • Some signs and symptoms of trigger finger may progress from mild to severe and include: 
  • Finger stiffness, particularly in the morning 
  • A painful clicking or snapping when you bend or straighten your finger. 
  • Tenderness or a bump in the palm at the base of the affected finger 
  • A popping or clicking as you move your finger 
  • Finger locked in a bent position, which you are unable to straighten ( only in severe cases)

Causes of Trigger Finger

Most of the time, it comes from a repeated movement or forceful use of your finger or thumb. Tendons are fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. Each tendon is surrounded by a protective sheath. 

A tendon usually glides easily through the tissue that covers it (called a sheath) thanks to the synovium, a membrane that surrounds joints and keeps them lubricated. Sometimes, a tendon gets inflamed and swollen.

Risk Factors of Trigger Finger

Common things that put you on risk to have trigger finger include: 

● Repeated gripping

Occupations and hobbies that involve repetitive hand use and prolonged gripping may increase your risk of trigger finger. 

● Health conditions

Diabetes, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to trigger finger. 

● Age and Sex

Between ages 40 and 60 and more common in women than men.

● Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery

It’s most common in the first 6 months after surgery.

Treatment options for trigger finger

If you’re experiencing the discomfort and inconvenience of a trigger finger, several treatment options are available in Singapore to help alleviate your condition.

1. Conservative treatment

In the early stages or milder cases of trigger finger, conservative treatment may be sufficient. This treatment involves rest, activity modification, and avoiding repetitive gripping motions that can exacerbate the condition.

2. Splinting

Your orthopaedic specialist may recommend wearing a splint to keep the affected finger straight. Splinting can help reduce strain on the affected tendon and alleviate symptoms.

3. Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation associated with trigger finger.

4. Physical therapy

Trigger finger release physical therapy exercises can be beneficial in improving finger mobility and strength. A physical therapist can provide you with activities tailored to your condition.

5. Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections into the tendon sheath can provide temporary relief by reducing inflammation. Multiple injections may be necessary for long-term symptom management.

Surgery options for trigger finger

The operation for trigger finger is known as trigger finger release surgery or tenolysis. It is typically considered when conservative treatments have proven ineffective in relieving symptoms or when the condition is severe. Here are some surgical treatments commonly used for trigger finger.

1. Open trigger finger release surgery

Open trigger finger release surgery is the most common surgical treatment for trigger finger. It is performed under local anaesthesia, and the surgeon makes a small incision in the palm or the base of the affected finger.

The surgeon then releases the tightened tendon sheath to allow the tendon to move freely without catching. Following the surgery, the incision is sutured closed.

2. Percutaneous trigger finger release

In this minimally invasive operation, a surgeon uses a needle-like instrument to release the constricted portion of the tendon sheath without making a large incision. This procedure is performed under local anaesthesia, typically resulting in a smaller scar and quicker recovery than open surgery.

3. Endoscopic trigger finger release

Endoscopic surgery is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon is guided by a thin, flexible tube equipped with a camera (endoscope).

Small incisions are made, and the surgeon visualises the surgical area on a monitor while releasing the tight tendon sheath. Endoscopic surgery often offers faster recovery and less scarring than open surgery.

4. Ultrasound-guided trigger finger release

Ultrasound imaging sometimes guides the surgeon during trigger finger release operation. This real-time imaging allows for precisely identifying the constricted area within the tendon sheath, leading to a more targeted release.

5. Paediatric trigger finger release

In the case of a paediatric trigger finger, surgery may be necessary if conservative measures are ineffective. The surgical technique used in children is similar to that in adults, intending to release the constricted tendon sheath to allow normal finger movement.

Recovery after trigger finger surgery

Patients often experience swelling and discomfort after trigger finger operation, which can be managed with pain medication and hand elevation.

  • Physical therapy or hand exercises may be recommended to help regain finger strength and mobility.
  • Most individuals light activities within a few days to a week after surgery, but it may take several weeks to recover and return to more strenuous activities fully.

Following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully and attending any recommended follow-up appointments are essential. While trigger finger operation is generally safe and effective, there can be risks and complications, such as infection, scarring, or nerve damage, so discussing the procedure thoroughly with your surgeon and addressing any concerns is crucial.

Spire Orthopaedic’s team of experienced orthopaedic specialists in Singapore is dedicated to providing you with the most effective and personalised treatment options for trigger finger. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

What will happen if a trigger finger is not treated?

Ignoring trigger finger can lead to complications and worsening symptoms. If left untreated, the finger may become permanently locked in a bent position, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks. Seeking timely treatment is crucial to prevent long-term issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is trigger finger operation?

Trigger finger operation, also known as release surgery or tenolysis, is a minor outpatient procedure that involves releasing the constricted tendon sheath. Release surgery allows the tendon to move freely without catching or triggering.

Why do you need trigger finger operation?

Surgery is typically considered when conservative treatments are ineffective and trigger finger symptoms that significantly impact daily activities or cause significant pain. It is also an option for those with severe or chronic trigger finger.

When should I see a doctor about my trigger finger?

If you experience persistent symptoms such as finger locking, pain, or limited movement that hinder your daily life, it’s advisable to consult an orthopaedic specialist. Early intervention can prevent the condition from getting worse.

How is the trigger finger diagnosed?

Your specialist will begin diagnosis with a physical examination and checking your medical history. Your orthopaedic specialist may also request imaging tests like an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the condition.

Cost of trigger finger operation & treatment

The cost of trigger finger operation will depend on the severity of your condition and the procedure used. Discussing the financial aspects with your orthopaedic specialist to understand potential costs is essential.


If you are facing symptoms of Trigger Finger and would like to seek for professional advice and treatment, Spire Orthopaedics is ready to help. Contact us here or call us at (65) 8031 4388 to book an appointment.