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What Causes Trigger Finger?

6th Nov 2023 | 0 comments

Trigger finger, scientifically known as stenosing tenosynovitis, affects the fingers and is characterised by a painful feeling in which one or more fingers become locked in a bent position, like a trigger being pulled. 

This condition can be concerning, but understanding its causes is the first step toward better prevention and management. In this article, we will explore the various causes of trigger finger and how you can treat it.

Repetitive hand and finger movement

Repetitive hand and finger movement are the primary causes of trigger finger. This condition is prevalent in individuals whose work or hobbies involve constant and forceful gripping motions. 

Jobs that require repetitive grasping, such as assembly line work, construction, or even playing certain musical instruments, can increase the risk of developing this condition. The continuous strain on the tendons can lead to inflammation, making them susceptible to trigger finger.

Medical conditions

Medical conditions can also contribute to the development of trigger finger. People with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and gout are more likely to experience this trigger finger. 

These diseases can affect the tendons, causing inflammation and thickening, which in turn leads to the characteristic locking of the fingers.


Age can increase the risk of developing trigger finger. As we get older, our tendons may naturally become less flexible and more prone to inflammation. This age-related change in tendon structure can make the tendons less able to glide smoothly within the tendon sheath, increasing the risk of developing trigger finger.


Gender also plays a role in the likelihood of developing trigger finger. Women are more likely to develop this condition compared to men, and this could be due to hormonal differences. 

Hormones, particularly oestrogen, have been linked to the development of trigger finger as they can affect the connective tissues, making them more susceptible to inflammation.

Anatomical factors

An individual’s hand anatomy can also contribute to the development of trigger finger

For some people, the tendon sheath (the protective covering of the tendon) may be naturally narrower or constricted. This thin sheath can lead to more friction between the tendon and the surrounding tissue, increasing the likelihood of inflammation and, eventually, trigger finger.

Trauma or injury

Injury or trauma to the hand or finger can be another cause of trigger finger. An accident or injury that damages the tendons or the surrounding structures can lead to inflammation and scarring. 

This scarring can disrupt the smooth movement of the tendons, causing the finger to catch or lock.

Signs of trigger finger

Recognising the signs and symptoms of trigger finger is crucial in the early diagnosis and management of this condition. 

  1. Finger stiffness: The affected finger may feel stiff, making straightening challenging.
  2. Pain and tenderness: Pain is often experienced at the base of the affected finger and may worsen when attempting to move it.
  3. Popping or clicking sensation: When attempting to move the finger, a popping or clicking sensation may occur.
  4. Finger locking: In severe cases, the finger may lock in a bent position and require manual effort to straighten.
  5. Nodule formation: A small, palpable nodule may develop at the base of the affected finger, where the tendon sheath is constricted.

Trigger finger treatment

If you suspect you have trigger finger or have received a diagnosis, it’s essential to understand the treatment options available. Treatment strategies may vary based on the severity of the condition and individual factors. 

Conservative treatment

In milder cases, non-surgical options may be recommended. These can include rest, splinting, and anti-inflammatory medications. Physiotherapy to improve finger mobility may also be beneficial.

Corticosteroid injections

Your healthcare provider may administer corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. These injections can provide significant relief, but their effects may be temporary, and repeat injections may be necessary.


For severe cases or when conservative treatments prove ineffective, surgical intervention may be recommended. Trigger finger release operation can be performed to release the constricted tendon sheath and restore normal finger movement.

Recovery and rehabilitation

Following any treatment, rehabilitation is essential. It may involve specific exercises to regain strength and mobility in the affected finger and hand.

Trigger finger treatment in Singapore

Trigger finger can impact both men and women and understanding its causes is crucial for prevention and management. Whether trigger finger is the result of occupational risks or medical conditions, prompt recognition and appropriate treatment can help individuals regain hand and finger function. 

If you are experiencing trigger finger symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.

Spire Orthopaedic is a healthcare provider in Singapore known for its specialised orthopaedic services, including treating conditions like trigger finger. Our orthopaedic specialists are dedicated to helping patients regain freedom of movement in their fingers and hands. 

Book an appointment with Spire Orthopaedic today for a personalised treatment plan.