Can Trigger Finger be Cured Without Surgery?

The human hand is a marvel of intricate design and remarkable functionality, enabling us to perform countless tasks with precision and dexterity. However, when conditions such as trigger finger arise, this vital tool can become compromised, causing discomfort and hindering our ability to do daily tasks. Trigger finger, which is also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a common hand condition that affects the flexor tendons, leading to pain, stiffness, and the triggering or locking of a finger in a bent position.

Traditionally, surgical intervention has been the go-to treatment for severe cases of trigger finger. However, advancements in medical science and the emergence of non-surgical therapies have opened up new possibilities for patients seeking relief from this ailment. In this article, we explore what the condition is, how you can treat it at home, and when it’s time to seek medical advice.

What Is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger, also known as flexor tendonitis or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that affects the fingers or thumb. It causes pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the finger. Trigger finger usually occurs when the tendons in the affected finger become inflamed or irritated. Here’s how the condition typically develops:

The Tendons Become Inflamed

The tendons that enable the fingers to move typically glide smoothly through a tunnel-like structure called the tendon sheath. When these tendons become irritated or inflamed, it can lead to swelling and thickening of the tendon and the surrounding sheaths. Forceful hand movements, underlying medical conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis), or finger joint abnormalities typically cause this.

A Nodule Forms

As the inflammation persists, a small nodule or bump may form on the tendon or within the tendon sheath. This nodule can interfere with the smooth gliding motion of the tendon. This can cause the tendon to catch or get stuck when you’re trying to bend or straighten the affected finger.

Finger Becomes Stiff or Locks Up

As you bend or straighten your finger, the affected tendon may catch on the nodule. This can cause a sudden “triggering” or “popping” sensation. Your finger may then snap or lock into a bent position and require effort to straighten it fully.

Finger Becomes Painful or Causes Discomfort

Trigger finger is often associated with pain, tenderness, or aching at the base of the affected finger. In some cases, it’s also associated with swelling or a visible bump. The symptoms may get worse with prolonged or repetitive hand movements.

Who Can Get Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger can affect people of any age and gender, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing the condition. Here’s a breakdown of who trigger finger commonly affects:

It’s important to note that while certain factors may increase your likelihood of developing trigger finger, the condition can still occur in individuals with none of these risk factors. If you experience symptoms such as finger stiffness, popping or locking sensations, or pain and discomfort at the base of your finger, we recommend consulting with a health care professional, such as the orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Knight, for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

Can You Cure Trigger Finger Without Surgery?

If you’re experiencing trigger finger symptoms, there are several measures you can take to help ease discomfort and improve your condition without having to undergo surgery. Here are some self-care and home remedies that may provide relief for mild cases:

When To Consult a Medical Professional

It’s important to note that self-care or at-home measures are generally helpful for mild to moderate trigger finger symptoms. However, if your symptoms persist, worsen, or significantly impact your daily activities, we recommend consulting with a health care professional, such as our team of highly trained hand and wrist surgeons in Dallas. We can evaluate your condition, provide an accurate diagnosis, and recommend the best treatment options for you, which may include splinting, medication, corticosteroid injections, or in some cases, surgical intervention. Request an appointment with our team today.


left human hand  by Adrien King is licensed with Unsplash License

Dr. John Knight
Dr. John Knight

Dr. Knight is a renowned hand, wrist and upper extremity surgeon with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Knight is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship trained. Dr Knight has appeared on CNN, The Doctors TV, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Oxygen network and more.