11 Exercises For Trigger Finger

Trigger finger (finger tenosynovitis) is a type of tendinitis that affects tendons in your fingers and makes them flex. The condition gets its name from its primary characteristic of a curled or bent finger that looks as if it’s squeezing a trigger. It’s a painful condition that makes flexing and straightening fingers difficult and makes the finger feel tender and sore. Over time, the condition can advance to the point that one or more fingers become locked in place, affecting your ability to use your fingers.

Getting treatment for trigger finger is important to relieve pain and prevent the condition from worsening. In the meantime, you can engage in trigger finger exercises to manage the condition, reduce pain, and keep your fingers flexible. This article lists some exercises for trigger finger you can do anywhere and whenever you have the chance.

Passive Wrist Stretches

trigger finger exercises

Image via Flickr by Musespeak

Begin this stretch by holding your palms together and holding your forearms parallel to the floor. The tips of your fingers should be just below your chin and in front of your chest. Slowly lower your hands down toward your waist while keeping them together. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. You should feel stretching in your wrist and fingers.

Clenched Wrist Bend Stretch

Make a loose fist and place the back of your hand on a table with your thumb facing up. Bend your wrist so your fingers come toward your body, then hold the position for two seconds. Relax your wrist and let it return to the starting position. Do this 10 times for each hand.

Side to Side Wrist Bend

Place your hand palm down on a table, and keep your wrist straight. Bend your wrist to the right as far as possible, then hold for two seconds. Return your wrist to the center, and repeat the motion with the right side of the wrist. Again, hold for two seconds, then return to the center. Your hand will move upward with this motion, but focus on the movement of the wrist instead of your hand. Repeat the stretch 10 times for each hand.

Bent Finger Stretch

Bend the thumb toward the palm and try to reach the tip of the index finger, then hold for 10 seconds. Repeat the motion with the remaining fingers. You may have to bring your fingers forward after you’ve extended your thumb as far as it can reach. Do this stretch three to four times throughout the day.

Resistance Exercise With a Rubber Band

Bring fingertips and thumb together in a pinching motion, making sure that all fingertips are touching. Place a rubber band around the fingers and thumb. Make sure the rubber band offers a level of resistance that is comfortable. Open up your hand and push against the rubber band. You can increase the number of rubber bands used for resistance as your hand strengthens. Do this 10 times for each hand, and perform the exercise up to five times per day.

Finger Extensor Stretch

Lay your hand flat on a table or level surface. Hold your affected finger with your other hand, then slowly raise the finger while keeping the remaining fingers flat. Lift the finger as high as it can go without straining or inducing excessive pain. Hold the finger in the air for a few seconds, then release and let it return to the surface. Perform one set of five repetitions three times a day. You can perform the stretch on all fingers and thumb.

Finger Abduction Version One

Hold your hand in front of you and extend the affected finger along with a normal finger. Hold the two fingers together with your thumb and forefinger from your opposite hand, and gently press the extended fingers together. You can hold the fingers anywhere you’re comfortable. Separate the first set of fingers while using the fingers from your opposite hand as resistance. Hold the position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat five times in one session, and perform three times throughout the day.

Finger Abduction Version Two

This abduction is the opposite of Version One. Instead of bringing the fingers together, spread them apart in a V and encircle them with your finger and thumb from your other hand, then apply pressure to push the fingers closer together. Repeat five times for one session, then do the stretch three times throughout the day.

Finger Curls

Rest the back of your hand on a table or flat surface. You may wish to rest your elbow on the table as well for this stretch. Once your hand is on the table, make sure your palm is facing your body. Clench your hand into a loose fist, then slowly uncurl the thumb and fingers at the same time until they’ve fully extended. Hold the stretch for two seconds, then curl thumb and fingers back into a loose fist. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Tendon Gliding

Begin by spreading your fingers apart as wide as possible, then bend them until your fingertips touch the top of your palm. Straighten and spread your fingers out wide again, then bend them to touch the middle of your palm. Open them wide again, then touch the bottom of your palm and bring your thumb to each fingertip. Afterward, touch different places on your palm with your thumb. Do three sets of this twice a day.

Fingertip and Middle Joint Bends

For the fingertip, hold the finger just beneath the top joint with your opposite hand. Bend the fingertip while holding the rest of the finger steady, then return to position. For the middle joint, hold the finger just below the joint and fold the finger forward, then return to position. Stretch both joints by holding the finger just below the knuckle joint and bending both joints at once. You don’t have to keep the finger straight in either bend. Perform these stretches at least two times a day.

If you’re having problems with trigger finger or any other kind of pain in your hands or wrists, reach out to us at The Hand and Wrist Institute today. We can assess your issues and develop a treatment program to get you pain free as soon as possible.

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.