Patient Care

Trigger Digits

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger Finger or trigger thumb is a condition where a patient feels pain or discomfort when trying to straighten or bend their finger/thumb. Sometimes the finger may become locked or stuck when swelling of the tendon lining occurs.

The tendon lining is like a tunnel in which the tendon muscles glide to bring about motion. The swelling of the tendon lining impairs the smooth gliding motion of the tendons which then results in the pain or catching feeling when the patient tries to flex his finger.

Flexor Tendon

The causes of Trigger Finger have not been established. It may be the result of:

  • Doing activities that involve excessive repetitive grasping
  • Maintaining firm grip of the hand with hard surface for prolonged periods of time (e.g. when using screwdrivers, and during moping of floor)
  • Changes of connective tissue as associated with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or diabetes
  • Hormonal changes experienced during middle age or pregnancy
What are the signs & symptoms of Trigger Finger?

If you suffer from Trigger Finger, you may start to feel aching sensations at the base of your finger or thumb. A thickening may also be found in the area. However, when your finger begins to trigger or lock, it is likely that you will feel pain in the middle of your finger or thumb.

What are the treatment options for Trigger Finger?

Doctors will first try non-surgical methods of treatment, such as making you wear a splint, prescribing anti-inflammatory medication orally or by giving you an injection of steroids.

When symptoms persist without improvement, surgery may be recommended. It is a minor surgical procedure and can be performed as a day surgery case.

Surgery is almost always successful and you will regain normal use of your hand upon recovery.

You may require hand therapy after your surgery to regain normal function of your hand for certain cases.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'Trigger Digits' AND
  • Institution
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National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
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  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
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