Trigger Finger

Trigger finger

The Makovicka Difference

We are leaders in our profession, locally owned and operated by physical therapists who forge relationships with patients, and advocate for their care. All of our clinics have board-certified specialists on staff, meaning you get the highest level of care to maximize your recovery, and get you back to your game. We will listen, evaluate your symptoms, and create a personalized physical therapy program to meet your needs and improve your function, strength, and mobility.

What is trigger finger? 

Trigger finger is defined as a finger or thumb that gets “locked” when you bend the finger towards your palm and then try to straighten the finger.  This action can result in pain, stiffness, and “locking” of the finger in the bent position. Occasionally, a person requires the use of their other hand to pull the finger straight.  

Trigger finger occurs when a finger tendon becomes irritated, making it hard for the tendon to perform the normal gliding motions during finger bending and straightening. Trigger finger most commonly affects the index and thumb. When it is associated with the thumb, it is called Trigger Thumb.  

Who is affected by trigger finger? 

Trigger finger more often affects the following people: adult women (although it can affect men and children as well) and people who have diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. Trigger finger can be a complication associated with carpel tunnel surgery and develop from repeated prolonged gripping and repetition movements of the hands. 

How is trigger finger diagnosed? 

A medical doctor/physician can diagnose you by asking you to bend and straighten the finger or thumb while they feel for the tendon movement and “catching” sensation in the palm of your hand. 


  • Pain with bending and straightening your finger or thumb
  • Feeling like your finger is going to pop/catch with movement
  • Presents with a painful bump on the palm

Conservative Treatment 

A hand specialist will thoroughly evaluate the patient’s symptoms and develop a personalized therapy program. Frequently, a custom trigger finger splint is fitted by the hand therapist. Its purpose is to block the finger from being able to bend fully, thus limiting the occurrence of “catching.”  This method allows the tendon to heal and the swelling to reside.  Your therapist will also recommend rest, cryotherapy, and gentle exercises.  

Your doctor may further recommend pain medication options and other anti-inflammatory injectables to calm the symptoms in your hand. 


Surgery occurs if conservative treatments do not work. After surgery, therapy can benefit a patient by addressing range of the motion, strengthening, education on pain management, desensitization if sensitive, and returning to everyday tasks with reduced time and effort without it feeling like it needs to pop/catch. 

For more information, please contact Makovicka Physical Therapy’s Hand Therapist.