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Trigger finger - stenosing tenosynovitis
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Trigger finger - stenosing tenosynovitis

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What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Before the development of actual "triggering" (the painful snapping or locking of the finger or thumb), one of the first symptoms may be discomfort in the area of the palm directly beneath the affected finger or thumb. This region marks the entrance of the tendon sheath or A1 pulley area.

The painful snapping sensation during finger motion is the most common symptom. As the condition progresses, the finger or thumb may actually become locked in a bent position, or less often in an extended position. The problem is sometimes incorrectly thought to exist in the middle joint of the thumb. This joint may appear to jump or lock. The true problem, however, is found in the base of the finger or thumb. It is here that the smooth gliding of the tendon becomes obstructed. Your Hand Center physician will be able to demonstrate this to you during your visit.

Signs and symptoms

At first, your affected finger may seem stiff and may click when you move it. You may notice a bump (nodule) or tenderness in your palm, at the base of the finger. This is the spot where the tendon is likely catching.

As trigger finger worsens, your finger may catch at times in a bent position and then suddenly pop straight. Eventually, the finger may not fully straighten. (Trigger finger is not the same as Dupuytren's contracture, a condition that causes thickening and shortening of the connective tissue in the palm of the hand.)

Trigger finger most often affects your middle or ring finger or your thumb. More than one finger may be affected at a time, and both hands might be involved. Triggering is usually more pronounced in the morning, while firmly grasping an object or when straightening your finger.


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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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