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Care and Treatment for Trigger Finger

Why Choose Treatment for Trigger Finger at University of Colorado Hospital?

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University  of Colorado Hospital has the only Hand Center in the region that is part of an academic medical center.

Our Hand Center doctors have written textbook chapters on hand diseases and conditions, including trigger finger, and participate in research projects. They all hold Certificates of Added Quality in Surgery of the Hand and practice hand surgery full time.

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is a condition that causes one of the fingers or the thumb to catch in a bent position. Often, the finger or thumb will straighten with a snap, similar to a trigger being pulled and then released. In more severe cases, the finger or thumb becomes locked in a bent position.

Trigger finger is caused by narrowing of the sheath that houses the tendon in the affected finger. Trigger finger affects women more than men and is more common in people with diabetes. It is also more common in people who perform repetitive gripping actions in their work or hobbies.

Patient Education

Living with Trigger Finger

As trigger finger worsens, symptoms will progress from stiffness in the finger, to the finger catching and then popping straight. In time, the finger might not straighten entirely.


Trigger finger most commonly affects the thumb or middle or ring finger. However, it can affect any finger. It can affect more than one finger at a time, and can affect both hands. The symptoms generally are worse in the morning while gripping an object or straightening your finger.


As symptoms progress, trigger finger can be painful and can interfere with your ability to perform everyday tasks. In these cases, it is best to seek appropriate medical treatment.


Getting a Second Opinion about Trigger Finger

If you experience stiffness or catching in a finger joint, you should be seen by a doctor with special training in hand surgery. If a finger joint is hot and inflamed, seek immediate medical care. This might be a sign of an infection.


Additional Trigger Finger Resources


American Society for Surgery of the Hand 
Its mission is to advance the science and practice of hand surgery through education, research and advocacy on behalf of patients and practitioners.


American Association for Hand Surgery 
Its mission is to foster and to promote the highest quality of hand care. It does this through the development and sponsorship of educational programs related to the hand and the upper extremity, through communications with health care professionals and the public, and through the endowment of research.

Tests and Treatments


A physical examination and patient’s report of symptoms is the only way to diagnose trigger finger.




Steroid injection. A small amount of steroid is injected into the triggering site. This reduces inflammation and allows the finger to move smoothly.


Surgery. If you reach the maximum number of steroid injections and still experience symptoms, surgery to release the tunnel that houses tendons in the fingers or thumb is recommended.

Visit our Hand Center Specialists

Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion (AOP), 4th Floor
(720) 848-0485


All of our hand surgeons are board certified in either orthopedic surgery or plastic surgery.