Trigger Fingers: 5 Common Causes and Symptoms

Trigger Fingers: 5 Common Causes and Symptoms

In today’s times, there are certain medical conditions that develop in people due to accidents or mishaps, exposure to toxins, and lack of proper protocols at workplaces and public areas alike. Trigger finger is a part of these health issues suffered by millions of people across the world. In its most basic form, the trigger finger is a condition in which an individual’s finger or thumb gets locked upon bending. The technical term for a trigger finger is stenosing tenosynovitis. The occurrence of a locked finger or thumb takes place when there is inflammation present between a finger’s tendon and sheath. As a result, the patient is unable to “unlock” their finger. 

It has been observed that trigger fingers are typically observed among people with hobbies or work that involves repetitive gripping motions on a regular basis. When it comes to an employee’s medical expense for treating her/his trigger fingers, the employer is responsible for ensuring that a smooth recovery can take place. This is mainly because the recurrent stress caused to their employee is a part of the job that they were assigned by the organization. This personal injury needs to be proved by the employee medically so that they are eligible for workers’ compensation. To have a better understanding of trigger fingers, mentioned below are its common causes, symptoms, and treatment: 

5 Common Causes 

Trigger fingers can occur in people from all walks of life. Whether you are working in a construction company or suffer from a pre-existing medical condition, a digit of your finger or thumb can get locked. Here are the five most common causes of trigger fingers observed in human beings: 

  1. Operating Machinery – Power tools used by workers in various industries can lead to the regular occurrence of contact friction. This vibration motion can cause an employee’s finger or thumb to bend and lock. 
  2. Playing Musical Instruments – Drums, guitars, violins, and several other musical instruments are played by performing repetitive motions. People working with a music company, band, or orchestra can suffer from trigger fingers because of forced movement of their fingers and thumb. 
  3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – A very common medical condition, carpal tunnel syndrome can present itself in people who work on their laptops or PCs for long periods of time. The continuous typing on these machines can lead to pain and numbness in their hands. When this condition becomes severe, trigger fingers can be an added medical condition. 
  4. Rheumatoid Arthritis – This autoimmune disease causes wear-and-tear injuries in a person’s joints. Since the patient’s immune system attacks itself, inflammation in any body part is possible. Trigger fingers occur in patients who have a severe attack of this medical condition. 
  5. Diabetes – In this life-long disease, an individual’s blood sugar levels must be monitored on a daily basis. The bond between glucose and protein present in the tissues of a finger or thumb cannot be reserved. This leads to overgrowth of the tendon sheath that locks the finger in a bent position. 


The signs of trigger fingers can progress from mild to severe over a short period of time. This is based on the recurrent finger movements of an individual who might not get worker’s compensation from her/his employer on time. The following symptoms are exhibited in 40- and 50-year-old patients: 

  • Formation of a lump on or near a finger 
  • Stiffness and loss of movement in the digit of a finger
  • Popping/locking sound while making movement with a finger or thumb 
  • Inability to move fingers from a bent position, especially in the mornings 


Diagnosing trigger fingers can be done with a basic physical exam by a reputed health practitioner. There are no elaborate tests required to understand the severity of this medical condition. There are anti-inflammatory medications that can be prescribed to ease the patient’s pain. Along with this, the medical expert can advise the patient to wear a splint on the affected finger during the night. Therapy, in the form of stretching exercises, is provided in cases when the pain is unbearable. Patients who do not get relief from these treatments are advised to get surgery. 

Since the medical treatment and recovery process of trigger fingers requires a significant amount of expenditure, employees can seek worker’s compensation from their employer. This can be only possible for people who have trigger fingers caused by workplace stress or accident. 

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