What are the signs and symptoms of trigger finger (TF)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Satishchandra Kale, MD, MBBS, MBA, MCh(Orth), FRCS(Edin), FRCS(Tr&Orth); Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Signs and symptoms of TF are as follows:

  • Locking or catching during active flexion-extension activity (passive manipulation may be needed to extend the digit in the later stages)
  • Stiff digit, especially in long-standing or neglected cases
  • Pain over the distal palm
  • Pain radiating along the digit
  • Triggering on active or passive extension by the patient
  • Palpable snapping sensation or crepitus over the A1 pulley
  • Tenderness over the A1 pulley
  • Palpable nodule in the line of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS), just distal to the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint in the palm
  • Fixed-flexion deformity in late presentations, especially in the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint
  • Evidence of associated conditions (eg, rheumatoid arthritis [RA], gout)
  • Early signs of triggering in other digits (may be bilateral)

Children with trigger thumb rarely complain of pain. They usually are brought in for evaluation when aged 1-4 years, when the parent first notices a flexed posture of the thumb’s interphalangeal (IP) joint. These children often demonstrate bilateral fixed flexion contractures of the thumb by the time they present to the physician. [4] By the time the child presents to the clinic, surgical treatment is already indicated in most instances.

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!