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Trigger finger/ thumb release


A trigger finger or thumb is due to a problem with one of the tendons, causing the finger to jerk or snap when it is extended. This happens because an area of swelling on the tendon makes it hard for it to glide smoothly within its designated position in the hand (the tendon sheath). A vicious cycle of catching and swelling then occurs. The finger may sometimes become ‘locked’ in the bent position.


  • Type of anaesthetic
    Local anaesthetic
    Length of surgery
    20-30 min

  • Nights in hospital
    0 nights (day case)


Not usually necessary.


A steroid injection into the tendon sheath may reduce the swelling of the tendon, sufficient to break the vicious cycle and allow everything settle down. In other cases, surgical release is recommended. Under local anaesthetic, a small incision is made in the palm of the hand, and the tight band of tissue overlying the tendon released. You will be asked to bend and straighten your finger during surgery, so that I can confirm that the release is complete. It is important to keep your hand moving from day one, in order to reduce scar formation and prevent stiffness.

Your occupation, hobbies, and certain other factors will determine the amount of time you will need off work and your overall recovery time. This will be discussed with you at the time of your consultation