"Trigger finger," or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition where the tendons at the base of a finger become irritated and swollen. They may develop small lumps similar to scar tissue. As the swollen, bumpy tendons pass through their sheath, a tunnel of connective tissue that holds them in place, they become stuck. The finger gets frozen in a bent, curled position. If forced, the finger can be straightened. When this happens, the stuck tendons slip through all at once, often causing a popping or clicking noise. Many cases of trigger finger respond well to non-surgical treatments such as NSAIDs, splints, or injected steroids. However, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
During trigger finger surgery, the tendons at the base of the affected finger are identified and the sheath is opened up, allowing the tendons to move freely without getting stuck. This can be done through a tiny incision in the palm, or even without an incision at all, using the tip of a needle. Most people are able to move their fingers normally, bending and straightening their finger without catching or popping, right away after surgery. Although you may have some pain and stiffness as you heal, recovery is quick.