What is trigger finger surgery?

Your hands have many tendons, tissues and bones working together to make your fingers move. There are bands of tissues known as pulleys that hold the tendons close to the bone. As you move your finger, these tendons move through the pulley.

If you have trigger finger, one of the pulleys thickens or inflames. It becomes hard for the tendon to glide through. As a result, you experience a catching or popping sensation along with some pain. In severe cases, your finger can get stuck in a bent position.

Trigger finger surgery (tenolysis) is the procedure to repair the pulley. The doctor releases the pulley so that the tendon can move back and forth with ease. There are several non-surgical treatments for trigger finger that doctors try before resorting to surgery.

What to expect from trigger finger surgery

Your doctor does trigger finger surgery in an outpatient setting, meaning that you won't have to stay in the hospital and you can go home the same day. Your doctor numbs your hand with a local anesthetic rather than putting you to sleep.

Your doctor makes a small incision in the palm of your hand at the base of your finger. From there, they can cut the portion of the pulley blocking the tendon's movements.
The popping or clicking sounds are the first symptoms to go away. While there may be some stiffness following your surgery, you should regain movement in your finger as it heals. You many need physical therapy for your hand to restore any lost functions.

Common conditions requiring trigger finger surgery

Trigger finger is the condition that requires this procedure. Some conditions make it more likely for you to develop trigger finger. These include:

  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

While these conditions can increase your chances of developing trigger finger, the exact cause is still unknown.