Trigger finger is a condition where your finger jams or gets stiff, or straightens with a painful snap. It can also affect your thumb. The tendons that bend your fingers usually glide freely through tight tunnels made by flexor tendon pulleys attached to bones in your hand. If the fibrous wall of a tunnel thickens, the tunnel becomes too tight, usually resulting in your finger jamming in a bent position.

The Procedure

What Are the Benefits of Surgery?

The aim is to allow your finger to move freely.

Are There Any Alternatives to Surgery?

A steroid injection into the base of your finger can treat the problem in up to 6 in 10 people. However, you may need more than one injection.

What Does the Operation Involve?

The operation can usually be performed under a local anaesthetic and usually takes about 20 minutes. Your surgeon will make a small cut on the palm of your hand at the base of your finger. They will cut open the roof of the fibrous tunnel that is causing the trigger finger. This allows the tendon to glide freely through the tunnel.

What Complications Can Happen?

General Complications of Any Operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Scarring of your skin

Specific Complications of This Operation

  • Numbness in your finger
  • Tenderness of the scar
  • Bowstringing, where damage to the tendon prevents you from fully straightening your finger
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your hand
Trigger finger

Following Surgery

How Soon Will I Recover?

You should be able to go home the same day. Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to normal activities. Keep your hand raised and bandaged for 2 days. It is important to gently exercise your fingers, elbow and shoulder to prevent stiffness. Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice. If your finger was stiff before the operation, it can take several months before you can move  your finger normally.



Trigger finger is a condition where your finger jams or gets stiff. If treatment with steroid injections has failed, surgery should allow your finger to move freely.

For more information on a Private Trigger Finger procedure, call New Victoria Hospital on 020 8949 9020 or use our contact form.

Keep this information document. Use it to help you if you need to talk to the healthcare team.


Author: Prof Tim Davis ChM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)
Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant healthcare team would give you.

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Mr Tony Antonios

BSc (Anatomy), MBBS, PGCertHBE, MSc (T&O), FRCS (T&O)
Orthopaedics, Upper Limb Surgery
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Miss Fiona Middleton

MBBS MA (Oxon) FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Orthopaedics, Hand & Wrist Surgery
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Mr Rupert Wharton

BM, BSc, FRCS (Tr and Orth), Dip Hand Surg (Br and Eur)
Orthopaedics, Hand & Wrist Surgery
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