Trigger finger release

Trigger finger is a common condition where your finger or thumb catches or locks as it bends towards your palm. You may experience discomfort, clicking and stiffness, and small lumps often appear at the base of your finger or thumb.

The causes are still generally unknown, but certain conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can be a contributing factor. Women and those over 40 are also more likely to develop the condition.


You may find that your trigger finger heals without intervention. But if not, then medication, injections or splinting (attaching the affected finger to a splint) can all help. If the condition persists, you may require surgery.

There are two types of trigger finger release surgery. The type of surgery you need will depend on your condition, and your consultant will discuss this with you.

Open trigger finger release surgery

During open surgery, your consultant will make a small incision into your palm to reach your tendon. They will cut the ligament where the tendon is catching, which will release the tendon.

Percutaneous trigger finger surgery

During percutaneous surgery, your consultant will insert a needle into the base of your affected thumb or finger to slice the ligament. This type of surgery doesn’t require any incisions, leaving no scarring or wounds behind.

Both procedures take around 20 minutes and normally use a local anaesthetic.


You should be able to move your finger immediately after surgery, but it may be sore or tender. Dressings can be removed after a few days, and full movement will return within a fortnight.


EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare. 

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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