Symptoms and Signs of Trigger Finger (Stenosing Flexor Tenosynovitis)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Trigger Finger (Stenosing Flexor Tenosynovitis)

Trigger finger (also termed stenosing flexor tenosynovitis) is a form of tendinitis when a finger becomes fixed in a flexed position, like the index finger is pulling a trigger of a gun. Signs and symptoms of trigger finger may start out as mild but can progress to more severe symptoms. For example, it can start as finger pain extending from the finger’s base to the finger tip, stiffness in the morning, tenderness and/or a nodule in the palm where the base of the affected finger attaches; with progression, the finger may emit sounds of popping, snapping or cracking as the finger straightens, an inability to fully flex the finger and/or the affected finger locks in a flexed position that needs the opposite hand to pull it straight.

The cause of trigger finger is inflammation of the tendon that bends the finger. Any problem that causes inflammation of the tendon (repeated tight gripping of vibrating machinery, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, for example) can be a risk factor for trigger finger development.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.