Trigger finger is a type of tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendons which can result from overuse. It occurs when the tendon sheath becomes swollen or thickened within the flexor tendon pulley system preventing the tendon from sliding freely. In some cases, the tendon catches and then releases. This motion is similar to the action of releasing a trigger of a gun.
The swelling and irritation is usually first treated with anti-inflammatory medication or a steroid injection. If the condition does not respond to conservative treatment or if the case is severe, surgery to release the tendon may be performed.
The procedure involves making a small cut in the first pulley overlying the inflamed tendon. This procedure is done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia with the patient free to resume normal activities in a few days.