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What is trigger finger?

Have you begun to notice that one of the fingers in your hand bends and straightens in a more rigid fashion than others? Are you someone who works a job that requires gripping and holding things on a daily basis? If you answered “yes” to both questions, you may be suffering from a condition called trigger finger or are at risk of it.

Trigger Finger refers to a condition wherein one of the fingers in a person’s hand becomes stuck at a certain position. The finger bends or straightens only with a snap, similar to how a trigger of a gun is pulled and released. The scientific name for the condition is “stenosing tenosynovitis.” At the Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group, we are the premier San Francisco trigger finger surgery specialists. With decades of experience under our belt, we are confident we can achieve the results you are looking for.

Why does trigger finger occur?

It occurs when the space in the sheath surrounding the tendon becomes narrow due to inflammation. In severe cases, the finger gets locked in a bent position.

You are at high risk of trigger finger if you engage in gripping actions with your fingers on a regular and repetitive basis. You are also at higher risk of developing the condition if you have diabetes. Studies have also shown that women have a higher rate of developing trigger finger than men do.

Treatment of trigger finger

Trigger finger treatment in San Francisco can vary based on severity. However, Dr. Joshua Gordon and Dr. Leonard Gordon at the Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group will help you determine the ideal treatment based on a thorough diagnosis. The doctors are orthopedic experts with a combined expertise spanning 40 years. Their results speak for themselves, but just know that you are in good hands with them.


The signs or symptoms also vary according to severity, but, typically, include the following:

  • Stiffness in a certain finger, especially during the mornings.
  • Finger ends up getting locked in a bent position and pops back up with a snap.
  • The presence of a nodule in the palm, at the base of the finger that’s been affected.
  • The affected finger gets permanently locked.
  • The moving of the finger takes place with a clicking or popping sensation.

Trigger finger can affect any finger on either hand. In fact, it can occur for more than just one finger. In some cases, this may even include fingers on both hands. The triggering is very noticeable during the morning, especially when an object is held or gripped. If you find that you’re showing the symptoms of trigger finger, please get in touch with Dr. Joshua Gordon and Dr. Leonard Gordon at the Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group. If the finger joint appears inflamed or hot, it can indicate the possibility of infection.

Don't think twice about consulting Dr. Joshua Gordon or Dr. Leonard Gordon when you start to notice numbness, pain, stiffness, and a decrease in the ability to catch or hold things. Give us a call right away if you are looking for trigger finger surgery in San Francisco. We'll be able to answer your questions and help you schedule a consultation.


Tendons are fibrous cords that are attached to the bone. Each tendon is then protected by a sheath. Now, when this protective sheath becomes inflamed or irritated, you end up with trigger finger. This is characterized by a significant reduction in the smooth motion of the tendon via the sheath.
As the sheath becomes irritated more and more, there will be thickening, scarring and the development of bumps or nodules in the tendon. These nodules or bumps inhibit the smooth motion of the tendon even further.

What risks are involved?

There are certain risk factors that have been identified for trigger finger. For instance, repeated gripping can cause trigger finger. Repeated gripping is a common feature in jobs and hobbies that involve the constant use of one’s hands to hold or grip things. Pre-existing health conditions have also been associated with trigger finger. People diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are at relatively greater risk of developing the condition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery is also known to be associated with trigger finger. The condition is said to be a complication resulting from the procedure. This is especially noticeable in the first 6 months after the surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Trigger finger treatment in San Francisco can be divided into two categories – non-surgical and surgical. At the Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group, the father-son duo of Dr. Joshua Gordon and Dr. Leonard Gordon will carry out a detailed diagnosis to determine which one of the two broader treatment options apply to you. The non-surgical treatments are offered for less severe cases. One such treatment is rest. Just resting the hands and avoiding activities that cause or aggravate the condition is enough in some cases. The second non-surgical treatment option is splinting. Splinting can help the finger stay straight for extended periods of time and ease the inflammation.

Then, there are exercises that one can do to help minimize stiffness, which can help improve the range of motion of the affected finger. Medications are also prescribed to treat trigger finger. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. However, medication is prescribed mainly for reducing inflammation and pain.

Finally, the doctor may prescribe steroid injections. Cortisone or corticosteroid functions as an anti-inflammatory agent, which can be injected into the sheath that covers the tendon in the affected finger. The injected steroid then works toward resolving the triggering. The effects tend to become noticeable in a few days or weeks. If the first injection doesn’t improve things, a second injection may be prescribed. However steroid injections are known to be less effective in patients with diabetes. Plus, there is also the risk of an increase in blood-sugar levels, which is something that needs to be kept in mind. Even so, steroid injections can work well-enough to prevent surgery in such patients.

Surgical intervention

If none of the above-mentioned non-surgical treatments work, surgery is the only option. The objective of surgical treatment for trigger finger is to get rid of the locking or catching. If that can be eliminated, the full, natural movement of the affected finger can be restored. This means reducing the inflammation around the tendon sheath and the flexor tendon.

The procedure itself goes by the name of tenolysis or trigger finger release. Here, the surgeon will try to work towards releasing the A1 pulley, which inhibits the movement of the flexor tendon. Once the A1 pulley is released, the flexor tendon will regain its ability to glide through the tendon sheath with greater ease. The surgery for trigger finger is carried out in an outpatient setting. It generally requires only the use of a local anesthetic for numbing the target area. The procedure is performed in two ways. The doctor will make a small incision in the palm or use the tip of a needle. Irrespective of the method used, the goal is to release the A1 pulley, which is then divided to promote the smooth movement of the flexor tendon. Pulleys do perform important functions in the hand, which can raise concerns for the average patient. However, releasing the A1 pulley has not been found to cause any severe complications. A significant majority of patients who undergo surgery for trigger finger report excellent results and 0 complications.

Are you suffering from trigger finger? If you are, please get in touch with Dr. Joshua Gordon or Dr. Leonard Gordon at the Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group.

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CALL: 415-578-6126

Address: 2299 Post Street, Suite 103
San Francisco, CA 94115