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Trigger finger release surgery

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger happens when your finger becomes locked in a bent position and you’re unable to straighten it out.  It can cause pain, general discomfort and reduced capabilities of the hand.  

Trigger finger does not necessarily require treatment; however, you may find it a nuisance. 

Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

Symptoms of trigger finger

You may have trigger finger if you experience: 

  • Your fingers becoming “stuck” when bent 
  • Stiffness or “clicking” when moving your fingers 
  • Pain at the base of the fingers and thumb 
  • Swollen fingers. 

Causes of trigger finger

Trigger finger is caused when you experience a problem with your tendon or sheath (the thin layer of tissue surrounding the tendon) within the finger. They may have become swollen and this can cause your finger to get locked in a bent position. 

The exact cause of trigger finger is unknown. However, research has suggested that people living with diabetes and finger arthritis are more likely to experience trigger finger. 

What is trigger finger release surgery?

If you experience a trigger finger, your doctor may first recommend wearing a splint to prevent your finger from moving. Alternatively, steroid injections may be offered as a treatment to reduce swelling and improve mobility of your finger.  

However, if this does not work, your doctor may recommend trigger finger release surgery. 

There are two main types of surgery for trigger finger: 

  • Open trigger finger release surgery 
  • Percutaneous trigger finger release surgery. 

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, these types of surgery may not be recommended as they there’s a risk that they may cause your finger to drift sideways. Instead, a surgery known as a tenosynovectomy may be required. This alternative surgery involves removing part of the tendon sheath to enable the tendon to move again. 

What Happens during trigger finger release surgery?

Open trigger finger release surgery

For this surgery, you will be given local anaesthetic, injected into the palm of your hand.  

A small incision will be made in the palm of your hand along one of the natural creases. This is done to increase the chances of your scar being less noticeable. The surgeon will cut through the tendon sheath to make it wider. Finally, the wound will be closed with stitches and covered with a light bandage. 

Percutaneous trigger finger release surgery

As with open surgery, you will receive local anaesthetic. Instead of making an incision in your palm, a needle will be inserted into the base of your finger and used access the tendon. 

This type of surgery does not involve making an incision, so you will not have a wound or scar. However, there are a few more risks and it may be less effective. Important nerves and arteries are very close to the tendon sheath and may be damaged. For this reason, open surgery is usually the preferred method. 

Preparing for your surgery

Your consultant will explain how to prepare for your procedure. You don’t usually need to make any special preparations other than wearing comfortable clothes with easy access to the area you’re having treated.  

You should let your doctor know in advance about any medication you are taking. For example, if you take blood thinners, you may be at higher risk of complications. Similarly, it’s also important to let your doctor know if you have a health condition that affects the way your blood clots, such as haemophilia. 

After your procedure, it’s recommended that you get a lift home. If you’ve had a local anaesthetic, you may be a little numb, so it may be challenging to drive. You will need to rest the affected area for a day or two after the treatment. 

If your finger was very stiff prior to your surgery, you may need hand therapy to loosen it afterwards. You may be offered physiotherapy or occupational therapy to support. 

Complication from trigger finger release surgery

This surgery is low risk, but you should be aware of these potential complications: 

  • A tender scar 
  • Infection 
  • Stiffness or pain in the finger 
  • Nerve damage causing numbness (this may be permanent) 
  • Incorrect positioning of the tendon 
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which causes pain and swelling in your hand after surgery. Normally, this resolves itself after a few months, but it can cause permanent issues. 


Please call us to discuss pricing at your local clinic.

  • Trigger finger release surgery £850.00


Your hand surgeon may recommend you see a hand therapist or do specific exercises at home. Most people feel able to drive within five days. Avoid sports for two or three weeks, until the wound is healed and you have grip strength. 

For 1 to 2 weeks after surgery, avoid using your hand. This includes lifting things heavier than 1 to 2 pounds or doing repeated finger or hand movements, such as typing, using a computer mouse, washing windows, vacuuming, or chopping food. Do not use power tools, and avoid other activities that make your hand vibrate. 

You can start driving again as soon as you feel it’s to do so. Normally, this is after around three to five days. You may be able to write and use a computer straight away. 

You can play sports after around two or three weeks, as long as your wound has healed and you can grip again. 

When you can return to work will depend on the type of job you have and the day-to-day activities you carry out. If you have a desk job or a role that involves light manual duties, you may not need any time off. If your job involves manual labour, you may need around a month off. 

If you’ve had surgery on several fingers, your recovery period might be longer. 

If you’ve had percutaneous surgery rather than open trigger finger release surgery, your recovery period may be shorter because you will not have a wound on your palm. 

Ways to pay

Paying for yourself

Healthshare provides access to the highest quality care giving you the opportunity to access the very best treatment, facilities and consultants. Healthcare the way you want it, when you need it.

Spread the cost

A fixed term loan, provided by our partners Chrysalis Finance, will allow you to spread the cost of treatment and allow you to pay in monthly instalments over a time period to suit you.

Medical insurance

If you have private medical insurance you can get referred to a Healthshare Clinic for the very best treatment. Contact your insurance provider to pre-authorise your treatment today.

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