by Jones P


Trigger finger is a condition that causes a finger or thumb to be locked in a bent position. Trigger finger can limit the use of the hand and make it hard to grip. It is also painful.

Triger finger release is a surgery to help the fingers return to normal.

Reasons for Procedure

Tendons of the finger pass through a tendon sheath. The sheath should help the tendon glide smoothly. Trigger finger happens when this sheath is too tight or thick. Surgery can help to loosen the sheath.

A trigger finger release may be done if other treatment has not helped.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will talk to you about problems that may happen such as:

  • Stiffness in the finger
  • Problems like crooked finger or clicking and locking are not fixed
  • Problems moving finger through full range of motion
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby nerves or tendons

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Other treatment, like injections, will be tried first.

Before the procedure:

  • Let the doctor know if you take any medicines, herbs, or supplements. Some may cause problems during surgery or recovery.


Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area, but you will be awake.

Description of Procedure

There are 2 types of trigger release surgeries:

  • Open release—A small cut is made in the hand. A cut is made in the tendon sheath to make it a little wider. Stitches will be used to close the cut.
  • Percutaneous release—A needle is passed through the skin. The needle opens the tendon. A bandage may be placed over the puncture site.

Immediately After Procedure

The doctor may ask you to move your finger.

How Long Will It Take?

The surgery will take about 20 minutes.

How Much Will It Hurt?

Medicine will numb the area during surgery. You may feel some tugging. Your finger and hand will be sore after the surgery. Medicine and keeping the hand elevated will help discomfort.

Post-procedure Care

It may take 4 to 6 months for swelling and stiffness to go away. Therapy may be needed to improve hand movement.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if there is:

  • Pain that cannot be managed or is getting worse
  • Fever, chills
  • Increased drainage or pus
  • Reopening of wound

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.



Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 


Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety 

Canadian Physiotherapy Association 


Trigger Finger. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Orthoinfo website. Available at: Updated March 2018. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Trigger finger. American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: Accessed June 5, 2020.

Trigger Finger (Stenosing Tenosynovitis) in Adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  . Updated July 26, 2019. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
  • Review Date: 08/2020
  • Update Date: 10/09/2020