How are trigger finger or trigger thumb treated?

For mild cases, the first step is to rest the finger(s) or thumb and limit or avoid the activities that are causing symptoms. Sometimes a splint may be used on the affected finger(s) to keep the joint from moving. If symptoms continue, anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, may be prescribed or steroid injection(s) may be considered.

If the condition does not respond to non-surgical treatments or continues to recur, surgery may be recommended. The surgery is done under local anesthesia (you will be awake but may be sedated for comfort) and does not require a hospital stay.

During the surgery, a tiny cut is made in the sheath through which the tendons pass. Cutting the sheath widens the space around the tendons of the affected finger(s) or thumb. This allows the tendon to slide more easily through the sheath. The surgery helps restore the affected finger(s) or thumb’s ability to bend and straighten without pain or stiffness.

Recovery time following surgery is typically only a couple of weeks. However, recovery times vary, depending on your age, general health, and how long the symptoms have been present.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/30/2019.


  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Trigger Finger. Accessed 5/1/2019.
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Trigger Finger. Accessed 5/1/2019.
  • American Association for Hand Surgery. Trigger Finger FAQ. Accessed 5/1/2019.

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