Trigger fingers and thumbs are characterized by the inability to flex or extend the fingers smoothly. All fingers can be affected, but the ring finger is most often involved.
Triggering of digits in both hands is also common and occurs more frequently in middle-aged women than in men, but can be seen even in infancy. The sensation experienced with inability to comfortably make a fist or extend the fingers adequately is described by most patients as a painful snapping, which often makes them reluctant to make a full fist.
Even if only one digit is involved, hand function can be seriously compromised. This is especially true if the triggering is so pronounced that it locks the finger or thumb in flexion.
Fair majority of triggering fingers and thumbs can be treated successfully with corticosteroid injections and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgical release is generally indicated when non-operative treatment fails. Percutaneous A1 pulley release can now be performed safely under local anesthesia.