What Makes Women More Susceptible to Trigger Finger?


Ever heard of the “bend and snap?” Picture that, but with just your finger. That’s a more amusing, less painful way to describe trigger finger, which is a condition that involves the “locking” of your finger into a bent or straight position.

If you have trigger finger, you may have experienced your finger bending or straightening with a snap or pop, and getting stuck in that position. Our Dr. Michael Russonella at North Jersey Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute explains trigger finger and why women are more likely to get this odd condition.

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger occurs when the tendons that flex your finger become inflamed, which causes pain and stiffness in your finger. This can limit the finger’s range of motion, even causing it to “lock” in either a straight or bent position. If the condition progresses without treatment, multiple fingers and your thumb may become locked.

Symptoms of trigger finger

If you think you may have trigger finger, look out for these telltale signs in the early stages:

  • Chronic soreness or tenderness in a finger or thumb
  • Clicking noises when you bend your finger
  • Stiffness in your finger
  • An unexplained lump at the base of your finger on the palm side

As trigger finger progresses, those symptoms worsen, and others arise, including:

  • Your thumb or finger being locked in a bent or straight position
  • Extreme pain when you try to move your thumb or finger out of the locked position
  • Needing to use your other hand to uncurl or bend your locked finger

Why women are more susceptible to trigger finger

Scientists aren’t completely sure yet why women tend to get trigger finger more than men.

Because trigger finger can result from repetitive gripping movements, it makes sense to think that the stereotypical activities women engage in — such as cleaning, taking care of babies, and folding clothes — could lead to trigger finger. However, trigger finger can also be the product of sports or recreational activities.

Another possible explanation is that many women work clerical and creative jobs, and excessive typing and writing may lead to trigger finger. On the other hand, many men also work those kinds of jobs, and trigger finger can also come about because of manual labor jobs.

Arthritis is also a risk factor for trigger finger, and most types of arthritis are more common in women than men. Again, experts don’t know why more women get arthritis than men.

Treating trigger finger

As with most things, treatment for trigger finger depends on how severe your case is. For moderate cases, Dr. Russonella may recommend that you:

  • Stop engaging in repetitive activities, such as writing or gripping a bat, for a few weeks
  • Wear a brace to stabilize the hand and rest your finger
  • Soak your hand in warm water to relax the tendons
  • Apply ice to your hand to reduce inflammation
  • Stretch your hands and fingers to increase range of motion
  • Compress your hand with an elastic bandage
  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication

If your trigger finger is more severe, Dr. Russonella may suggest surgery, which involves cutting the tendon sheath of the restricted tendon. Most patients follow trigger finger surgery with physical therapy.

To learn more about trigger finger or schedule a consultation, call North Jersey Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute today or request an appointment online at one of our offices in Clifton or Nutley, New Jersey.

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