Conditions Treated

Trigger thumb

What is it?

Trigger thumb refers to catching or locking which occurs when you bend or straighten the thumb, particularly with pinching and gripping. In the palm of the hand there are pulleys or tunnels which hold the tendons close to the bone, assisting flexion of the fingers and thumb. The thumb has two pulleys. When the thumb tendon or it’s sheath becomes inflamed it cannot glide properly under the A1 pulley and it can even become stuck in a bent position.

Trigger thumb can be caused by overuse or repetitive thumb movement. Other contributing factors include diabetes, arthritis, or increased swelling in the hand.


Clicking or popping sound when flexing and extending the thumb or thickening where the tendon catches. Pain on the palm side at the base of the thumb or on the end joint of the thumb.

In severe cases the thumb locks and you may have to use the other hand to straighten it.

A hand therapist can guide conservative management of this condition including making a custom made orthosis, and activity modification.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book an appointment.