Conditions Treated

Trigger Thumbs and Fingers

Trigger thumb refers to a thumb that catches or clicks as the tip of the thumb moves from a bent to a straight position. At times, your child’s thumb may become locked in a flexed position. In about one third of cases both thumbs are affected.

Drawing by Luke, age 13

What causes trigger thumbs?

They occur when the fibrous tunnel under which your child’s thumb tendon normally glides is too tight. Often this is made worse by a swelling in the tendon itself which can often be felt as a lump at the base of thumb in your child’s palm. Trigger thumbs are not associated with other hereditary or congenital disorders.

How are trigger thumbs diagnosed?

Through a thorough medical history and careful physical examination of your child.

How are trigger thumbs treated?

Trigger thumbs may spontaneously get better in a small percentage of children, but the chances of this decrease with increasing age. Surgery is recommended for thumbs that continue to trigger in children who are over age 1 year. Surgery involves releasing the fibrous band that is stopping the thumb tendon from gliding normally.

What’s my child’s long-term outlook?

After surgery your child will have to wear a bulky bandage for a week. After which time the dressing will be minimal and your child will be encouraged to use their thumbs normally.

 

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