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trigger finger why is my finger stuck

Why is My Finger Stuck?

by Shelia M. Tenny, OTR/L, CHTLeave a Comment

Our hands are some of the most complex and delicate structures of our body. If your fingers have ever gotten “stuck,” know this could be caused by two conditions: Dupuytren’s Contracture or Trigger Finger. These conditions can often be confused for one another. Continue reading to learn more about these conditions, their symptoms along with treatment options.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that usually develops over years. It is caused by abnormal thickening of the layer of connective tissue under the skin of the palm, initially forming a knot. Over time, this creates a thick cord that can pull one or more fingers into a bent forward position.1

Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture:2

  • A firm lump of tissue in palm, that can wrinkle the skin
  • Not being able to lay hand flat
  • Fingers pulled forward toward the palm
  • May affect both hands

Treatments for Dupuytren’s contracture:2

  • An orthosis brace can be made to prevent triggering, correct alignment and provide support
  • Surgery to remove tight tissue and cords
  • Enzyme and needle treatments are also used to divide or break down the cords in order to straighten the bent finger

Trigger Finger

The scientific name for trigger finger is stenosing tenosynovitis, meaning narrowing of the pulley, or band, that surrounds the tendons that flex the finger. When the pulley in a finger becomes too thick, it prevents the tendon from easily gliding through. When you try to straighten the finger, the tendon catches into a bent position called a “trigger,” or it can even become stuck down in a bent position.

Symptoms of trigger finger:3

  • Pain or sensitivity to pressure on the palm of the hand, at the level of the big knuckles
  • Catching or popping feeling, when the finger bends or straightens
  • Limited finger movement, when the finger gets stuck in a bent position or won’t bend at all

It is time to see seek help if your finger joint is hot and inflamed, if you have stiffness, or pain in the finger joint, or if you cannot straighten or bend a finger.4

Treatments for trigger finger:4

  • Hand therapy using instrument/tool assisted soft tissue manipulation
  • A hand therapist can make an orthosis to prevent triggering
  • Changing activities or making modifications to avoid triggering
  • Injections or surgery to release the tight bands

If symptoms from either condition continue to worsen over time or if you’re unable to perform your daily activities, it’s time to seek help from a hand therapist. Hand therapy can help ease symptoms of both and is also beneficial after surgery. Post-surgery hand therapy can help to restore hand function, perform wound care on surgical site, treatment of scar to avoid a raised or thickened scar, and orthosis fabrication to facilitate optimal positioning after surgery to prevent deformity.

Get started with an Athletico hand therapist, free assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

Physical therapy is usually the thing you are told to do after medication, x-rays or surgery. The best way to fix your pain is to start where you normally finish – with physical therapy at Athletico. Schedule a free assessment in-clinic or virtually through a secure online video chat where our team can assess your pain and provide recommended treatment options.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Illinois, O. C. (2019). Trigger Finger vs. Dupuytren’s Contracture. Retrieved from Orthopaedic Center of Southern Illinois:,medication%20or%20injection%20of%20cortisone.
2. Medicine, J. H. (2020). Dupuytren’s Contracture. Retrieved from John Hopkins Medicine:
3. ASSH. (2015). Trigger Finger. Retrieved from The American Society for Surgery of the Hand:
4. Staff, M. C. (2017, October 24). Trigger Finger. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic:

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About the Author:
Shelia Tenny is an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist. She is passionate about helping those with hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain, including arthritis, sprains, strains, fractures, tendon, and nerve injuries. Sheila has certifications in ergonomic assessments in the workplace and ASTYM, which uses specialized handheld tools to manipulate soft tissue to facilitate healing and tissue regeneration.

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