Trigger Finger

The hand therapists at Action Rehab are experienced in the assessment and treatment of trigger finger injuries. With a reputation endorsed by sporting organisations like the Melbourne Football Club,  Action Rehab is the smart choice for treating your trigger finger.

  • No referral needed
  • Nonsurgical treatment prioritised where possible
  • Experts in treating elite athletes and Rowers with Trigger Finger
  • Conveniently located across Melbourne and Gippsland.

Call 1300 762 227  to make an appointment

Or click the button below to schedule an appointment online

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What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is a common hand condition characterised by symptoms including clicking, locking or pain in the affected finger. It is seen in about two to three percent of the general population and can be very common in diabetic patients, pregnancy, rowing and repetitive gripping activities. Therefore, trigger finger makes up a significant proportion of our hand therapy patients.

Trigger finger is where the flexor (bending) tendons get caught in their sheath or pulley as they try to straighten. This presents as pain, then clicking and in severe cases locking or “triggering”. The exact cause of trigger finger is widely debated and still relatively unknown.

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View the video below to learn more about what causes trigger finger in pregnancy and how Action Rehab protects the trigger and stops it from getting more inflamed. As explained by Action Rehab founder Ben Cunningham.

Trigger Finger and Pregnancy

Trigger finger can occur during or after pregnancy. This is commonly associated with swelling that can settle in the hands later in pregnancy or it could be due to damage (scarring) of the tendons that might have occurred after the birth of the baby. Trigger finger during pregnancy can be annoying and painful.

Diagnosing Trigger Finger

Trigger finger will start as just a little swelling or an inability to fully bend the fingers or fully straighten them. This is because swelling starts to settle in the knuckles of the fingers around the A1 or first pulley in the hand. The knuckles need to be stable and in some cases especially repetitive gripping a person might lose this stability and then become swollen and develop a trigger finger.

The sooner your trigger finger is diagnosed the better the outcome and the less likelihood there is for you to have a steroid injection or surgery. Seeking early hand therapy assessment and advice is critical to a good outcome from trigger finger. Trigger finger will change from just a swelling to a clicking and then a locking in many patients. The sooner you are assessed and diagnosed by a Hand Therapist at Action Rehab then the better the outcome.

A mother holding a newborn baby
Group of rowers rowing together

Trigger Finger Treatment

Trigger finger treatment and management is really simple. Generally the hand therapist at Action Rehab will establish the cause of your trigger finger and then provide you with a small water resistant ring brace. This brace is small and functional and protects the knuckle of your trigger finger. Once you have settled the symptoms of trigger finger in the brace then the Action Rehab hand therapist will advise you on a stretching and strengthening program that will prevent the trigger finger from recurrence.

Does Trigger Finger require surgery?

Generally no Trigger Finger should not require surgery but if you leave it too long or if you have a series of injections without appropriate Hand Therapy then you may require surgery. The way to avoid surgery for trigger finger is to see an Action Rehab Hand Therapist or Physiotherapist as soon as possible to have your finger assessed and then appropriately treated. This will minimise the need for surgery.

A delay in seeking hand therapy treatment may result in the need for surgery.

Hand exercises with elastic equipment

Fig 1: Incorrect Treatment: A metal splint being incorrectly used to treat a finger trigger injury. It does not allow a full range of motion, nor does it protect the trigger.

Trigger finger with incorrect treatment with large metal brace

Fig 2: Correct Treatment: A correct trigger finger splint to treat injury. It is lightweight, water resistant and allows full range of motion whilst protecting the trigger, preventing further inflammation.

Trigger finger with correct type of brace for treatment
Close up of trigger finger in motion

Choosing The Right Therapist For Trigger Finger

It is important when you have trigger finger that you choose Action Rehab for your treatment. Therapists at Action Rehab are experts in the assessment and treatment of trigger finger.

Your Action Rehab therapist will not suggest a steroid injection unless it is clinically appropriate to do so and it will be in conjunction with a splinting, stretching and stabilisation program not just an injection in isolation.

This is why it is important to see a Hand Therapist at Action Rehab for your trigger finger.

Known for providing treatment for trigger finger and other hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries Action Rehab are the hand therapists that Melbourne trusts.

To make an appointment, enquire, or find your closest of our 12 locations call us on 1300 762 227 or schedule an appointment online.


This is a free service where you will have a consultation with our senior therapist, Ben Cunningham. In this appointment Ben will advise management strategies and if you request ongoing care then this will be charged as per our current rates. Worksafe and TAC clients will not be charged personally for any consultations.

Trigger Finger FAQs

How common is Trigger Finger?
A. Trigger finger is very common and can occur in up to 50% of rowers, 10% of pregnancies and 3-4% of the general population. It is one of the most common conditions seen at Action Rehab.

How is Trigger Finger caused?
A. Trigger finger can be caused by repetitive gripping such as rowing or by swelling in the case of pregnancy, or it can also be caused by diabetes.

How long does it take to recover from Trigger Finger?
A. It can take a long time to recover from Trigger finger if it is not assessed and treated by an expert Hand Therapist. It is really important to seek treatment early and not wait for the locking because the sooner it is prevented from locking then the sooner it improves.

Does Trigger Finger require surgery?
A. Generally Trigger finger does not require surgery but if it is poorly treated or has a series of steroid injections without splinting, stretching and stabilisation exercises then it may require surgery.

Is Trigger Finger a serious condition?
A. Yes. It is very debilitating when your Trigger finger gets stuck in your palm and in extreme cases it can get stuck and not straighten so early assessment by a Hand Therapist is really critical.

Will Trigger Finger go away if left untreated?
A. No, if it is untreated it will deteriorate and get worse, so seek early treatment for your Trigger finger from a Hand Therapist at Action Rehab.

Ben Cunningham Director at Action Rehab Hand Therapy

This information has been verified by Action Rehab director Ben Cunningham.

Ben Cunningham is currently the Hand Therapist at Melbourne Football Club (AFL) and the director of Action Rehab. Ben has over 20 years’ experience providing hand and upper limb therapy, including working in the United Kingdom at the Queen Victoria Hospital and as the senior clinician at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.


Action Rehab provide assessment and treatment for all conditions relating to the upper limb, include scaphoid fractures. Come and see our highly qualified and friendly staff today at a location convenient to you.