Trigger thumb overview

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Trigger thumb in infants and young children occurs because of a size mismatch between the tendon and the tendon sheath that surrounds it. This can cause the thumb to be stuck in a bent position.

Key points

  • Trigger thumb refers to a thumb that catches or gets stuck in a bent position.
  • Some children can bend and straighten the thumb, however straightening can cause a clicking sensation caused by the tendon popping in and out of the tendon sheath. This can feel painful.
  • Trigger thumb is very common in children and, in a small percentage of children, can resolve on its own. However, many children will require surgical treatment.
  • Diagnosis involves a physical examination.
Last updated: July 10th 2023