Trigger Thumb Symptoms & Causes

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Contact the Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program

  • 1-617-355-6021
  • International: +01-617-355-5209
  • Visit our Locations

How common are trigger thumbs?

No one knows exactly how common this condition is. Researchers estimate that trigger thumbs make up about 2 percent of all hand problems in growing children.

While often referred to as "congenital" trigger thumbs, many studies of newborns show that this problem does not appear at the time a child is born. In about 30 percent of children with trigger thumb, both thumbs are affected.

What causes trigger thumbs?

   •   Trigger thumbs occur by chance and are not associated with other hereditary or congenital disorders.
   •   They’re caused when a fibrous band under which your child’s thumb tendon normally glides is too tight. This
       prevents an easy gliding motion and results in a swollen, inflamed tendon.
   •   When the tendon becomes inflamed, it’s difficult (or impossible) for your child to fully extend his thumb.

What are the symptoms of a trigger thumb?

Your child will have a flexed, or bent, thumb.

   •   Early on, your child will be able to extend the thumb, though often this is accompanied by pain, swelling or a
       noticeable clicking sound.
   •   In the later stages, your child’s thumb will remain in a flexed position.
   •   Often a bump can felt at the base of the thumb in your child’s palm.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

Close