Trigger Thumb


The Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program provides comprehensive care involving occupational and physical therapy, splinting, casting, and reconstructive surgeries for infants, children, and adolescents with complex congenital, neuromuscular, sports-related oncologic and traumatic upper limb conditions

You can have peace of mind knowing that the skilled experts in our Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program have treated thousands of babies and children with many hand conditions. We provide expert diagnosis, treatment, and care, and we benefit from our advanced clinical and scientific research.

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.

How we care for trigger thumb

The Orthopedic Center’s Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program and our Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery's Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Program have treated thousands of babies and children with trigger thumb and other hand problems. We are experienced treating conditions that range from routine to highly complex, and can provide your child with expert diagnosis, treatment, and care. We also offer the benefits of some of the most advanced clinical and scientific research in the world.

Our Orthopedic Center is nationally known as the preeminent center for the care of children and young adults with a wide range of developmental, congenital, neuromuscular, sports related, traumatic, and post-traumatic problems of the musculoskeletal system.

Our Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery is one of the largest and most experienced pediatric plastic and oral surgery centers anywhere in the world. We provide comprehensive care and treatment for a wide variety of congenital and acquired conditions, including hand deformities.