Trigger Thumb | Symptoms & Causes

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.