Trigger fingers and thumb: when to splint, inject, or operate

J Hand Surg Am. 1992 Jan;17(1):110-3. doi: 10.1016/0363-5023(92)90124-8.


Fifty trigger fingers were treated by splinting of the metacarpophalangeal joint at 10 to 15 degrees of flexion for an average of 6 weeks (range, 3 to 9 weeks). Another 50 trigger fingers were injected with 0.5 ml of betamethasone sodium phosphate and acetate suspension (Celestone) and 0.5 ml of lidocaine. All patients were followed up for a minimum of 1 year (range, 1 to 4 years). Treatment was successful in 33 (66%) of the splinted digits and 42 (84%) of the injected digits. Fifty percent of the 10 splinted thumbs and 70% of the 40 splinted fingers had a successful outcome. Of the 17 unsuccessfully treated digits in the splinted group, 15 were later cured with injections and 2 required surgery. All of the 7 unsuccessfully treated digits in the injected group were cured with surgery. Patients with marked triggering, symptoms of more than 6 months' duration, and multiple involved digits had a higher rate of failure in both groups. Splinting offers an alternative for patients who have a strong objection to cortisone injection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cortisone / administration & dosage
  • Cortisone / therapeutic use*
  • Finger Joint / abnormalities
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Joint Deformities, Acquired / therapy*
  • Splints*
  • Thumb / abnormalities
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cortisone