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Congenital trigger thumb and finger occur when the tendons that move the digits enlarge. This makes it hard for the tendons to pass smoothly through the canal they run in — called the tendon sheath.
These conditions happen when the thumb or finger have trouble straightening and get stuck in a bent position.
Often painless, the condition causes the finger or thumb to pop or click when your child tries to straighten it.
In adults, trigger finger is often the result of repeated motion, such as playing a musical instrument. But in children, congenital trigger thumb is much more common than congenital trigger finger.
Congenital trigger thumb occurs in about 3 out of every 1,000 1-year-olds.
Doctors don't know why children get congenital trigger thumb or finger, but they can form in the first few years of life.
In adults, trigger finger and trigger thumb sometimes occur with:
Doctors at UPMC Children's Hospital can often diagnose these conditions with a simple physical exam.
Sometimes, they may order imaging tests like x-rays.
In babies under a year old, congenital trigger thumb or finger treatment involves mostly watching and waiting.
In most cases, the problem resolves itself before the child's third birthday.
If your child has symptoms, we can think about surgery before they're 3.
If your child's condition doesn't resolve on its own, simple outpatient surgery can help.
Recovery time is short.
Your child will need to wear a bandage for a few days. After the bandage comes off, they'll be able to move their hand freely.
Our team often will check on your child a few weeks after surgery to confirm that the healing process is going well.
To learn more or make an appointment for your child's congenital trigger thumb or finger, call 412-648-9670.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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