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Bone, Joint and Muscle Conditions

Trigger Thumb

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Trigger thumb may get better on its own. Some children with trigger thumb need treatment so their thumb can move freely.

Trigger Thumb Treatment Options

Stretching and splinting

If the doctor believes stretching and splinting will be enough to cure your child’s trigger thumb, they will start with these options.

They will teach you stretches and massage to do at home. This can help free the bump (nodule) from the tough band (ligament, A1 pulley) where it sticks.

Your child may also need to wear a thumb splint to stretch their thumb and hold it straight. Because this prevents the thumb from moving, it may keep the A1 pulley from bothering the tendon. The swelling may decrease, and the tendon may glide the way it should.

Surgery

If stretching and splinting aren’t enough, your child will need a day surgery, called trigger thumb release or A1 pulley release.

The surgeon makes a small cut (incision) on your child’s palm in the crease of skin at the base of the thumb. Then the surgeon cuts through the A1 pulley. This takes pressure off the tendon and allows it to glide smoothly. (The surgeon doesn’t cut into the tendon or remove the nodule.)

After surgery, your child will need a bandage for one to two weeks to protect their thumb while it heals. Trigger thumb rarely comes back, and children rarely need any other treatment for it. You can expect your child to regain normal use of their thumb.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

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