12 Trigger Finger Exercises To Relieve Pain

Medically Reviewed by Gabbi Berkow, RD, CDN, CPT
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Trigger finger exercises help reduce finger pain caused by excessive time typing and are especially important if you have a desk job or one that involves gaming or typing on the phone for prolonged periods. When your fingers remain bent (flexed) and contracted as you type for long time periods, the tendons around your finger muscles become inflamed and stiff, causing trigger finger. Trigger finger pain prevents you from using your fingers through their full range of motion to grab objects or move them freely; simple tasks and daily chores can become difficult.

Certain finger exercises can help to reduce trigger finger pain and regain finger mobility. Take 15 minutes every day to do these 12 easy trigger finger exercises. They will help the finger tendons elongate and recover faster, and you will be able to do daily tasks without assistance.

But first, here’s what should know before beginning to exercise your fingers.

  • What Causes Trigger Finger?

According to the American Academy Of Orthopedic Surgeons, trigger finger is a condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a locking sensation when you bend and then straighten your finger (1). Although it can affect all fingers, it is more common in the ring finger and thumb. Trigger finger occurs when the flexor tendons in your fingers become inflamed from chronic overuse. Tendons attach muscles to bones. Your fingers have several small bones, which are also attached to bigger muscles in your arm via the tendons. When the muscles contract, the tendons transfer the force from your muscles and pull on your bones.

The flexor tendons run from your forearms to your hands through a tunnel-like sheath called the flexor tendon sheath. When the flexor tendon sheath narrows, the movement of the flexor tendons become restricted. This leads to inflammation in the flexor tendons and trigger finger, causing pain and difficulty in moving your fingers freely.

As per the American Society For Surgery Of The Hand, a trigger finger could become a trigger thumb if the tendon enlarges (2). Some common symptoms of trigger fingers are pain, swelling, and mechanical symptoms like locking or catching of fingers, stiffness, and/or loss of motion.

  • Which Muscle Do Trigger Finger Exercises Target?

Trigger finger exercises are designed to release and stretch the flexor tendons that run from your forearms to your hands. They work your finger extensors, which straighten your fingers and counter the chronic flexion in the flexor tendons.

  • What Equipment Do You Need To Do Trigger Finger Exercises?

None at all! Some exercises may require an elastic band or small objects like coins.

  • How Can You Benefit From These Exercises?

These exercises can help reduce hand and finger pain and inflammation that results from too much typing.

You will be able to move your fingers and hands freely.

You will be able to hold, grasp, form a fist, type, and do other day-to-day work without assistance or pain.

Now, you are all set to start with the exercises. Let’s begin!

12 Trigger Finger Exercises For Pain Relief

1. Finger Extensor Stretch

Trigger finger extensor stretch exercise
How To Do
  • Keep your hand flat on a solid surface.
  • Hold the affected finger with the index finger of the other hand.
  • Gently and slowly, pull the affected finger upward, keeping your finger as straight as possible and your palm flat.
  • Pull it as far as you can without pain.
  • Hold it for 5 seconds and then release.
  • Do this for the other 4 fingers.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 6 reps, three times a day.

2. Finger Lifts

Finger lifts exercise
How To Do
  • Place your palm flat on a table.
  • Lift your fingers (as far as possible) one by one. Keep your fingers straight and palm flat on the table.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 6 reps, three times a day.

3. Tendon Gliding

Tendon gliding exercise
How To Do
  • Fan out (stretch) your fingers as much as you can. Stretch your palm a little. This is the starting position.
  • Bend all your fingers except your thumb and touch the bottom of your palm.
  • Extend your fingers slowly, one section at a time, to return to the straight starting position.
  • Again, bend all your fingers except your thumb and touch the middle of your palm.
  • Bring your fingers back to the starting position.
  • Touch all your fingertips with the tip of your thumb.
  • Again, spread your fingers out and stretch them as much as you can.
  • Finally, touch the base of each finger with your thumb.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 4 reps, three times a day.

4. Finger Spread

Finger spread exercise
How To Do
  • Place the back of your hand flat on a table so your palm is up.
  • Make a fist and open it. Stretch your fingers open as much as you can. Keep your hand flat on the table.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps, three times a day.

5. Object Pickups

Object pickups exercise
How To Do
  • You would need coins, bottle caps, pencils, and/or other small objects on a table for this exercise.
  • Pick up each object carefully, one by one, and place them on the other side of the table. Grasp each object with 2 fingers.
  • Pick up each object again and return it to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 5 reps, two times a day.

6. Palm Presses

Palm presses exercise
How To Do
  • You would need a small softball for this exercise.
  • Place the ball in your palm with your fingers fanned out.
  • You may support your hand by placing it on a table.
  • Bring your fingers closer and grasp the ball.
  • Squeeze and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Release the hold and fan out your fingers as straight as you can, without moving your wrist.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 5 reps, three times a day.

7. ‘O’ Exercise

O exercise
How To Do
  • Touch the fingertip of the affected finger with the tip of your thumb to form an ‘O.’
  • Hold it for 3 seconds and then fan out your fingers as straight as you can.
  • Repeat with all the affected fingers.
  • Try to keep your wrist still throughout the exercise to isolate your fingers.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 6 reps, three times a day.

8. Thumb Extension (Using An Elastic Band)

Thumb extension exercise
How To Do
  • Hold a small elastic band with your thumb and index finger.
  • Hold the opposite end of the band with the affected thumb.
  • Push the thumb back and extend the band.
  • Hold it for 2 seconds and release with control.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 8 reps, three times a day.

9. Paper Or Towel Grasp

Paper or towel grasp exercise
How To Do
  • Place a small towel or a sheet of paper on a table.
  • Place your hand on the table so that your affected hand is on top of the towel or the paper.
  • Form a fist slowly and scrunch the paper or the towel.
  • Squeeze the towel or the paper for 3 seconds. Keep your shoulder down to isolate the work in your hand.
  • Open your fist slowly and fan out your fingers, stretching them as much as you can.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps, two times a day.

10. Finger And Hand Openers

Finger and hand openers exercise
How To Do
  • Massage the base of the affected finger for about 15 seconds.
  • Make a fist by bringing all your fingers close together.
  • Open your fist and straighten your fingers.
  • Close and open your fist for 30 seconds.
  • Fan out your fingers, support the back of the affected finger with the index finger of the other hand.
  • Touch the affected finger to the palm.
  • Release.
  • Do this 15 times.
  • Alternate between the two exercises.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 6 reps, two times a day.

11. Finger “V” Stretch

Finger V stretch exercise
How To Do
  • Place your palm flat on a table.
  • Fold your thumb, ring finger, and little finger.
  • Fan apart your index and middle finger (forming a ‘V’) and then bring them close together, keeping your fingers straight.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 8 reps, three times a day.

12. Finger Stretches (Using An Elastic Band)

Finger stretches exercise
How To Do
  • Pinch your fingers and thumbs together.
  • Put an elastic band around your fingers, just below your knuckles. This is the starting position.
  • Stretch your fingers away from the band slowly as far as you can without pain.
  • Return to the starting position with control.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 6 reps, three times a day.

Trigger finger exercises are not time-consuming, and you can do them anytime, anywhere. They are beneficial for all of us who spend lots of time typing on phones and computers.

Points To Remember

  • Take any prescribed medicines regularly along with exercising your fingers.
  • Stop exercising if the pain increases and talk to your doctor immediately.
  • Gently massage your hands regularly.
  • Take breaks from typing to elongate your fingers and stretch your wrists.

Key Takeaways

  • Inflammation of the finger flexor tendons causes trigger finger, which causes pain and difficulty in moving your fingers.
  • Finger extensor stretches and palm presses are some simple exercises that can help relieve the pain.
  • Stop doing these exercises if the pain increases and consult a doctor.

Excessive typing can lead to trigger finger pain which can get serious if not taken proper care of early on. Trigger finger exercises help relax the tendons of your fingers, reduce the pain and regain proper mobility. Finger lifts, tendon gliding, palm presses, and finger stretches are a few of such exercises that work on the mobility and flexibility of our fingers. Just 15 minutes a day would help you get relief from trigger finger pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best thing to do for a trigger finger?

Avoiding activities like gripping, stopping the usage of vibrating handheld machinery, wearing a splint, and performing a few stretching exercises can help relieve a trigger finger.

Can you fix your trigger finger naturally?

Yes, if the trigger finger and associated pain are manageable. Wearing a splint, OTC medications, rest, and stretching exercises help in fixing your trigger finger naturally.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Trigger Finger
    https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/trigger-finger/
  2. Trigger Finger
    https://www.assh.org/handcare/condition/trigger-finger
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author
Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Gabbi Berkow

(MA, RD, CDN, CPT)
Gabbi Berkow is a Registered Dietitian, exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor, and dancer. She specializes in weight loss,... more

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