Trigger finger surgery is a safe and relatively quick procedure used to resolve the stiffness and pain that accompany trigger finger. If you have tried other treatments, such as rest, pain medication, exercise, splinting and corticosteroid injections but haven’t found relief, surgery may be the best way forward.

Although it depends on the individual, most patients are cleared to return to work just two weeks after surgery. The four to six week period is where patients are typically considered recovered, but it can take up to six months, however, for all of the surgery-related swelling and stiffness to subside.

By familiarizing yourself with the process in advance, you can approach your trigger finger surgery recovery with confidence and take steps to hasten your return to an active lifestyle.

Surgery Overview

Before learning about trigger finger surgery recovery, it’s helpful to learn about the procedure itself.

Before the Operation

Before your trigger finger surgery, you will have a preoperative consultation with your surgeon. During this meeting, the two of you will discuss your medical history, your lifestyle and your goals for treatment, all of which help your surgeon form a detailed plan for the operation and recovery.

Prior to the operation, your surgeon will provide some instructions intended to help the procedure go as smoothly as possible; for example, you will be asked to stop taking certain medications and to avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.

During the Operation

To fix trigger finger, the surgeon enters the finger and widens the tendon sheath, which allows the tendon to move more freely. Trigger finger surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia, and it rarely takes longer than half an hour. Right after the operation, you will be allowed to move your finger — in fact, movement is encouraged, because it helps the healing process. Then, once you are ready, you will be allowed to return home that same day.

After the Operation

Some soreness and swelling are completely normal for several days after the surgery. To minimize postoperative discomfort, keep your hand elevated and regularly apply ice to the affected area. Be sure to take pain medication as prescribed and call your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns.

Recovery Overview

Once you arrive home from the surgical facility, your trigger finger surgery recovery begins. There are many variables to the process, but most recoveries follow a similar timeline and come with a similar set of trigger finger surgery recovery dos and don’ts.


Immediately after the surgery, your hand will be fitted with a splint and a bandage. You should keep them on for as long as your surgeon recommends, which is usually no more than two or three days. Your first postoperative visit will be about a week or two after the operation, during which your stitches will be removed. For the first two weeks or so, you will be advised not to use your hand excessively. You will be encouraged to wiggle your fingers and perform other small movements to improve circulation and reduce scar tissue, but more demanding tasks should be avoided.

Beyond two weeks, most patients are cleared to return to work, provided there isn’t a high level of manual labor. Around this point, it is also common to begin an exercise regimen, which helps strengthen the finger and restore function. Roughly four to six weeks into trigger finger surgery recovery, you will be allowed to return to more physically demanding tasks like lifting and gripping. At this point, most patients are considered to have recovered; however, it can take up to six months for the swelling to go away completely.

Steps to a Smooth Recovery

There are many things you can do during your trigger finger surgery recovery to help the process go smoothly. For example, rest as much as your need for the first few days after your operation. Your body will need time and energy to heal. During the first week or two after your surgery, you should apply ice, elevate and avoid using your hand except to wiggle your fingers occasionally. Also, it’s important to take your medication as prescribed.

You can shower as soon as you want, but check with your hand surgeon before getting your hand wet. Also, check with your surgeon before you increase your activity; it’s important not to push yourself too hard while your hand heals.

Above all else, the most important thing to do is to follow your surgeon’s instructions. This is the best way to facilitate a quick recovery. Never hesitate to call your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns.

Trigger finger surgery recovery takes time, so be patient while your hand heals. Always feel free to reach out to your surgeon if you have any questions about your condition.

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Dr. Yueh

About Dr. Yueh

Dr. Janet H. Yueh specializes in hand surgery including Trigger Finger, Basal Joint Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel and Tendonitis. Dr. Yueh did her undergraduate work at Harvard University in Cambridge where she graduated magna cum laude. She continued her education at Harvard Medical School where she earned her M.D.