18 Natural Home Remedies For Trigger Finger Or Thumb Relief

Updated: 10/24/2019

Certain activities, such as repetitive movements, typing on a computer keyboard or smartphone, surfing smartphones regularly, etc. may lead to trigger finger or thumb. This condition causes patients to experience pain in the knuckles, to the point where they even have difficulty flexing their fingers  or develop a joint deformity, causing difficulties in life and work. Today, Trueremedies will introduce you to home remedies for trigger finger or thumb relief and other basic information about this health issue. Let’s check them out!

Top 18 Natural Home Remedies For Trigger Finger Symptom Relief

I. Is Trigger Finger Dangerous? 

If not treated early and in time, trigger finger may cause dangerous complications below:

Decreased or loss of motor function: About 89% of trigger finger patients will have difficulty in closing their fingers after 10 years of the illness. This complication causes patients to be incapable of working.

Muscle atrophy, joint deformation, and even disability: These are serious complications that occur in the late stages of trigger fingers.

Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases: According to studies, up to 30% of people with joint stiffness in general and trigger finger in particular have complications of cardiovascular disease. Especially, up to 50% of cases of this complication are fatal.

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Besides, scientists believe that life expectancy and the quality of life of people with trigger finger is also lower than that of healthy people.

II. Natural Home Remedies For Trigger Finger 

1. Take Advantage Of A Splint

Splinting the finger is one of the most convenient remedies for relieving trigger finger or thumb. This will help alleviate the popping, locking, clicking, stiffness, soreness, bending, curling, and pain which irritated tendons elicit in the thumb or finger. Good splints will address your specific demands and preferences.

Many studies show that using a splint could decrease triggering and pain accompanied by trigger finger or thumb[1] [2] [3]. According to a 2008 study[4], splinting may be effective in decreasing the duration and severity of trigger finger symptoms.

You should wear good quality splint for 6-7 weeks to see good results. But, you should be sure that the splint is not too tight because it may inhibit the blood circulation in your finger and cause tingling sensations or numbness.

2. Use Warm Water Therapy

Soaking your affected finger in warm water can give your muscles and tendons a relaxing sensation[5].

This method may help increase blood flow to your nerve endings, help decrease pain and allow you to move your finger easily.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Add some warm water to a bowl
  • Add some Epsom salt (optional) and soak your finger in this solution for 5 minutes
  • Repeat this routine 5 times per day to get the best results

Note: Before soaking your finger, you should check the water temperature. If the water is too hot, it may harm and even burn your skin.

3. Do Exercises For Your Finger

A trigger finger splint or brace is not enough to care for your condition. In addition to using a splint or brace, you should also carry out some therapy exercises to get the digit back to optimal functioning[6]. The following are some common trigger finger treatment exercises and trigger finger stretches which help you a lot:

Exercise 1:

  • Lay your hand palm-down on the flat surface
  • Then, lift each finger one by one with particular emphasis on your affected digit.
  • Raise each finger deliberately and slowly and hold each thumb/finger in the lifted state for 1-2 seconds prior to resting it.

Exercise 2:

  • Draw the thumb and other fingers together
  • Wrap a rubber band right around them
  • Open and close the hands against the resistance of the rubber band

Exercise 3:

  • Create a circle shape by using your affected finger (if it is not the thumb) and your thumb
  • Keep this position for 5 seconds
  • Repeat this routine for 10 times

Exercise 4:

  • Take a tennis ball and grab it in your palm of the affected hand
  • Squeeze that ball for 5 seconds or so before releasing
  • Repeat this exercise for 5-10 times per day

Exercise 5:

  • Spread your fingers wide
  • Then, draw them together in a normal fist
  • Repeat this routine a few times

This exercise will work on the abduction muscles, relieving pain associated with trigger finger.

Exercise 6:

  • Start with your fingers extended straight
  • Then, lower them in order to touch the top of your palm
  • Extend them again to an upright position
  • Bend them once again to touch the middle area of the palm
  • Unbend, then extend
  • Lower them to touch the bottom part of the palm
  • Wrap up simply by straightening your fingers

This exercise is considered one of the most helpful to relieve your swelling and pain.

Exercise 7:

  • Hold the affected finger and the finger next to it separated apart from each other to create a “V” shape
  • Use the index and thumb finger of the other hand to split your fingers apart

Actually, aside from these exercises, you should also massage the area or the joint which is affected by the trigger finger. The next tip on home remedies for trigger finger will give you a more detailed view about this recommendation.

4.  Massage Your Finger

home remedies for trigger finger - massage your finger

By massaging your injured finger regularly, you will alleviate its symptoms naturally[9]. However, remember to massage gently to help increase blood circulation, reducing stiffness and swelling and relax muscles.

  • Warm some sesame, olive or coconut oil in the microwave
  • Use the warm oil to dab onto your injured finger
  • Massage it gently for 5 minutes or so
  • Repeat this routine twice or thrice per day

Always massage gently because extra stress might aggravate your condition. If possible, you could have a professional massage therapist to do it for you.

5. Bromelain

Bromelain is a powerful digestive enzyme[7], which occurs naturally in pineapple, particularly in the stems. This enzyme is used as a supplement to help ease swelling and pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties[8] [9].

In essence, bromelain may reduce inflammation in some cases. Studies have found that bromelain may help with knee pain not caused by arthritis, recovery from surgery such as sinus surgery, sinus infection, and colitis. This substance is also added to creams to help relieve burns and skin rashes.

To make use of this substance, you could add more pineapple to your daily and take bromelain in supplement form. In fact, there is no standard dose for bromelain. Some experts have recommended a range of 80-320 mg of bromelain extract which should be taken 2-3 times per day for those people having swelling. Bromelain may work best if taken without food.


  • Despite some good benefits, bromelain also has some side effects such as stomach upset, vomitingand diarrhea, heavy menstrual periods, and rapid heartbeat. It could trigger reactions in those with allergies to certain pollens, pineapples, carrots, latex, rye and wheat flour, bee venom, celery, and other substances.
  • Bromelain may also increase the potential risk of bleeding, so stop using it at least 2 weeks before any surgery. Consult your doctor if you have any health conditions such as asthma,kidney or liver disease, and heart problems.
6. Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the most common kitchen ingredients used for medical purposes. It is also an age-old treatment for trigger finger and thumb. The substance making this ingredient powerful is curcumin which has an anti-inflammatory property. Turmeric may also improve the blood flow which is essential to deal with trigger finger[10]. Besides, another benefit of curcumin is the capability of limiting the production of a substance within the human body that is thought to worsen the pain associated with trigger finger[11] [12]

  • Put 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 ½ cup of fresh milk
  • Boil it up and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Add some raw honey into and have this solution twice per day

Or, you could also make use of turmeric supplements with the consultation of a professional.

Read more: Turmeric also helps to treat bacterial infection at home. (This article was medically reviewed/fact checked by Millie Lytle, ND, MPH).

7.  Needle It

It is shown that acupuncture is well-known over 4,000-year-old practice[13]. This concept might soundis farfetched, yet seems to work in a lot of cases. Some people say that an illness is a consequence of “stuck energy”, so by applying specific placement of acupuncture needles, it will help restore energy flow and relieve or even treat the illness.

For trigger finger, this method can be applied right directly at the affected site and other body areas like the ears, wrists, and arms. When a professional inserts the needle into the skin of the affected area, it will cause a slight pain. Once in, the acupuncturist will gently twist the needles and often times an electrical jolt or minor twinge can be felt.

To get good results, you need to lie with the inserted needles for 30 to 45 minutes before they are taken out. The recommended frequency is twice per week for about 6 weeks until you feel less pain and have more mobility.
Note: In accordance with the Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health, you should seek treatment from qualified acupuncture practitioners, and make sure that they use sterile needles.

8. Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential and beneficial for the human body, particularly for those with trigger finger. Essential fatty acids, upon entering the human body, could help alleviate the severity of damaged tissues by the trigger finger. It is well understood that the joints are lubricated by omega-3 fatty acids[14].

In nature, omega-3 fatty acids are obtained from consuming fish and some other foods. In the mid-1990s, the researchers from Albany Medical College found that people taking dietary supplements of fish oil went through improvements in clinical parameters of disease activity from the baseline, including some tender joints[15]. These improvements were associated with reductions in the levels of IL-1 beta from baseline. Many people taking fish oil now could discontinue NSAIDs without going through a disease flare.

Fish oil may adversely impact certain people. Therefore, consult your doctor for safety and proper usage before using it.

9.  Wheatgrass

There have been a lot of proven medicinal uses of wheatgrass on diseases for centuries, including the home remedy for trigger finger[16] [17]. Wheatgrass is a natural immunomodulator and has four major general properties, which are anti-inflammatory, homeostatic, wound healing, and connective tissue and skin softening. Wheatgrass may improve blood circulation and make the human skin white and glow.

  • Take a few fresh wheatgrasses to crush and extract the juice
  • Apply the juice over your affected finger for a few times per day

Note: Wheatgrass might cause appetite loss, nausea, and constipation.

10. Coconut Oil

home remedies for trigger finger - coconut oil or olive oil

Using coconut oil is seen as one of the easiest ways to treat trigger finger because it does not take too much time for preparation. Apply a few drops of coconut oil on your painful fingers, massage long the affected fingers. It may prevent inflammation and swelling effectively[18]. Coconut oil can also be used in the home remedy for dermatitis[19].

You can use olive oil as an alternative for coconut oil to get similar effects.

11.  Vitamin B6

In regard to home remedies for trigger finger, some naturopaths use vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, to treat the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome[20]. Also, it is recommended for people who have trigger thumb. According to the founder and medical director of TrueMedMD clinic in Hollywood, Florida, it is better to take 20 mg of the activated P-5-P form of the vitamin B6 for thrice per day. However, before taking this supplementary vitamin, you need to consult your physician.

12. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil has been used with a lot of success to treat problems related to digestion, immune system, respiratory problems, anxiety or stress, and oral health[21]. Also, it is used to treat joint-related problems, including trigger finger. The healing benefits of frankincense have centered traditionally on disease prevention as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

Researchers have proved that boswellic acids in this essential oil have the ability to modify the immune system[22] A major role of the immune system is the regulation of inflammation, which could have topical or systemic effects[23].

In accordance with a study carried out at the Indira Gandhi Medical College at Nagpur in India, the boswellia found in frankincense was shown to have positive effects on knee-joint inflammation in osteoarthritis sufferers during the using period of over 2 months.

You can make use of this essential oil by adding it to your daily dishes such as salads, etc.

III. When To See A Doctor?

If you suffer from any stiffness or a catching in one of your finger joints, then you should consult your doctor so that they could review your symptoms and execute a physical evaluation specifically on your hand and fingers. When your finger joint is inflamed or hot, you should seek immediate medical care as these signs imply a potential infection[24].

More Information About Trigger Finger Or Thumb

What Is Trigger Finger?

In medical terms, trigger finger is known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition or disorder characterized by locking or catching of the involved finger. The finger might straighten with a snap. Trigger finger happens when the inflammation narrows the space within the tendon sheath surrounding the flexor tendon in the infected finger. This is similar to the way a line is held on a fishing rod. Trigger finger happens when the pulley becomes extremely thick, so the tendon could not glide through it easily. If the trigger finger becomes severe, it may get locked in a bent position[25] [26].

What Are The  Causes Of Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger could be a result of a repeated movement or under the forced use of the thumb or index finger. Gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes could also cause trigger finger.

Tendons are fibrous cords attaching the muscle to the bone. Each tendon is normally surrounded by a protective sheath. When the tendon sheath of a finger becomes inflamed and irritated, trigger finger happens. This will interfere with usual gliding motion of the tendon via the sheath.

What Are Common Signs And Symptoms Of Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger might start with the discomfort felt right at the base of the thumb or finger, where the affected finger joins the palm. This is an area sensitive to pressure.

Signs and symptoms of trigger finger or thumb might develop from mild to severe and include:

  • Finger stiffness, especially in the morning
  • A clicking or popping sensation when you move your finger
  • A bump or tenderness in the palm right at the base of the impacted finger
  • Finger locking or catching in a bent position that suddenly pops straight
  • Finger locked in a bent position that you could not straighten.

In some cases, the thumb or finger locks in a straight or bent position when the condition becomes worse and has to be gently straightened with the help of the other hand.

Trigger finger seems to most commonly impact the thumb or the ring or middle finger. More than a finger might be impacted at a time, and both hands may be involved. Triggering often occurs in the morning, when firmly grasping a certain object or when straightening the finger.

What Are The Risk Factors?

There are some factors putting you at higher risk of developing trigger finger, which are:

  • Repeated gripping. The hobbies or occupations involved in repetitive use of hand and prolonged gripping might increase the potential risk of trigger finger or thumb.
  • Specific health issues like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis also go with a higher risk of developing trigger finger.
  • Your gender. It is proven that trigger finger is much more common in females.

Other risk factors include repeated injury, kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, and inflammatory disease.

All of the above-mentioned home remedies for trigger finger and thumb are used when you are at the initial stages of the issue. For those with advanced stages, they should take their doctor’s advice, which requires an injection or surgery in most cases. For any contributing ideas, do not hesitate to drop your words below this entry, right at the comment box. If you want to read more other such articles, visit our Home Remedies category.

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