Smartphone Addiction: The Rise of Trigger Finger and Its Implications

In the age of digitalization, our lives are intertwined with smartphones, tablets, and touch screens. Under these circumstances a new phenomenon Trigger Finger has emerged causing discomfort. This condition, known to be one of the most common causes of hand pain. It has reportedly impacted approximately 2 percent of the global population.

What is  Trigger Finger?

Imagine a finger that was once agile and nimble, now suddenly trapped in a bent position, only to release with an audible snap. This condition is often characterized by a sensation of the fingers or thumb locking or catching during bending and straightening movements, and is believed to be a consequence of the repetitive actions performed on digital devices.

What are the symptoms of trigger fingers?

The intensity of trigger finger symptoms can vary, depending on how extensively one uses touchscreen devices. Some common indicators of this condition include:

  • Finger stiffness, particularly noticeable in the morning.
  • An audible sensation of popping or clicking when moving the finger.
  • A sensation of a lump near the base of the affected finger.
  • Occasional catching or locking of the finger in a bent position.
  • The finger remains bent for an extended period.

What Triggers Trigger Finger?

According to physiotherapist Dr. Sunil Rajpal from the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, the continuous tapping and scrolling on touchscreens can place excessive stress and strain on finger tendons. This leads to inflammation, eventually triggering the condition.

The tendons in our fingers are surrounded by a protective sheath, allowing for smooth tendon movement. However, inflammation and swelling can affect either the tendon itself or its surrounding sheath. Continuous irritation can lead to the development of scar tissue and thickening, disrupting the tendon’s natural mobility.

Consequently, when you flex your finger or thumb, this can cause the inflamed tendon to move through a narrowed sheath, resulting in a snapping or popping sensation.

What are the contributing factors for Trigger Fingers?

Various factors can increase the risk of developing trigger finger:

  • Medical Conditions: Arthritis and diabetes are known contributors to trigger finger.
  • Age: This condition most commonly affects individuals in their 40s and 50s, as per a study published in Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine.
  • Gender: Studies indicate that females are about six times more likely than males to experience trigger finger.
  • Intense Hand Activities: Trigger finger tends to appear after strenuous or forceful use of your fingers and thumb, which is frequently observed in professions such as farming, industrial work, and among musicians.
Video Credit : The New Voice

Trigger Fingers Treatment and Prevention

For those grappling with trigger finger, physiotherapists recommend finger exercises to strengthen affected tendons and prevent further complications. Additionally, practicing good ergonomics and maintaining awareness of posture while using technology can mitigate the risk of technology-induced trigger finger. In severe cases, treatments may include rest, wearing a splint, or even steroid injections.

As our lives continue to revolve around technology, understanding and addressing conditions like trigger finger become increasingly crucial. Awareness and preventive measures can go a long way in safeguarding our hand health in this digital age.


Wrapping it up, the rise of trigger finger as a consequence of smartphone and touchscreen device usage highlights the importance of maintaining hand health in the digital age. This condition, characterized by finger stiffness, popping sensations, and occasional locking, can be attributed to the repetitive actions on digital devices. While treatment options are available, prevention through exercises, ergonomic practices, and awareness of hand posture while using technology is key. As we continue to rely on technology, addressing and understanding conditions like trigger finger is crucial to ensure our well-being in this digitalized world.