Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


My 12-month old child has a trigger thumb. The pediatrician tells us to just watch it for now. No treatment is needed. How long do we watch and wait before doing something?


Studies show that in up to half of all cases of trigger thumb in children, the problem goes away on its own. The length of time before this happens can vary. Most experts suggest a six- to 12-month waiting and watching period.

When treated with splinting or surgery, the results are very good. Almost every child is cured meaning the thumb stays in a normal position, and there's no snapping or locking of the joint.

It's not advised to wait too long. Older children (age three and older) are not as likely to see improvement with splinting and/or surgery. A simple splint to hold the joint in neutral position can be worn for several weeks to several months with good results. Switching to a splint for just nighttime wear is a good maintenance plan. Zhon-Liau Lee, MD, et al. Extension Splint for Trigger Thumb in Children. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. November/December 2006. Vol. 26. No. 6. Pp. 785-787.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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