Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

My 17-year old son is the local high school quarterback. He's developed a sudden problem with his middle finger. He says it "catches" sometimes and he can't get his hand open. What could be causing this?

Answer:

Your son may have what's called a "trigger finger". Inflammation of the lining of the tendon keeps the tendon from sliding and gliding through its tunnel. It literally gets stuck.

It's also possible he has a locked metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint, which is the large knuckle on the back of the hand. There are many possible causes for a locked MP. Since he's so young, it's unlikely that degenerative changes from aging are the problem. It could be the shape of the bone. A large bump on one side or the other can catch the ligament and pin it against the joint.

Sometimes a piece of bone gets bumped off and floats inside the joint causing catching or locking. A torn ligament or rough edge inside the joint can have the same effect. There's no way to really know for sure without an X-ray and exam by an orthopedic surgeon.

Have it checked out if this is happening on a regular basis. It may be a quick fix if caught early on.

Richard J. Thomas, MD, et al. Locked Metacarpophalangeal Joint in a 20-Year-Old Football Player. A Case Report. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January 2006. Vol. 34. No. 1. Pp. 29-31.

*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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