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Trigger finger N054

Document
Last amended 
11 March 2019
Current RMA Instruments
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP
39 of 2019
Balance of Probabilities SOP
40 of 2019
SOP bulletin information on new SOPs

SOP Bulletin 207

ICD-10-AM Coding

M65.3

Brief description

This is a condition in which there is an inability to smoothly flex or extend a finger (or thumb), due to the flexor tendon for that finger catching in its tendon sheath.  It is one of the most common causes of hand pain in adults. It is more common among women than men and occurs typically in the fifth or sixth decade of life. It can develop in one or multiple fingers and can be bilateral.

Confirming the diagnosis

This diagnosis is made on clinical grounds and can be made by a GP.  If multiple fingers are affected then separate diagnoses should generally be made for each finger.  If onset in more than one finger was at the same time and had the same cause then a combined diagnosis for those affected fingers can be made.

The relevant medical specialist is an orthopaedic surgeon.

Additional diagnoses covered by SOP
  • Stenosing flexor tenosynovitis

Conditions not covered by SOP
  • de Quervain tendinopathy*
  • Dupuytren’s contracture*
  • Ligament tear* - sprain and strain SOP
  • Tendon tear* - sprain and strain SOP

* Another SOP applies

Clinical onset

Clinical onset will be based on when symptoms of catching or locking of a finger first developed.  If multiple fingers are affected there may be multiple clinical onsets, warranting separate diagnoses.

Clinical worsening

The condition tends to progress, with pain developing or worsening and with decreased function.  Conservative and surgical treatment options are available. Outcomes tend to be worse in people with diabetes.