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A1 Pulley Release

What is Trigger Finger?

A condition that affects the tendons in your finger or thumb, because of irritation and thickening of the tendon sheath tunnel, in which the flexor tendons of the finger and thumb slide through. Normally a snug tendon sheath covers the flexor tendons, which control movement and allow you to bend and straighten your fingers/thumb, keeping them in place. As the tendon sheath becomes irritated and thickened, it may become difficult for the flexor tendons to slide through the sheath tunnel. Specifically affected is the first annular (A1) pulley, which is located near the head of the metacarpal bones. Trigger finger results from the tendon becoming momentarily stuck, resulting in locking or catching of the affected finger/thumb while attempting to straighten. The most common symptoms of trigger finger include pain when bending/straightening finger, catching or locking sensation in affected finger/thumb, swelling, and possibly a tender lump in palm.


Surgery to correct Trigger Finger is called an A1 pulley release.  This involves a small incision in the palm to access and release the A1 pulley. The A1 pulley is cut, allowing the flexor tendons to move through the pulley/tendon sheath without getting stuck. This will prevent the locking/popping sensation patient’s with trigger finger feel. This is performed as an outpatient procedure or office procedure, meaning you will be able to go home that day.

Things to know:​

  • You will be discharged with an Ace wrap. Following discharge please ensure that the surgical site is kept clean and dry for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours you may remove the bandage and shower. While showering, you may use soap and water, but be sure to pat the incision dry. It is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, washing dishes, etc.). After patting dry, you can place a band-aid over incision line.
  • You should immediately start to bend (open and close) and use the affected hand after surgery.
  • It is important to elevate your arm on a couple of pillows to alleviate pain and swelling.
  • You will follow up in our office 10-14 days after surgery, for suture removal.
  • Typically follow up appointments are scheduled in two-week intervals following surgery, so we can monitor your recovery.
  • Some patients may need Occupational Therapy for range of motion and strengthening, which will be evaluated at post op visits.

Postoperative restrictions are as follows:

  • You should immediately start to use the affected hand after surgery, as much as tolerated, however no lifting > 5lbs.

Our Response to COVID-19

At Alan Chen Surgical Associates we are trying our very best to keep all our patients and staff members safe and healthy during these uncertain times. While we remain open to care for our post-surgical and emergent patients we are going to place limits and guidelines on those entering our office. Based on CDC guidelines, and recommendations, here are our current changes:

  1. We are only going to be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

  2. Only the patient being seen by one of our providers will be allowed in the clinic. We ask all family members to remain home or in their vehicle if they do accompany the patient to our office. If the patient is a minor, only one parent will be allowed to come into the clinic with the child.

  3. When you arrive to our office, please stay in your vehicle. Call our office at 815-729-9527 to alert the office staff you have arrived. We will call you once the provider is ready to see you for your appointment. Again, only the patient will then come into the office. All other persons remain in your vehicle.

  4. Prior to being seen in our office we have put a screening process in place. If you do not pass the screening process, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment. If you have any cold/flu symptoms, have recently traveled, or have a known exposure we ask that you please inform us and reschedule your appointment. If necessary, one of our providers would be happy to discuss any concerns you have over the phone!

Thank you for understanding our new policies. We are trying to limit the number of patients in our office at one time. This is to keep our patients, staff, and community safe and healthy during these times. Please help us try to flatten the curve.

Our Response to COVID-19