Can Fishing Cause Trigger Finger? Unraveling the Mystery

As an avid angler, you’ve probably spent countless hours out on the water, casting and reeling in fish. But have you ever wondered if all that time spent gripping the fishing rod could lead to a condition known as trigger finger? In this article, we’ll dive deep into the potential link between fishing and trigger finger, examining the causes, symptoms, and possible preventative measures.

What is Trigger Finger?


Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that affects the tendons in your fingers. The tendons responsible for bending your fingers can become inflamed or irritated, causing them to thicken and form nodules. This, in turn, can make it difficult for the tendons to glide smoothly through the protective sheath, resulting in the characteristic catching or locking sensation known as the trigger finger.


Some common symptoms of trigger finger include:

  • Finger stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • A popping or clicking sensation when moving the affected finger
  • Pain and tenderness at the base of the affected finger
  • A finger that becomes locked in a bent position and then suddenly straightens

The Link Between Fishing and Trigger Finger

Repetitive Motion and Grip

Fishing involves a lot of repetitive hand and finger movements, such as casting, reeling, and gripping the fishing rod. These actions can place strain on the tendons and sheaths in your fingers, potentially causing inflammation and irritation. Over time, this repetitive stress may contribute to the development of a trigger finger.

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Pre-existing Conditions

Certain pre-existing conditions can make you more susceptible to trigger finger, and the strain from fishing might exacerbate the problem. These conditions include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

Age and Gender Factors

While anyone can develop a trigger finger, the condition is more common in people over 40 and in women. As a result, older female anglers may be at a higher risk of developing trigger finger due to the combination of age, gender, and the repetitive motions associated with fishing.

Preventing Trigger Finger in Anglers

Proper Technique and Equipment

To reduce your risk of developing a trigger finger, it’s important to use proper fishing techniques and equipment. This includes:

  • Holding the rod with a relaxed grip and avoiding over-gripping
  • Using ergonomic fishing gear, such as rods with comfortable handles and lightweight reels
  • Taking breaks and stretching your hands and fingers regularly
  • Practicing good posture to reduce strain on your hands and wrists

Hand and Finger Exercises

Performing hand and finger exercises can help to strengthen your tendons, reducing the risk of trigger finger. Some exercises to try include:

  • Finger curls
  • Thumb opposition
  • Hand squeezes
  • Wrist stretches

Medical Intervention

If you’re experiencing symptoms of trigger finger, it’s important to consult with a medical professional. Early intervention can help to prevent the condition from worsening and may include treatments such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Splinting the affected finger
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • In severe cases, surgical intervention


While fishing can contribute to the development of the trigger finger due to the repetitive motions and grip strain involved, it’s not the sole cause of the condition. Factors such as age, gender, and pre-existing conditions can also play a role. By practicing good technique, using ergonomic equipment, and performing hand and finger exercises, you can reduce your risk of trigger finger and keep enjoying your favorite pastime.

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