Locking finger joints are characteristic of a condition known as trigger finger, states WebMD. Trigger finger is a painful condition that results in the thumb or fingers catching or locking when bending. Doctors refer to localized locking of the thumb as trigger thumb.
Inflammation of the tendons in the fingers or thumb causes trigger finger or trigger thumb, notes WebMD. Forceful use or repetitive movements of the fingers generally causes this inflammation. Diabetes, gout and rheumatoid arthritis can also cause the condition. Using a firm grip to grasp an object or tool for an extended period of time is also a common cause.
People who work in occupations that require repetitive movements often develop trigger finger, according to WebMD. These include musicians, industrial or factory workers and farmers. Repeated use of a lighter can cause the condition in smokers. Trigger finger affects more women than men, and the condition is more prevalent in people from 40 to 60 years of age.
Treating trigger finger requires resting the affected finger or thumb for a few weeks, explains WebMD. Doctors may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen for continued problems. Injection of steroid medication into the sheath of the tendon may be necessary. Doctors may recommend surgery to correct persistent trigger finger symptoms.