Some common causes of locking finger joints include repeated movement of the finger, diabetes, gout and rheumatoid arthritis, states WebMD. This condition is common in musicians, farmers and industrial workers because they move their fingers frequently. Smokers also can develop locking fingers due to repeated use of the thumb when using a lighter, and trigger hand is more common in women than men, mostly occurring in people between 40 and 60 years old.
The symptoms usually appear without any injury following a period of heavy hand use, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. They include swelling, soreness, painful clicking when bending a finger and a catching sensation in the fingers. In some cases, the fingers lock in a bent position when the condition is getting worse. Stiffness and catching are likely to worsen after a period of inactivity, such as when waking in the morning.
Mild cases only require rest to resolve the condition and a doctor may recommend a splint to allow the fingers rest, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen, help in relieving any pain. A doctor may recommend steroid injections, but these only offer temporary relief, so another injection is usually necessary. Some cases may require surgery based on their severity.