Long-Term Effectiveness of Repeat Corticosteroid Injections for Trigger Finger

Agnes Z. Dardas, James VandenBerg, Tony Shen, Richard H. Gelberman, Ryan P. Calfee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose To quantify the long-term success of repeat injections for trigger fingers and to identify predictors of treatment outcomes. Methods This retrospective case series analyzed 292 repeat corticosteroid injections for trigger fingers administered by hand surgeons at a single tertiary center between January 2010 and January 2013. One hundred eighty-seven patients (64%) were female, 139 patients (48%) had multiple trigger fingers, and 63 patients (22%) were diabetic. The primary outcome, treatment failure, was defined as receiving a subsequent injection or surgical treatment. Patients without either documented failure or a return office visit in 2015 or 2016 were surveyed by telephone to determine if they had required subsequent treatment. Kaplan-Meier analyses with log-rank testing assessed the median time to treatment failure and the effect of demographic and disease-specific characteristics on injection success rate and predictors of injection outcome (success vs failure) were assessed with multivariable logistic regression. Results Second injections provided long-term treatment success in 39% (111 of 285) of trigger fingers with 86 receiving an additional injection and 108 ultimately undergoing surgical release. Thirty-nine percent (24 of 62) of third injections resulted in long-term success, with 22 receiving an additional injection, and 23 ultimately undergoing surgery. Median times-to-failure for second and third injections were 371 and 407 days, respectively. Success curves did not differ significantly according to any patient or disease factor. Logistic regression identified that advancing patient age and injection for trigger thumb were associated with success of second injections. Conclusions Thirty-nine percent of second and third corticosteroid injections for trigger finger yield long-term relief. Although most patients ultimately require surgical release, 50% of patients receiving repeat trigger injections realize 1 year or more of symptomatic relief. Repeat injections of trigger fingers should be considered in patients who prefer nonsurgical treatment. Type of study/level of evidence Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Corticosteroid
  • injection
  • repeat
  • stenosing tenosynovitis
  • trigger finger


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