Letrozole and trigger finger with ganglion

I have been taking Letrozole for 2 and 1/2 years now.

Having suffered with trigger finger with a ganglion at the base of my finger for over a year my hand consultant wondered if they maybe connected to the Letrozole medication. After research, particularly on Cancer Research website, have found the very specific side effect mentioned. I am seeing my breast consultant next week and I feel sure he may want to change my medication. I don’t know what to ( am post menopausal) and the same research site also listed Arimedex having same side effect. Has anyone out there also suffered the same trigger finger complaint and how have they dealt with it? Does it stop once one finishes 5 yrs medication? Do all the various aches and pains infact stop, or is there no going back. 

Any thought and advice gratefully received.


I have been on Letrozole 9 months now and the joint pains are awful. Since October I have also had 4 tendonitis problems: tennis elbow, inflamed biceps tendon, left wrist and thumb so I have been in the physio’s office every week it seems. He thinks the drug makes me more susceptible to repetitive strain in the tendons hence the problems. He has used massage, ultrasound and I also ice the areas. I found that the hot tub while skiing helped my general joint pain so have continued with hot baths. Also I find that if I keep exercising it seems to hurt less. I don’t know if that helps at all but you are not alone.

Hiya - I have been on Letrozole for 3 months  as I have bone mets to hips pelvis and femur and its hard to know whether its the pills or cancer giving me the ache and pains !!!

I have been taking a simple cod liver oil pill daily and it wasent until I missed a few last week realised I was a lot more creaky and achy.

Its a very simple cheap tablet and maybe worth trying as Letrozole, Arimidex or Tamoxifen are all a very big part of your treatment plan . They all seem to have side effects of some sort …think I get most of them on Letrozole but its mind over matter as if taking this little pill everyday does what it says on the tin - it will be worth it !!!

On one of the other boards a couple of ladies have been taking Devils Claw to help …but you need to check with your Oncologist first to be sure it wont upset any other meds you might be taking.  


Carolyn xxxxxxxxx

Hi, I have been taking Letrozole since sept 2014 and suffer aches/pains which are very painful at times. Last year my wrist/forearms were very painful and wearing a wrist support, the type repetitive strain sufferers wear helped a lot. This lasted about a month. I also had trigger finger which also lasted a month, and cleared up. I didn’t do or take anything. Now I am having problems with my feet and particularly Achilles Tendons. Walking after resting is painful but once I get going I am fine. I believe that our soft tissues need and are affected by our hormones and the Letrozole suppresses what our bodies make naturally. I have also been told that the pain migrates so it can make a surprise appearance anywhere! Exercise definitely helps along with massage and generally keeping the joints moving whilst resting…hope this is of some help.

Hi Lilymole,

I had triggerfinger a few years ago - pre bc/treatment. I had put my finger joint under too much pressure when carrying something awkwardly.


I think trigger finger is slightly different to joint pain, the cause  being that the tendon catches when it should slide through a sheath in your hand when you move your finger. Mine was quite bad, I’d wake at night when I bent my finger inward in my sleep and it became locked causing my hand to ache. Saw the GP who said surgery on the hand was very difficult, said it might pass, and couldn’t really make any helpful suggestions. 


To take the pressure off the finger and avoid it locking and catching on the shaft (my thinking being this would give the tendon a chance to heal) I rolled up some socks (a big enough mass that when on the palm side of my hand the sock mass would stop my finger bending in) and held the sock ball in place by wearing another sock over my hand. I called it a sock-MIT! Wore it in bed on the affected hand every night for quite a few weeks and the trigger finger gradually stopped getting locked. My finger is now fine with no need for sock-mits!

Suggest you give it a go in case the medication isn’t the cause (or the whole cause).

Please let me know if the above description isn’t clear.

Hope it sorts 



I have been taking Letrozole for 7 months and my joints have got worse, I have arthiritis in my hands and knees especially, my knees feel worse but I have for years taken Glucosamin with Chrondoitin which has always helped, also take one cod liver oil tablet a day  Another thing that helps is Rosehip Syrup, either neat or it is nice as a hot drink.  I still play golf and garden just takes a bit longer to recover, but I find that if I don’t do anything then the joints are worse and it takes longer to get going again. I am determined to remain an active 65 year old.  Not taking the Letrozole is not an option as the thought of the cancer returning is far more worrying.

Take care and try to keep going

Hi Lilymole,

Has your consultant discussed removing your ganglion?  I had one removed from the base of my ring finger a few years ago (pre BC).  It really wasn’t a big deal - local anaesthetic, big boxing glove pressure dressing for a few days then normal dressing until stitches came out.  My only regret was that I put up with the pain and triggering for as long as I did instead of just getting it dealt with. 




Hi Nic, I had trigger thumb in both thumbs whilst taking animates for only 16 days, in 2015 After 6 weeks it got to the point where I had to make my own splint to stop it locking as I am a secretary and was stopping me doing my job.


in 2010 I saw a hand specialist for surgery on my wrist that I had broken and rang him, he saw me gave me a steroid injection in both hands and it went within 2 days that was April last year.  I too have had node clearance and was worried, he put my mind at rest and said there was no evidence of this causing lymphodema as he is only putting in 1ml of stuff. He put the injection at the base of my thumb on the inside.  I trusted him and I have had no effects of lymphodema.


i took this course of action as the trigger thumbs had affected my quality of life so much.


just thought this might help you decide. Only note I had this done on both hands and then had to drive 40 miles home and it wasnt easy as it does throb and hurt for a couple of hours but after that I have not had a problem

Hi I too have trigger thumb in both thumbs after taking letrozole for about 3 months. I also developed dreadful pains in my shoulders neck arms and beginning to go to hips. I saw my oncologist yesterday and she told me one of the side effects of letrozole is that it advances arthritis by 10 years. She immediately took me off letrozole and put me on tamoxifen. Here’s hoping my thumbs go back to normal and the excruciating pain goes. Also hope the tamoxifen doesn’t have other equally horrible side effects! I’m so grateful that we have a future to look forward to when others aren’t’t so lucky

Nic, how are your trigger happy thumbs!!! Just wondering what happened since February


For those of you whose GPs aren’t aware that letrozole can cause trigger thumb/finger, you/they should know that it is a known side effect… cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/treatment/cancer-drugs/letrozole. Thanks.

I have trigger finger, had a steroid injection, came back after a year! Had surgery, did not help, have it in both hands now!! Going off anastrozole for 10 days, oncologist may put me Letrozole!! That doesn’t seem much better for what I am reading!!