Surgical A1 pulley release can considerably reduce pain and improve hand function, but individual outcomes are highly variable. This study aimed to identify factors contributing to self-reported pain and hand function 3 months postoperatively. We included 2681 patients who had received surgical treatment for a trigger finger or thumb and who completed the Michigan Hand outcomes Questionnaire (MHQ). Hierarchical linear regression models were used to investigate patient and clinical characteristics associated with postoperative pain and hand function. For both pain and hand function, the most influential factors associated with worse outcomes were worse MHQ scores at baseline (β 0.38 and 0.33, respectively) and ≥3 preoperative steroid injections (β -0.36 and -0.35). These factors indicated that patients with severe preoperative symptoms represent a group with a more advanced disease that is more difficult to treat. These findings can assist clinicians in patient counselling, expectation management and decision-making about the timing of the intervention.Level of evidence: II.