May 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm #60252
I am having trouble with pain in the knuckle of the ring finger on my left hand. I recently spent a TON of time practicing Come Thou Fount arranged by Pam Ohms. It has a several five-note reaches (e.g. C to G) between the fourth and third fingers of the left hand (played in an arpeggio-type run). After intensively practicing the song for several days I developed a pain in my knuckle that kept me from playing at all. I kept my finger in a splint and kept an ice-pack on it for a few days and I was again able to play. Unfortunately, even when I only practice for a little while, the pain returns.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I have only been playing for a year (and I’m only 17) so I don’t think it could be arthritis… 🙂
Any ideas on what could be causing the pain and/or how to prevent it would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!May 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm #60253kay-listerMember
Are you making sure that your “Pinky” finger is riding along with the 4th finger? Just thinking that if your pinky is tucked that it might be causing the problem – just guessing here. Those two fingers need to travel together . . . if that pinky is tucked or does the “English tea drinker” thing, then the tendons will be stressed and pulled.
If that’s the case, you might try rubberbanding the fingers together for a few practices (don’t get crazy and cut off blood supply – :-)). This will help to train them to move together.
KayMay 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm #60254TacyeParticipant
Which knuckle? The one nearest the tip of that finger sometimes complains at me if I don’t keep my finger in a nice smooth curve but let it bend back or bend much more than the others.
How fast are the runs? Is it worth discussing with your teacher not placing the 3rd before hand – have the 3rd hovering towards its note and place as you come off the 4th.May 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm #60255
Kay — I hadn’t thought about checking my pinky…thanks for the tip! 🙂
Tacye — It is the middle knuckle that is bothering me. The runs are pretty fast: 16th notes at a metronome setting of 80. I’ll try your suggestion on placing. As to discussing it with my teacher, I am actually self-taught up to this point though I have had a couple of lessons. 🙂
Thanks again!May 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm #60256kay-listerMember
Make sure as well, that you are using the TOP knuckles to make your pull through the string and NOT the middle knuckle and that you are closing with rounded fingers to the meaty part of your hand. You want to keep that “C” shape in your fingers.
KayMay 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm #60257
Will do…thanks!May 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm #60258TacyeParticipant
Or refinger, depending on the notes and context. Eg 4 stretch 321 could become 421 turn under 3May 8, 2013 at 2:05 am #60259
You might need to give that finger a little more time to heal. Do some range of motion without resistance. A multivitamin could help with the healing also.
I know it’s obvious but so many overlook it.May 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm #60260
Thanks for all the tips! I really appreciate the input!
Jimmy — do you have a specific multivitamin in mind?
Thanks again!May 17, 2013 at 4:23 am #60261patricia-jaegerMember
If it is possible, change the fingering so the 3rd and 4th fingers are not 5 strings apart. For many hands, this is quite demanding an interval right there. Printed fingering is not “cast in stone” and you are free to adapt it so you can manage those arpeggios much more easily.May 17, 2013 at 9:29 am #60262
I’d be interested to know how your knuckle is doing?
As far as multivitamins go, a generic one is probably fine. Nothing exotic. Also, if you wear a ring on that finger you might consider it’s role in the pain. I cant wear my wedding ring anymore it just causes throbbing in that proximal phalanx bone. My wife wasnt thrilled but the pain is gone. The MVI resolved my knee pain when I jogged alot.
I wish my ideas were as good as everyone elses though. Hope all is well.July 16, 2013 at 3:14 am #60263
Thanks so much for the suggestions!
Jimmy — My knuckle was doing much better for a while (when I had less intensive practicing) but just in the past few days as I was practicing for more extended periods of time (think 5-6 hours at a stretch) it has begun hurting again! 🙁 I haven’t yet started a multivitamin but plan to find one over the next couple of days. I hadn’t thought about a ring causing the problem…I will try to avoid wearing mine while practicing…Thanks again!July 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm #60264
Just don’t lose your ring! Focus on technique. Work up to longer practices, and know when to back off to give your finger/knuckle time to adapt.
Typically if it’s arthritis it hurts less as you go through the day using it. If it hurts more, it’s strain.July 28, 2013 at 2:46 pm #60265
Thanks! I just met with a wonderful teacher and she corrected my technique…my finger is feeling much better!July 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm #60266kreig-kittsMember
That’s too large an interval for me to play comfortably on those two fingers. When I have to play it it, I don’t really place the third finger firmly until the last instant; it’s by the string but relaxed, and I place at the last instant, as I’m playing the note on the fourth finger. Or is Patricia said, see if you can finger it differently.
It’s not an incommon interval, because the first and fifth in the bass are a chord voicing, but not all harpists have the giant mutant fourth finger to play the interval comfortably without adapting in some way.
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