Thumb pain

Posted In: Coffee Break

  • Participant
    Sylvia on #218334

    Painful joint. No, not carpal tunnel. It’s the other joint, the one closer to the thumbnail. Anyone else have this? If so, what did you do about it?

    Participant
    emma-graham on #218336

    I’ve have literally been feeling the same thing this week. I’m seeing my chiropractor this afternoon so I’m going to run it by her. I’ll keep you posted. Mine isn’t too bad playing but I can’t hold a pen comfortably to write. All my joints seem to be giving up on me at the moment! The fingers I (we think probably) broke in my wrist smash incident are very unhappy plus my right knee and hip are also giving me trouble. I think I’m wearing out!! 😂

    Participant
    harpist123 on #218340

    Some years back I developed a “trigger thumb”. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when you bend the thumb joint (or any finger joint) and it “takes over to complete the bend” without your control, VERY FAST! It was so frustrating and painful. I went to a massage therapist to try to relax the tendons all the way down the forearm. She showed me some techniques, but none of them worked. I think you can imagine how this trigger thumb would play out. It was impossible to play. And it hurt. I also tried dipping both hands into ice water, holding, then very warm water, holding, and back and forth, for probably a total of 5 minutes daily. Didn’t work. In the end, I had to have surgery to stop it. I don’t know how it developed. The hand doctor said there are various reasons. I started playing later in life, and so my hands already were shaped the way they were going to be at the harp. I was unable to bring my thumb “completely” over finger #2 with “correct” technique. When trying to do this, it is painful at the joints (and this was before I developed the trigger thumb). I told my teacher that the way it fell naturally over finger #2 would have to do. And she understood. It basically comes to rest directly over the joint of finger #2, closest to the hand, or a little closer to the middle of the next joint in finger #2. I mention all this, because I tried for a very long time to get my thumb to rest where it’s supposed to, and it always hurt. I am not sure if this was why the trigger thumb developed or not. But it could be a possibility, trying to move a joint over and over in a way that was not comfortable or natural at the age of 50 when I first started to play. So, not knowing your own situation, perhaps some of this is a factor for you, and you are putting undo strain on a joint in an unnatural way. Sometimes, technique needs to be adjusted to the individual in cases like this…Just a thought 🙂

    Participant
    sherry-lenox on #218341

    I have tenosynovitus (sp?) that extends from the tip of my thumb to my shoulder. Mine came from plump grandson lifting. It is said to impact on “good” harpists but since I’m basically a turkey plucker it doesn’t bother my playing too much.
    Other activities, such as plugging in a coffee pot or opening a pickle jar, are excruciating.
    My very capable chiro couldn’t help. If you ave this, you really need an orthopedist who specializes in hands/arms. Hope everyone finds relief!

    Participant
    Sylvia on #218342

    My left thumb has some pain also, but not nearly as much as the right. There is also pain where my R thumb connects to the hand. Heat helps. It feels like the joint separates and then goes back together.
    It kind of points to that (tenosynovitus), and may be deterioration because our thumbs are probably the most overworked digits we have. I’m going to try not practicing for a while. (Once I broke my wrist and didn’t practice for three months because I couldn’t move my fingers. It was not hard to resume practicing. I’m a song player, so not super skilled technically.)
    As for opening jars, I have a device that fits all sizes jars and is really easy to use. My mom got it years ago, and I inherited it. There is a similar one online, but it has one less option on it than mine.

    Participant
    billooms on #218343

    If the problem persists, it’s best to see a doctor who specializes in hands. Once you know the cause, you’ll know more about the best way to deal with it.
    I also had trigger finger on my left hand index and ring fingers. I finally had surgery to correct the problem. It took much longer than I expexted to get back to playing as strong as I wanted (about 6 months). But now I can play without any pain.

    Participant
    Sylvia on #218400

    I think it is synovitis. I have a friend who plays piano, and she had it. She had surgery for it, and she says it’s been fine since. I’m going to call that doctor tomorrow and hope I can get an appt. soon. He is a hand-wrist doctor, and I know him because he put my wrist back together 20 yrs ago when I fell skating.

    Participant
    Alison on #218455

    Is it catching ? I also have soreness of the main thumb muscle in both thumbs which is a giveaway, probaby because I am practising quite hard after relatively little playing over the last year and perhaps from using this tablet too much. I am trying to finish Impromptu Caprice an intense piece so hard going and resting helps. Thinking it was down to age and fatigue, I asked a conservatoire student whether she ever had sore thumbs and to my surprise she replied that yes indeed she had, so maybe it is overuse for me.

    Participant
    Sylvia on #218521

    Tenosynovitis. The Dr gave me a shot at the base of the thumb yesterday. He is a hand and wrist specialist. The L thumb started bothering me Tues, the day after my appt on Mon, but he said to splint it and come for the followup in three weeks. The L is kind of on and off. Maybe he wants to see the results of the R treatment. My splint is a large paper clip with wraparound stretchy bandage about an inch wide. (They try to sell you $60 ones at the office.)

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