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#347787 - 07/25/12 09:16 AM Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb)
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
Has anyone here experienced, or familiar with the tendonitis condition referred to as Trigger Finger?
This condition commonly occurs with keyboard musicians.

It's been a busy summer of keyboard gigs, but just yesterday I began experiencing (for the first time) a popping/clicking sensation in my 'left' thumb (aka: trigger thumb) whenever I attempt to bend and/or straighten my 'left' thumb. It's not painful (yet) but as an pro active keyboard player, I'm concerned this may get worse and affect my keyboard playing gigs in the near future so calling my primary care doctor for a referal to see a orthopedic hand specialist. In the meantime, any experiences with this condition and treatment advice & recommendations by others here is greatly appreciated. Thanks - Scott.


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#347790 - 07/25/12 09:31 AM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Scottyee]
kbrkr Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 2866
Loc: Tampa, FL
Scott,

Sorry to hear about your issues. I am both a drummer and a keyboard player and my hands, wrists, and back take a beating. It's really all tendonitis. The #1 reason for hand and wrist pain is; Poor technique and bad ergonomics. Believe it or not.

I had a piano teacher examine my technique and found flaws which I have worked on and now find that I can play for hours pain free. With drumming, it was mostly ergonomics with a little technique thrown in for good measure. I realigned my setup and started playing correctly and the pain went away.

You will have to rest your tendons for a while until they heal and then start working on your technique.

Best of luck and feel better soon!
_________________________
Al

Pa4x - LD Systems Maui 28 - Mackie Thumps

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#347792 - 07/25/12 09:49 AM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: kbrkr]
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7291
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
Scott, before I was cut in a robbery, I was experiencing severe pain in several of the fingers of my left hand. It was so bad that I didn't touch a stringed instrument for a year. Still, while I LOVE to play upright bass, I avoid lots of strenuous playing, fearing the return of a stretched tendon.

Hang in there. Be careful and examine the position and movement of the effected finger. And, If surgery is necessary, get it from a competent Dr.

Believe me:, if you saw my left hand after it was cut, you would never believe I'd play a stringed instrument again.

Thanks to a good DR., I'm back to making almost as many flubs and screwed up chords as I used to. LOL!

Be well, and let us know what's happening.


Russ


Edited by captain Russ (07/25/12 09:50 AM)

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#347793 - 07/25/12 09:56 AM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Scottyee]
Tony Hughes Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/30/06
Posts: 3944
Scott,

Gary is the guy to ask about all this finger and thumbs stuff, he works down the hospital, pulls ropes on the boat, and gigs every day....
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#347795 - 07/25/12 12:05 PM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Scottyee]
brickboo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 2071
Loc: Fruita, Colorado, USA
Scott,

I had tennis elbow twice (Tendonitis). One time I had it so bad in my wrist that when I moved it you could touch me and you'd swear that there was gravel grinding in there. Many bricklayers suffer this from the repetitive motions of laying brick. It is common.

I got a cortisone shot each time. The incidences were a few years apart and it was more then 20 or so years ago. Not one problem since then. When I got the shot for the first incident, I wanted to beat the doctor up. It does hurt, as they put the shot right into the affected area. The two next times I knew what to expect.

In detail, this is what I experienced. The shot actually made it hurt worst for some time. But, and this is a big BUT, all three times within 24 hours the pain was completely gone. I went right back laying brick each time with no problems what so ever.

As I said, it happened again in different areas a couple of years later… Keep in mind also that I laid brick for another 15+ years without any problems.

If I were you, I would go yesterday to my doctor and do this. Do not let it linger. It could get worst and the months of therapy if not years will not fix it in 24 hours.

I think Cortisone gets a bad wrap from experiences like those that a close friend of mine had. However, he had to have shots very often and had them for over fifty years running. He died at 72 a couple of years ago. He suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis. His bones eventually got weak and brittle.

Scott do not let anyone tell you different. No one’s bones are going to get weak and brittle from a couple dozen cortisone shots in their lifetime not to mention just a few shots in a lifetime. I would not hesitate to have more cortisone shots if the need arose again.

Some things in doctoring and medicine does work like a miracle. I guarantee you Cortisone is a miracle cure. You'd have to work hard to abuse it friend.
Take care!
_________________________
I'm not prejudiced, I hate everybody!! Ha ha! My Sister-In-Law had this tee shirt. She was a riot!!!

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#347796 - 07/25/12 12:16 PM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Tony Hughes]
tony mads usa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 14376
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
Coincidently, my wife had to see the Orthopedic Dr today, and he was telling us that HE had 'trigger finger' surgery about a week ago.
He said normally it is a simple procedure to cut the 'pulley', but in his case he let it go too long and the tendon eventually frayed, and therefore had to be repaired ...
If you don't have a queasy stomach, here is a video of the procedure ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DISCFr0YeiM

Seems like it is better to take care of it sooner rather than later ...
Best of luck, Scott, ...


Edited by tony mads usa (07/25/12 12:17 PM)
_________________________
t. cool

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#347802 - 07/25/12 02:38 PM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Scottyee]
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
Thanks to everyone for your input and concerns.
I've scheduled the earliest appointment (next Tuesday) with my primary care physican
and will pass on the information shared by you with him.
In the meantime, I've discovered that anti-inflamatory medication (aspirin, naxopren, ibuprophen)
is recommended to reduce tendon inflamation, but unfortunately I'm concurrently just getting over
a bout of tinitus (ringing ears) of which anti-inflamatory medications exaccerbate.

Russ and Boo: Glad to hear you both are now able to play again after your hand traumas (albeit different challenges). Boo, though I currently don't (yet) suffer pain, I'll definitely bring up the cortisone treatment you recommend to my doctor.

Originally Posted By: TonyHughes

Gary is the guy to ask about all this finger and thumbs stuff, he works down the hospital, pulls ropes on the boat, and gigs every day....

Yep, you're probably right Tony, as he's the sz unofficial resident doctor. smile It will be interesting to get his take on this, though I realize he's going thru enough already recovering from his recent heart attack. Gar, I hope you're on the mend and feeling a lot better real soon.

TonyMads, thanks for sharing your story about your wife's doctor's experience and treatment for trigger finger. My fingers are crossed (ouch grin) that mine is enough in the preliminary stages to prevent requiring me to undergo surgery as that would mean having to cancel all keyboard gigs for a given time post operation.

Originally Posted By: kbrkr

It's really all tendonitis. The #1 reason for hand and wrist pain is; Poor technique and bad ergonomics. Believe it or not.

I admittedly acknowledge this and agree, as
back in college (music school), I too suffered wrist pain when playing the piano and discovered it was bad technique and ergonomics and attended a workshop to learn the Alexander Technique approach to playing the piano & singing. It helped me 'immensely' as it not only technically improved the way I played & sang (with greater ease), but resulted in a freer sound quality to my playing & singing as well. Unfortunately over the years (20+) I've become lax in keeping up with and practicing the technique so guess it's time to take a refresher course now.

The Alexander Technique and Piano Playing:



Alexander Technique Workshop with Rebecca Tuffey:


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#347813 - 07/25/12 06:23 PM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Scottyee]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15566
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Scott,

Just got home and saw your post - bummer!. Tendonitis is not at all unusual for individuals who play piano and stringed instruments, especially if they have a grueling schedule.

Essentially, the tendon becomes inflamed, swells, and often the tendon sheath is involved. The inflammatory process is exacerbated when you continue to do what caused tendonitis to begin with. This can lead to fusing of the tendon within the sheath, thus requiring surgical intervention and a tendon release procedure. Heavy equipment operators, such as someone using a jack-hammer, hammering nails, body/fender workers, etc..., frequently experience fusing of the tendon and sheath.

In your case, you are probably not anywhere near that point, at least I hope not. Simply giving those hands a couple weeks rest often is all that's needed to achieve relief. The administration of anti-inflammitory drugs, such as Prednisone, which is a potent steroid, often provides instant relief, but you still must give those hands a rest or the problem will eventually worsen. Soaking your hands in a basin filled with warm water and Epson salt a couple times a day will also bring about some quick relief. I've seen some piano players resort to wearing form-fitting, white, cotton gloves while performing, claiming it lessons the pressure on the tendons, while not hampering their playing technique. I saw Liberace playing while wearing gloves when he had a TV show.

Hope this helps, and please get well soon,

Gary cool
_________________________
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

K+E=W (Knowledge Plus Experience = Wisdom.)

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#347816 - 07/25/12 08:25 PM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Scottyee]
124 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 2195
To echo Gary - bummer! Scott, I have no medical expertise and all I can do is wish you well and to have a speedy recovery from whatever treatment is necesaary.

I must've lucked out in this regard. I've never had any training and my hands just play the way they play. I'm certain a teacher would howl in horror at the way I find my way around a keyboard, but I've never had so much as a twinge. Go figure, eh?

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#347818 - 07/25/12 09:00 PM Re: Tendonitis Hand Injury: Trigger Finger (Thumb) [Re: Scottyee]
Tony Hughes Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/30/06
Posts: 3944
Wonder if Doctor Kildares got a cure for Pins & Neddles


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