Have you suffered practice injuries? Trigger-finger, Carpal-tunnel, etc.

  • Two years ago, I had to get surgery on my fretting index finger (pic included) for Trigger-Finger Syndrome. I had received two excruciatingly painful shots the year before. The first shot lasted 6 months, and the second only lasted 3 months. The doctor would not do a third shot because he suspected it would only last a few weeks and there was a risk of permanent damage to the nodule (where the cartilage gets stuck because of the swelling nodule). The surgery cuts the nodule so the tendon can pass thru without getting stuck. I played guitar on one finger for about a week after. It took 8 months for me to finally curl my finger in tight like normal.

    Now my friggin middle finger on the same fretting hand is locking up. My wife says I am practicing too much. The doctor never said guitar practice alone caused it but said it could have been a contributing factor. I am going to have to make an appointment ASAP to see if I can try a shot on that finger. I fear another surgery coming.

    Has anyone else every had problems like this from lots of practice over time? Any remedies besides ice and Ibuprofen?

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

    Edited once, last by BayouTexan ().

  • Dang man hang in there! Cool guitar too! If the area calms down you could try massage for 30 minutes just on your hands - playing muscles. Some consistent treatment could keep things a bit more relaxed (and help a bit). Some CBD is available for pain relief (if available). Some alternative thinking - treatment hoping to calm things down and keep you playing in good health.

    Difficult to treat and deal with such an injury. Do your best!

  • For real...have the person massage the hand area and all the carpal points in wrists - forearms. Then to the shoulder area. That should starting relaxing things. You play later that day or next and it starts again but consistent treatment will help. Massage can be a little expensive though.

    My doctor (while working on my back) goes the extra mile and puts a splash of strong cbd lotion on my forearms. Rubs it in good, catch hands, and crack the fingers a bit. Once a week usually. Have had masseuse do similar with more finesse. It is very helpful in staying loose and avoid over use injury. Hope it is not too late to get relief. Good luck!

  • Been dealing with all sorts of playing related injuries all my life. In fact, I think the stats are that 80% of pro musicians did at some point. As Nietzsche said, "gaze long into abyss and the abyss will also gaze into you", in other words, the things you do for too long end up changing you and it's pretty much inevitable to run into a physical/auditory/mental problem if you are doing this full-time. There is no quick fix, except trying to identify the cause (usually related to tension, repetition or posture), and work your way around it. Once, it was as silly as not having a music stand and having my desk 6 inches too high... which I realized just after a thousand $ of physical therapy.

    Those shots just alleviate pain temporarily but don't solve the problem. Resting and learning to work inside your boundaries is essential when dealing with injuries. For me, making practice more cerebral and less focused on physically strenuous exercises has helped a lot (for example, by working on harmony/composition instead).

  • I'm sorry to hear about your issues. It's frustrating and scary.

    I suffer from tendinitis in the forearm ( lateral epicondylitis) in both arms. The left from guitar and the right from doing hi-hat when learning drums. Main concern is the left , fretting arm, particularly as guitar playing is my only source of income ( at least up to the lockdown).

    I had a very painful episode a few months back and I had to stop completely. Right now I'm feeling better. I find the following to help:

    • Warming up. I never used to warm up and I believe thats whats got me here. I'm still guilty of not doing it enough, but what you dont want is to jump right in to a fast Satriani legato lick for 30 minutes straight. Not good.
    • T.E.N.S. While I watch TV I use one of these electrical stimulation systems with 2 pads on the area. It seems to help.
    • Practise smarter. I try not to practise for long periods without breaks. I stop when I start feeling it bother me. Also not focus too much on playing fast all the time.

    I hope you get better buddy. Hang in there.

  • Like Jed, I have suffered with neck, shoulder, back, elbow and wrist related injuries ever since I got serious and started playing a lot of guitar (about 40 years now). Repetition of movement is a major cause but it is exacerbated by the playing position of the guitar itself. If played seated on the right thigh the whole torso is twisted to the right and forward. At the same time the left shoulder is dipped and the left wrist is usually put in a position of stress which can inhibit the tendons and lead to serious injury.

    Some try to solve this by placing the guitar on the left thigh and using a foot rest (classical position). This does remove the need to bend forward and strain the lower back and left wrist but it also twists the torso to the left and tilts the pelvis to the right which just causes different issues.

    A large part of the problem is that guitars are designed for looks (electric) and sound (acoustic) and guitarists are among the most conservative people on the planet. If it doesn’t resemble a Tele, Strat, Les Paul or Martin OM etc (basically if the design isn’t nearly a century old) they won’t play it. Most guitars demand that the player adapts their body to the instrument rather than adapt the guitar to the player.

    I am now studying stringed instrument making at college and hope to start a second career business afterwards. My dream is to design ergonomic instruments (both electric and acoustic) which address the common causes of injury and allow players to play and practice comfortably for extended periods. Obviously companies like Strandberg have made great progress since the early Klein guitars but these are all electric. The real challenge is going to be managing to get a decent tone from an acoustic. Maybe i’ll never manage but I’ve suffered enough pain (and still do) that its worth trying. Hang in there. Follow medical advice and don’t give up.

  • Approx. 5 years ago I had problems with trigger fingers on both hands, I had surgery on 5 fingers. Surgeries were done in the hospital that is specialized in hand surgeries. After 2 months I was able to start playing guitar again.

    Only this year I have Carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand (my right hand has to be operated soon as well) and again after 2 months I was able to start playing and it was quite relief, no pins and needles at all :)! I hope surgery on my right hand will be succesfully done soon.

    According to the doctors the only real solution for both trigger fingers and carpal tunnel is surgery :(

    I belive the cause is more genetics than playing guitar.

    I hope this helps, at least you kow you are not alone ;)

  • I decided to try and use a brace last night to sleep with that kept my finger straight. I was able to sleep with very little pain. But then my damn finger was stuck straight and when I went to bend it (had to use the other hand to do it) it was freakin damn painful. Wrapped it in heat this morning and then I will do ice. But this is definitely feeling like surgery again. I'm calling the doctor on Monday.


    • Warming up. I never used to warm up and I believe thats whats got me here. I'm still guilty of not doing it enough, but what you dont want is to jump right in to a fast Satriani legato lick for 30 minutes straight. Not good.

    I am believing this to be true. The last month, that is what I was doing. I would grab the guitar and run with it instead of starting off on some dexterity exercises or doing some slow scales.

    The funny thing is, I had purchased a pair of Wrist-Grips here. https://wristgrips.myshopify.com/

    They kept my fingers refreshed all day long so I started to practice even longer. They also helped keep pressure off the Carpal when you rest your wrist on the top side bout of guitar. I would swear by how good those things worked - but now may have aggravated the situation by letting me over do it.

    Well that sucks! Hang in there!

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • I've had many issues related to hands, arms, shoulders... All due to repetition. I've gone down many roads in search of a solution but have never found one. I've managed to make playing tolerable by:

    1. Learning to relax and play lightly. It is interesting how little force is necessary to play a guitar
    2. Light strings helped me a lot
    3. Probably the most significant is a percussion massager on hands, forearms, elbows and all the way to the shoulders. I turn it up high and pound away with it. I use it myself, but it seems more effective when my girl does it. This device has allowed me to keep playing with very little pain.

    Now if I could solve the tinnitus and hyperacusis...

    Best of luck

  • Doctor confirmed today I do have trigger finger on middle finger this time. Got the damn shot. I only said SHIT! instead of "F-Chord!" this time so wasn't as bad as 2 years ago on my index finger (which eventually led to surgery). He wants to give me a booster shot in 3 months and see if that can keep me from having another surgery on same hand. No guitar practice for 24hrs but he said I could play drum covers to Def Leppard songs. :P

    I rushed to finish a new mix late last night in preparation for today so I only need to add some drum fills to it. At least I won't go nuts by not holding a guitar today.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • sorry to hear that.

    Take your time and don t give up.

    The only problem i ve suffered a long time ago was a sort of infection under my nails.

    I dont know the english word for that but in italian it's commonly called "giradito" .. more tecnically Patereccio.

    It was a hard time 'cause I really had the need to be able to play guitar (many dates already booked as acoustic trio) but this damned infection was moving constantly from a finger to another. . . It took a long time before I ve detected that it was due to my bad reaction to a specific Zinc - Nichel surface protection on some parts I was producing in that period.

    Best wishes for Your hands!

  • In August, I notice problems playing sobber bendings, because my ring finger suffered from this syndrome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dupuytren%27s_contracture . In september, I had a surgery to free me from the disease. Still, my finger is not really usable to play guitar. Recovery and healing is still on the way, having ergotherapy. But I stay optimistic!

    On the first surgery, I was playing with one and two fingers while I still had the bandage and stitches in for 10 days. After the stitches came out, I continued each day of extended practice time to strengthen up that finger again. Just like now, I had not much pain when practicing --it was only when I stopped practicing or took a break that the finger would really hurt. I wish you the best. I know this sucks big time.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • Update. Damn trigger finger came back and is worse than before. I am making an appointment with the Doc to get a second shot in the nodule. In the meantime, I heat up one of those Bed Buddies and wrap my hand in it before I start practicing. The heat helps to release it and make it feel sort of normal. And then it comes back on me at night. This SUCKS!

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • That's rough, hope you can recover quickly!

    I had an issue with my pinky that started last June. Ultra painful, could barely grip anything, touch it, forget about playing leads. Make a fist, no possible way. The pain was so bad, I thought it could be broken, ultimately it was a tendon issue. I started doing stretches (I could barely straighten it out at first). Then after the stretches I would do cross ligament massage on the pinky and ring finger (which had some pain as well, much less though) a minimum of 100 passes, and do that at least 2x every day.

    After about 2 months I could play leads again (with pain). Pain went away at about 6 months. I still do the stretches and cross ligament massage every day. It's coming up on a year later, and it's much better, not totally healed, but I don't really even think about it now. Everything takes so much longer to heal as I get older!

    I don't know if it can help your issue, but the stretches I do are the standard guitarist hand and finger stretches. I really think it was the cross ligament massage that was the key though. The theory is you break up the scar tissue, and encourage the tendon to heal in it's proper form and shape.

    Good Luck!

  • Lobsta Have you ever tried taking a Medrol Dose Pack? The steroids will make my finger pain go away real fast but the docs will only prescribe them to you no more than 3 times per year. They are a 7-day supply and work for about 14 days, but it can get you up and running quickly if needed. The steroid shot right in the finger can last 6 months or more.

    With trigger finger, a nodule (like a donut) where the tendon passes through swells up and squeezes the tendon to keep it from moving. So, your finger can get stuck in one position and feel broken if you try to move it. The steroid shot goes right into that nodule and it will open up. If it swells up again after this next shot, I will have to get surgery which slices across that donut so even if it swells it won't be able to squeeze on the tendon.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.