Fretting hand index finger pain

motis1953

Member
Messages
1,546
Left hand index finger opens fine but won't close due to pain in second knuckle (from fingertip). At the base of that knuckle, it feels like I'm being stabbed with a hot needle. Also there appears to be what I'm guessing is a swollen flexor tendon right in the center of that knuckle. Looks like a vein that's popped out or something. Anybody experience a similar problem? I've been munching fish oil, bromelain, glucosamine/MSM/chondroitin, and turmeric for a couple weeks with no real change. In two weeks I've scheduled an appointment with a hand Doctor with possible trigger finger surgery if deemed appropriate. I am a touring professional and am quite freaked out about the whole thing but it's getting almost too painful to play. Any helpful advice from aging guitar geezers?
 

musicman1

Member
Messages
4,040
MD needed for your situation.

I had bi-lateral CTS surgeries in 2007. I've been fine ever since but I have to warn you that it took MANY weeks before I was able to play.

My left hand suffers from some wrist tendonitis here and there but that's my own fault from doing too much cycling.
 

Digits_Only

Member
Messages
425
If it hurts that acutely, I'd stop playing (or using that finger) altogether. Keeping on using it will probably only make things worse. I hope your rock n roll doctor has the cure. Good luck!
 

Analog Dog

Member
Messages
133
I started playing open A chords with my third finger instead of index because of the pain in my index at the middle knuckle. Getting old sucks. I hope the doctor can do something for you.
 

Tommy Biggs

Gold Supporting Member
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6,339
Go to the Doctor.
Look up some hand. wrist and forearm stretches. Do 'em gently and consistently.
As mentioned, getting old sucks.
Stretching has helped me though.
 

kcprogguitar

Member
Messages
2,729
Don't listen to the old wives tale remedies. Make a Dr appointment in the morning. The sooner you do, the sooner you have a solution.
 

motis1953

Member
Messages
1,546
Haven't missed a job yet. It takes a whole lot of fun out of playing though. Very excited about getting to see the doctor soon. I've stopped playing at home so as not to exacerbate the tenderness.
 

BlackBart

Member
Messages
213
I sprained my fretting index finger ~10 years ago. Every time I tried to play, the more sprained my finger got.

I knew it was going to take some time to heal, so I took some slide lessons.
 

jimijimmyjeffy

Senior Member
Messages
12,633
The key is finding out exactly what it is, which doctors are good at. For the cure part there is flexibility to try different approaches.

I personally found acupuncture to help me keep playing. But that was for carpal tunnel. Hopefully you have something simple that will heal fully.

I found that I get finger pain on my fretting hand from incorrect posture when practicing. The angles all have to be perfect to keep the stress from happening. I got away from a proper practice chair, and started playing on the couch while slouching, etc. Poor posture is just not sustainable for musicians, unfortunately.
 

RoryGfan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,499
My totally unprofessional guess is either trigger finger or neuropathic nerve pain.

I've had both. I didn't go to a surgeon right off the bat because, well, they do surgery.

I was able to get in with a sports medicine doctor quickly.

He gave me an exam and a shot and I haven't had to go back.

(In an aside) Visiting a sports medicine doctor is a very positive experience in that all of his patients are very healthy and upbeat (except for that elbow, etc.) There is no coughing or sneezing or "sick people" like at a crowded doctor's office. And, there is a lot of great conversation and sports-related tips.

I learned a lot, plus I left feeling better, including some great ideas as how to take care of myself.
 

motis1953

Member
Messages
1,546
To the doc on Friday. Not looking forward to the expense, lost gigs, and the surgery expense but I'm looking forward to getting to play again and having my hand again respond to commands from the brain. The surgery is minimally invasive and I only need two days off before I can resume playing.
 

Delver

Member
Messages
26
I'm interested to know how it goes as I've already had two ops on the same finger (LH little finger) for Dupuytrens Contracture and it takes an age to get your chops back. I now have a trigger finger on the third finger of my left hand and don't particularly want surgery again because of the lost time. I no longer play professionally but I still get around a bit and had considered having the steroid shot. But apparently that hurts like hell and doesn't always work. So please post soon!
 

Dumdeediddle

Member
Messages
2,299
Best of luck. I have had 2 trigger finger surgeries already - very successful. I am going in for a third on my left hand ring finger in a Hour. This one has really affected my Guitar playing lately. Not so much on my Keyboards (why, I don't know). But it does hurt quite a bit, all the time. I put this one off too long. Had to do the Pre-op surgery Ekg / blood / 3rd degree inquisition all over again.
Just follow the instructions afterwords and do the finger exercises and in a few short weeks you will be playing better than ever. It takes a bit longer for the pain to vanish, but well worth having it done. Very fortunate having Good insurance. Been playing 40 years & not stopping now.

PS - this time I tried the steroid shot. about a month & a half ago. WARNING - very hard to describe just how bad the shot is ! But by nightfall the pain it was completely gone. But within the week ,came roaring back as bad as ever.
 

motis1953

Member
Messages
1,546
Had the steroid shot on April 8th and played four nights in a row starting six days after the shot with no major pain. The shot was fairly painful but not too bad. The lidocaine numbness was extremely creepy feeling and lasted about ten hours. I'm now playing just as loud as I was before the shot. Hope it lasts.
 

Jp2558

Member
Messages
2,503
Copied and pasted from another thread I just posted to regarding RA and guitar:

We played two 20 song sets last night. About half way through the second set, my left index finger stopped cooperating when trying to play an A barre chord at the second fret. So much so that I just had to drop out of the song and let the other guitarist and bass player finish it. I know I didn't have enough water yesterday or maybe it was too much practice earlier in the week. Not sure if it's arthritis or trigger finger or something else. All I do know is that getting old stinks.
 

townsend

Member
Messages
1,512
Had the steroid shot on April 8th and played four nights in a row starting six days after the shot with no major pain. The shot was fairly painful but not too bad. The lidocaine numbness was extremely creepy feeling and lasted about ten hours. I'm now playing just as loud as I was before the shot. Hope it lasts.
Glad you are doing better. When I read one of your earlier posts, that talked about possible trigger finger surgery, the first thought that came to my mind is " wait a minute . . ." Having worked for a hand surgeon for 2.5 years as a PA-C, the protocol for trigger finger -- if that is the correct diagnosis (and from your improvement, it sounds like it is) is 1) steroid shot (or two) first; and 2) then surgery (if shot fails to provide "lasting" relief). No reason to rush to surgery if the steroid shot gives "lasting" relief. The reason it hurt when he injected is because of how small the space is between the tendon and the tendon sheath -- the hand doctor injected lidocaine into that closed space, and lidocaine forced its way (because the space was so small).

And that is the problem -- for some reason (inflammation, nodule), the flexor tendon isn't sliding smoothly in its sheath, so your finger got stuck in extension (can get stuck in flexion). If you have to have surgery, surgery is very straightforward and highly successful -- it involves cutting the A1 pulley [it takes about 15 minutes max under anesthesia -- perhaps a Bier block (no, that isn't a misspelling, though many of us use beer blocks at home and bars;))]. Best to you.
 

Jimmy3Fingers

Member
Messages
3,361
Steroid shot made mine worse in the long run, leaving scar tissue. Had a dupuytrens contracture also that when fixed set me back a couple months, but now is much better. I avoid surgeries (last resort) and focus on natural remedies to control inflammation (curcumin) and do flexibility exercises.
 




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