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CZ in AZ

Outch - sore pinky finger and swollen joint

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Hi all, 

I play a C/G anglo and many of the tunes I enjoy are active in the lower part of the left hand. My pinky, on the left, has been getting progressively more sore over the past 6 months and while I am pretty sure it is some sort of repetitive stress, I am not sure what to do about it.

 

FYI, I regularly stretch the pinky and hand, but this does not seem to affect the aching or progressive nature of the symptoms. The main symptom is that it is very stiff, i.e. when I bend the finger it feels like the tendons/muscles are having to stretch and it does not loosen much after playing. Also, the middle joint is sore and somewhat enlarged (swollen?).  This has become somewhat chronic so that it aches much of the time and more when I type - not good!  Perhaps I should go to a hand specialist or physical therapy or take glucosamine or ibuprofen? More or different stretching? I have tried playing with my pinky more bent rather than semi-straight, but that does not seem to help and it needs to be somewhat straight to reach the A/B button on the inside row. 

 

Any thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome.  

Thank you!

Claire 

 

 

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Others here will feel differently, but based on a difficult year I had long ago, there is no substitute for analysis by a professional (orthopedist, physical therapist, etc.). Some have gotten lucky when self-diagnosing and self-treating, but I was not. Lost a whole year of playing and eventually learned (was taught) how to avoid/manage my issue. It is likely your injury will need to heal before you can play full-time again. No fun, I know. Your problem OTOH may be minor but it can be reassuring to know for sure. Good luck, don't stop asking questions until you get answers that work.

 

Ken

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CZ, I have to second Ken's advice. A physical therapist can tell you if it's developing arthritis or an overuse strain. Bring your concertina to your appointment; it's likely the PT won't know what a concertina is, and less likely that he or she will know how playing it could cause physical stress.

 

A quick web search turned up this PT in Tuscon who used to be a musician: http://www.performingartspt.org/for-musicians.html

 

(Please note that I have no affiliation at all with the above, and I can neither recommend her services nor caution you against them)

 

Good luck.

 

Christine

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Can you describe the move you are making with your pinky that is causing the trouble? For example I learned a tune with a class from a banjo recording.  In my attempt to sound like everyone else I banged the triplet on one note which is a banjo thing.  I found, for the first time in years my finger hurt.  I abandoned the tune for a while, healed and tried it again.  Same result.  Then I decided I wasn't meant to try to sound like a tenor banjo and did my regular triplet and was  fine.    Can we post videos?   If so can you get someone to close up the moves your making.  It might be a simple solution.      Sometimes we need to adjust our technique, sometimes find a work around.   

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Thanks to all for your thoughtful replies.  It is helpful to hear your ideas.

I go to the doctor tomorrow and hopefully will move a bit farther toward figuring this out. I am not sure what movement I am making with my pinky other than just playing, but I do think it is related to playing tunes that feature a lot of fingering on the low end of the instrument. As I study my playing, I also think that I lack control in my pinky and ring finger and so tend to pounce (snap down) on the buttons rather than gently depress them. I am working on that aspect. I have an ongoing issue with being too far from the buttons, in general, so it is probably related to that. Yet another thing to think about.  It is probably not helpful that I type at work and then practice more than an hour at home most days.   :)

 

I will keep you posted, 

Claire 

Edited by CZ in AZ

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