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megmcd

Ouch! Any Helpful Ideas?

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I'm suffering persistent pain in the joint where my right index finger meets my hand (that is, the joint just above the anglo strap pressure point). I've tried loosening the right strap and taking a few days off from playing. The joint pain remains. I've also tried varying the concertina's position between resting on the flat side or tilting it slightly forward onto the corner. This doesn't seem to change the pressure on the painful joint.

 

I rest the concertina on my left leg while playing, so my right hand is carrying the bellows action and weight. For a short time I tried leaning the concertina on the right leg, but this created even more unpleasant pain in my left hand.

 

Since I'm playing (well, learning to play) a Dipper County Clare, I'd guess we can conclude that this problem is not caused by playing a big, heavy instrument.

 

So am I just too arthritic to play the concertina? :( Am I doing something wrong? Can anyone suggest some helpful hints?

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Am I doing something wrong? Can anyone suggest some helpful hints?

Do you know any other anglo players where you live? If so, maybe they could look at what you do while you play and make suggestions.

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I had something similar although not quite as bad. I alleviated problems by giving myself 3 or more days rest. After that I played for no more than 20 minutes a day.

 

Start the session by gently moving your fingers and wrists to loosen things up. Make sure your straps aren't too tight, and try playing with your concertina on both knees. That removes a lot of potential strain.

 

If things don't get any better you might be advised to see a doctor.

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Just in case it helps anyone else to know, this problem was solved :) by my not playing concertina for several weeks (I was busy sanding the skin off my fingertips while prepping for house trim paint). I believe the earlier joint pain may have been caused by the anglo strap bruising me within or around the joint, although I don't know if this makes medical sense. Just had to heal, I guess.

 

So I can move on to other concertina battles now, like a sore right shoulder!

 

And Chris, you're right, using both knees helps move the weight around during practice.

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Just in case it helps anyone else to know, this problem was solved  :) by my not playing concertina for several weeks (I was busy sanding the skin off my fingertips while prepping for house trim paint).  I believe the earlier joint pain may have been caused by the anglo strap bruising me within or around the joint,  although I don't know if this makes medical sense.  Just had to heal, I guess.

 

So I can move on to other concertina battles now, like a sore right shoulder!

 

And Chris, you're right, using both knees helps move the weight around during practice.

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Ouch!  My neck! :o

I prefer the strong-arm approach. :)

 

I can't stand any straps on my neck -- don't even like to wear my light-weight camera that way while trying to take pictures. I've never tried a neck-strap for my concertina, but, I don't think I will!

 

Of course, there can be many unique wrist and/or finger problems that are best treated by directly treating those specific areas.

 

The concertina is quite different from other instruments I've played (i.e., guitar), though, as far as how it affects my body. For one thing, there's so much of the activitiy/energy expended all down at the fingers, while my shoulders, upper arms and heart center, lungs, etc., are more still, and not quite all moving with the fingers. (I can't really breathe like I did with the guitar...though, that may be my own unique problem.)

 

So, I've almost felt like playing the concertina weakens my upper body muscles, because after I've played, they feel like they've been so restricted and just 'endured.'

 

It helps to do exercise that strengthens my arms and makes them feel more independent from the rest of me. This may sound odd, but, one of those 'Thigh Master' resistance gadgets, used more like an 'Arm Master' --- is great!! I've been trying that, lately. (Um...we won't mention my thighs, right now... <_< )

 

My heart's gotta pump or my fingers hurt more. Must keep my blood moving, down to the fingertips. That's another thing that suffers when I play the concertina, it seems. So, exercise certainly helps that.

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I have had similar problems with inflamation of that joint. I am sure that mine was caused by the pressure of the strap on the joint. I play outdoors, loudly and for long periods because I oftem play for several Morris teams on a long weekend Ale, with singing and jamming in a contra band in the evening.

 

 

Not playing works, of course, but is not a satisfactory solution. What did work was to raise the palm rest about half an inch (I moulded a polymer clay pad to fit my hands and the existing palm rest bar and attached it to the bar with zip strips). With the bar higher my hands go further into the strap so it is no longer on the back of my knuckes. Also the higher bar means that joint is bent to its natural relaxed position whereas before it was reflexed upwards, which I'm sure contributed to the problem. I also lined the inside of the strap with a soft resilient material to better cushion it against my hand.

 

I took the new configuration with me on a 10 day morris tour of England last summer and the problem appears to be solved.

 

Nick

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I had a similar problem on my left hand with a Dipper Clare, because I have long fingers and the strap tended to cross my knuckles instead of directly behind them. I cut the strap back where it met the index finger knuckle, and it solved it. Looks good too.

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I've both seen and had similar problems. Once like the earlier player mentioned with someone compensating for a hand rest not suited to long fingers and backing his hand out until the straps crossed the knuckle, and also with people with a palm that is too wide for the rest or poor strap geometry ( like Chris S. mentioned ) at that point in the hand.

 

There seem to be two seperate issues tha can crop up. One for the pressure on the knuckle with the missplaced strap, and one where the fingers and strap are int he proper place, but the hand rest is too short or the strap is too narrow and stiff where it wraps behind the knuckle. there is a nerve in your hand about this location and the constant pressure on it can irritate it and cause inflamation requiring a period of rest. Do what ever you need to get the natural position of your hand so that the knuckles of your hand are in front of the rest slightly, and the strap is behind your knuckles.

 

If you have wide hands ( I'm guessing you don't for some reason ) use a softer slightly wider ( in the direction of your wrist, not your knuckle ) strap to distrubute the pressure, or try to get a longer hand rest made so the strap comes off the rest straight up and wraps over the back of your hand, rather than having to go sideways from the rest around your hand and back over it again, a condition which puts much more pressure on the nerve.

 

Many good straps have an offset cut into their shape so even though they start at the hand rest, they curve around behind it. Extra strap width for pressure distrubution should be behind the hand rest, not over it. Limiting your playing time is a good temporary solution to allow you hand to get back to normal, but is no solution at all to enjoying your instrument. You probably spent enough on it to make it worth spending a bit more to make it fit you properly. Sadly, in concertinas, one size does not fit all.

Dana

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I discovered that filing (with an emory board) the front underneath edge of the leather strap, where it rubs against the hand, made it much more comfortable.

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The concertina is quite different from other instruments I've played (i.e., guitar), though, as far as how it affects my body. For one thing, there's so much of the activitiy/energy expended all down at the fingers, while my shoulders, upper arms and heart center, lungs, etc., are more still, and not quite all moving with the fingers. (I can't really breathe like I did with the guitar...though, that may be my own unique problem.)

 

So, I've almost felt like playing the concertina weakens my upper body muscles, because after I've played, they feel like they've been so restricted and just 'endured.'

 

I'm also using resistance exercises for strengthening, but the experience regarding upper body muscles has been quite different for me in that they are feeling stronger from playing. I'm being taught to play with the focus of movement coming from the pecs and shoulders rather than the arms and hands; the arms are kept quite still and somewhat close in to the body, so the focus is on the upper body muscles while playing.

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