Doctor insights on:
Playing Guitar Arthritis
Yes: I have treated several professional musicians for thumb arthritis using a minimally invasive technique (arthroscopic hemitrpeziectomy) along with stem cell resurfacing of the joint with excellent success. One in particular has been playing guitar at the grande ole oprey in nashville 3 weeks after surgery. There are definitely some good options and I can give out references if you like. ...Read more
A condition where there is progressive degeneration of one or more joints. Symptoms may include joint pain, swelling, decreased motion, and stiffness. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which is associated first with articular cartilage breakdown with a component of inflammation, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is a systemic autoimmune disorder that affects joint linings first and secondarily ...Read more
Whether one is hyper:
Mobile or a stiff lump. Play.
Hand size, finger size, strength, dexterity, coordination, speed, an ear, all affect playing an instrument to various degrees. "hyper mobility" is not a fixed illness just a range. Perhaps lax joints will make it harder for some things just as a stiff arthritic joint will make it harder to do something else or small or large hand will have other affects. ...Read more
Clinodactyly: Clinodactyly is the deviation of a finger - usually the pinky pointing to the ring finger. Therapy is generally unsuccessful as treatment, and surgery is usually required if there are functional problems. As far as guitar playing, it is unlikely to be harmful. However, the ability to play depends on the severity of the condition. ...Read more
Overuse neuropathy: The same thing happens with any repetitive activity. Imagine throwing 5000-10000 stitches with a needle every day, making quilts over years: those ladies have the same complaint. This overuse of the fingertips can actually damage the nerves enough to cause numbness. Staying away from the activity allows for some recovery, but then you have to decide: do you love the music or finger sensation more? ...Read more
Can playing guitar be considered therapeutic in recovering from a mildly displaced 4th metacarpal without surgery?
Depends on age of Fx: If its less than 3 weeks, then its best you don't; as I think you might cause it to get displaced. After 5 week yes it'll help, as by then the fx has healed. Between 3-5 maybe, depending upon the fx type, degree of displacement on xrays, etc. Your treating doc would be in a better position to gauge your treatment. ...Read more
Time: This is not something covered in medical school, but I can tell you as a one time guitar player myself, if you practice a lot over time finger tips will get calluses and this problem gets better. ...Read more
How soon can I start playing guitar after a mildly displaced 4th metacarpal without surgery. I don't want to jeopardize proper healing.
Guitar hands: Nondisplaced 4th mc fractures are generally stable as long as you are careful. The fracture usually heals by 6 weeks. If this is your strumming hand, you are probably safe to play guitar by week 3. If the fracture is on the fretboard hand, then you will likely be too sore and stiff to play before week 4 or 5. You should generally protect the hand for 6 weeks. ...Read more
Probably not..: Playing the guitar has not been shown to be a significant risk for joint disease, unless you have tendency to develope arthritis anyway. In that case, the arthritis may come a bit earlier because of excessive use/movement of the joints that are pre-disposed to disease. If you have arthritic hands at age 39, consult doc for eval because I would not blame the guitar for it. Consult doc. Good luck. ...Read more
Variable: How long hae you played? What kind of guitar. What ever, there is no way to tell. It is different for everybody. Wait and you will see how long it takes. Each time you practice there will probably be less soreness. ...Read more
Yes...: ...If you could play before surgery. Of course, there's plenty of rehab and conditioning before you return to preop function, and there's no guarantee you'll not have some, or even significant, deficit. Speak to your hand surgeon about your concerns, for a realistic discussion about convalescence and expectations. Good luck. And enjoy your music. ...Read more
Trigger finger occurs when the flexor tendon to the digit swells and then binds up at its entrance into the finger.
Management is focused on getting the inflammation under control...Ice, antiinflammatories, and activity modification.
Failing these simple interventions steroid injections, and occasionally surgery, are very effective. ...Read more
Unfortunately, callouses come with guitar playing as do shorter fingernails. You want and need calluses to play proper guitar.
Practice every day in short increments. If you are using an acoustic guitar with metal strings, insure that they are new and have a nanoweb coating (elixir strings).
Moisturize your finger tips twice per day with a cream containing Alpha hydroxyacid. ...Read more
Callus Formation: Your symptoms are likely due to callus formation - it is thickening of the skin in regions that receive repetitive use - like strumming a guitar. These areas do not have nerve endings and sensations may feel more dull then in rest of hand/fingers. Callus removal is usually done by salicyclic acid, or pumus stone. If that doesn't work, you can see a dermatologist. ...Read more
Doubtful.: That is a very very very painful procedure to lengthen bones and may take years even. It is usually done when one leg significantly shorter than the other. I don't know your age. If you are still young, your hands could still be growing. Perhaps in the meantime, you could find an easier instrument to learn that doesn't require as long of finger stretches. ...Read more
I get shoulder pains on the right side when I play guitar. How can I prevent this from happening?
See below: Change strap/playing position.Get a more detailed answer ›
Hard to say: There are several potential causes and an exam can usually determine the cause. The three most common causes would be the development of arthritis in your hand, an overuse tendinitis of the tendons in the hand, or a neuroma secular problem such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Don't hesitate to be seen. ...Read more
Tendonitis: Most commonly the result of tendonitis. Recommend stretching well prior to playing, icing after playing and using anti-inflammatories. Also have someone evaluate your positioning when playing as this can worsen the problem ...Read more