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Doctor insights on: Playing Guitar Arthritis

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Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice Dr. Fitzmaurice
Surgery - Hand Surgery
17 years in practice
St. George's University School of Medicine
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Is it possible to keep playing guitar with arthritis in the thumbs?

Is it possible to keep playing guitar with arthritis in the thumbs?

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.

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Dr. Thomas Namey
2,412 Doctors shared insights

Arthritis (Definition)

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


Dr. Jeffrey Wint Dr. Wint
Surgery - Hand Surgery
31 years in practice
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
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What is the way to play guitar with hypermobility?

What is the way to play guitar with hypermobility?

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.

Dr. David Krulak Dr. Krulak
Family Medicine
19 years in practice
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine
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What to do if I have a clinodactyly disease can I still play the guitar?

What to do if I have a clinodactyly disease can I still play the guitar?

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.

Dr. William Harris Dr. Harris
Family Medicine
29 years in practice
Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
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My boyfriend can't feel the right side of his pointer finger from playing guitar?

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?

Dr. Tariq Niazi Dr. Niazi
Orthopedic Surgery
39 years in practice
University of Peshawar, Khyber Medical College
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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.

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Dr. Michael DePietro Dr. DePietro
Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Critical Care
31 years in practice
Hahnemann Medical College
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The tips of my fingers hurt from so much playing guitar how do I make them heal faster?

The tips of my fingers hurt from so much playing guitar how do I make them heal faster?

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.

Dr. Alan Ali Dr. Ali
Psychiatry
28 years in practice
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/UAMS College of Medicine
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I played my guitar for five hours last night and went to bed. Today, my fingertips still are numb. Suggestions?

Dr. Alan Ali Dr. Ali
1 doctor agreed:
I played my guitar for five hours last night and went to bed. Today, my fingertips still are numb. Suggestions?

Guitar: Take a break from guitar playing tonight and sleep well. Morton or tylenol (acetaminophen) tonight if still discomfort.

Dr. Tal David Dr. David
Orthopedic Surgery
23 years in practice
Baylor College of Medicine
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How soon can I start playing guitar after a mildly displaced 4th metacarpal without surgery. I don't want to jeopardize proper healing.

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.

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Dr. Bac Nguyen Dr. Nguyen
Family Medicine
19 years in practice
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
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Can my joints be harmed by playing guitar?

Can my joints be harmed by playing guitar?

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.

Dr. Barry Bergman Dr. Bergman
Pediatrics
37 years in practice
Medical College of Wisconsin
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How long will my fingers hurt when I play guitar?

How long will my fingers hurt when I play guitar?

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.

Dr. Mark Kuhnke Dr. Kuhnke
Surgery
36 years in practice
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
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Can you play the guitar after tendon transfer surgery?

Can you play the guitar after tendon transfer surgery?

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.

Dr. Todd Guyette Dr. Guyette
Surgery - Hand Surgery
years in practice
Harvard Medical School
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How do I deal with trigger finger and still play the guitar?

How do I deal with trigger finger and still play the guitar?

Several options...: 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.

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Dr. Stephen Friedman Dr. Friedman
Dermatology
37 years in practice
University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio
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Is it possible to play the guitar without getting hard skin on your fingertips?

Is it possible to play the guitar without getting hard skin on your fingertips?

Moisturize: 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.

Dr. Shalabh Bansal Dr. Bansal
Pediatrics
9 years in practice
Saba University School of Medicine (coursework from 1/1/02 to present)
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Tip of my finger feels numb after playing guitar for years (also smoked a lot)?

Tip of my finger feels numb after playing guitar for years (also smoked a lot)?

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.

Dr. Daniel Mass Dr. Mass
Surgery - Hand Surgery
42 years in practice
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
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Past finger injuries affecting guitar playing. Are there finger rehab exercises?

Past finger injuries affecting guitar playing. Are there finger rehab exercises?

Yes: There are finger exercises that a hand therapist can teach you to strengthen your fingers, but you should be evaluated by a hand surgeon to make sue there are no correctable injuries.

Dr. Carrie Cannon Dr. Cannon
Family Medicine
29 years in practice
Baylor College of Medicine
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Can I have my pinky finger lengthened? I want to play guitar and it makes it a nightmare

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.

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Dr. Michael Sparacino Dr. Sparacino
Family Medicine
33 years in practice
A. T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Dr. Richard Zimon Dr. Zimon
Internal Medicine
55 years in practice
Harvard Medical School
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Why is my thumb numb after playing guitar?

Why is my thumb numb after playing guitar?

Constant: Trauma to the small nerve endings will cause numbness. Eventually these tiny nerves will "die" leaving a less sensitive but equally effective "pick" Hope this helps Dr Z

Dr. Edward Hellman Dr. Hellman
Orthopedic Surgery
25 years in practice
University of Illinois College of Medicine
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Why does my hand hurt while playing the guitar?

Why does my hand hurt while playing the guitar?

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.

Dr. Steven Brown Dr. Brown
Surgery - Hand Surgery
35 years in practice
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
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What do you suggest if my hand hurts while playing the guitar?

What do you suggest if my hand hurts while playing the guitar?

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

Dr. Robert Lowe
1,546 Doctors shared insights

Painful Joints (Definition)

That term is not really a specific diagnosis, but rather somewhat of a general term. The medical term is arthralgias, which implies pain in multiple joint possibly coming from a single cause. Don't hesitate to be seen and evaluated for ...Read more