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Thread: A sore wrist -what to do?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Default A sore wrist -what to do?

    Hey,

    A couple of months ago my lefthand wrist started to hurt. At started out as feeling a little sore, so I thought I had just stretched it a bit somehow and it would be over in a week or two. But it didn't, and little by little it started to get more and more irritated. And I coulnd't tell where it came from. Now it really hurts when pushing something or lifting up my 3 year old, and I noticed that I start to avoid certain actions.

    I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago but she couldn't find anything disturbing (no inflammation) so she couldn't help me much than telling me to keep it easy for a while.

    Yesterday it hurt quite a bit when playing the uke as well... now that's alarming!!
    Then I noticed that it hurt less last week and that I hadn't played that much as well. It made me think that playing the uke is maybe the cause of all this?
    I mean, I 've gotten quite fanatic on practicing scales and techniques last couple of months. But it's not that I play for hours non stop, it's more like an hour a day, sometimes more sometimes less.

    But maybe there's a connection? Could it be that I'm doing something wrong with my left hand?
    Last edited by Rutger; 11-13-2017 at 01:34 AM.

  2. #2
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    I believe, as you get more used to the fretboard, you hold it more vertically, whereas, 'us beginners' tend to look where our fingers are going, hence we don't hold it in the 'correct' position - could be what is aggravating your wrist.

    I'd suggest giving the physical practice less time, you can spend the rest on learning some theory.
    (I used to practice for only 10~15 minutes at a time, several times a day, when I started.)
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  3. #3
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    Is your Uke facing outward or facing upward (you are peeking at your fingers)? I used to and still sometimes peek at my own fingers on the fretboard, especially when learning a new song. It used to put extra strain on my left wrist if I turn my Uke upward. If you look at videos of professionals, their left wrists are usually at a pretty natural position. Straight to the forearm or only slightly bent. I hope this helps.
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  4. #4
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    You could be right about that! I forgot that I've started to study chord/solo stuff as well recently and that I tend to hold my uke like a classical guitar: the bottom rests on my upper leg and the neck goes up in the air.

    Here's a short video I did lately, so you can see how I hold it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Juny1y6LQz0
    Last edited by Rutger; 11-13-2017 at 05:12 AM.

  5. #5
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    I sometimes struggle with a chronically sore left wrist. I strained it a couple of months back lifting weights. My chiropractic physician has given me electro stimulation and it has helped. He also gave me a few alternate ways to perform certain lifts to take some of the strain off the area.
    It has also had an effect on playing uke. I try to practice 1.5-2 hours 6 days a week and on the 7th day no more than an hour. I rarely ever practice more than 30 minutes straight. I usually do as many 20-30 minute sessions as I can. Being retired makes this practice schedule pretty easy. I also try to play as relaxed as possible. Try icing the area at the end of the day. One little trick my chiropractor showed me was to fill Dixie cups with water and let them freeze. Gently massage the problem area with the ice.

  6. #6
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    Your position looks OK to me - but maybe you are fretting with too strong a grip with your fingers?
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  7. #7
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    First off the Brahms video is lovely!

    You haven't said where the pain is in your wrist. I too have pain in both wrists and I know mine is arthritis and over playing agitates it. It could be carpel tunnel, it could be stress on the wrist. The scales are a good way to get all the fingers moving and all the parts of the hand that band to the arm at the wrist (tendons).
    Rest is good (shorter practice time) and Ice goes a long way. Get a wrist support at your drugstore for support when you play especially while you're going through this.
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  8. #8
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    It's a good idea to do a few simple exercises before you start playing, like the ones described here. Though there are plenty of other websites with good suggestions. https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis...nger-exercises
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  9. #9
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    Hi, Rutger! Nice play, video is lovely!

    I think your play is not bad at all. But if you have a pain, the angle of your wrist may cause your wrist pain.



    You are taking classical style. We need enough finger flexion in this style, otherwise we flex our wrist instead (red line). I don't think you are wrong or your style is bad. But if you want to change your style for the pain, flex your fingers and extend your wrist. Or change your style like James Hill. Hold your ukulele more horizontal and grip the neck like him.
    Kamaka HF-1 100

  10. #10
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    Thank you so much for all the answers and advices! Reading all your questions and tips I come to the conclusion that my playing posture is indeed the cause of the sore wrist. I do press quite hard to fret difficult chords, and looking at the pictures above the angle my wrist makes does look unnatural. The soreness is on the top of the wrist, exactly the area where I stretch my wrist while playing. It especially gets painfull when I bend my wrist upwards (when pushing something e.g.).

    I thought this posture to be quite comfortable but I will change it now for shure. I've met too many musicians who couldn't play there instrument for years because of this sort of ongoing injuries. I will not let that happen...!

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