PDA

View Full Version : Wrist & thumb tendonitis



RafterGirl
12-31-2018, 08:30 AM
Iíve started struggling with some De Quervainís tendonitis (wrist & thumb tendonitis) in my left/ fretting hand. This is the first time Iíve had any hand issues with playing. It actually doesnít hurt to play. Just some very mild discomfort with a few things. But there are hand movements during the day are painful. I looked online for some gentle stretches & exercises for De Quervainís, and Iím backing off on practicing a bit. Wearing a wrist brace for sleep makes it hurt a lot more. Iím also trying to ice my wrist & thumb, but that hurts a lot.

Anyone experience this problem? What did you do for it? Not playing for an extended period of time would make me very sad.

ripock
12-31-2018, 08:41 AM
First of all, I think you should (if you haven't already) go see a medical professional. De Quervain's can cause permanent damage. Obviously, you shouldn't pinch with that hand making fretting nearly impossible. In the meantime, you could practice using a slide (no pinching involved) or take this opportunity to learn to play left-handed.

Chopped Liver
12-31-2018, 08:43 AM
Agreed. Go to the doctor. Self diagnosis or treatment is not wise in this case.

pix.fairydust
12-31-2018, 08:54 AM
I’ve started struggling with some De Quervain’s tendonitis (wrist & thumb tendonitis) in my left/ fretting hand. This is the first time I’ve had any hand issues with playing. It actually doesn’t hurt to play. Just some very mild discomfort with a few things. But there are hand movements during the day are painful. I looked online for some gentle stretches & exercises for De Quervain’s, and I’m backing off on practicing a bit. Wearing a wrist brace for sleep makes it hurt a lot more. I’m also trying to ice my wrist & thumb, but that hurts a lot.

Anyone experience this problem? What did you do for it? Not playing for an extended period of time would make me very sad.

Sorry to hear you're having some pain. Hope you get some relief from it

RafterGirl
12-31-2018, 09:47 AM
I had De Quervain's in my other wrist a few years ago. I did the exercises, stretches, and wrist brace that time. Seems like it went away within a month, if I remember right. I have been practicing & playing a lot for the Christmas holiday, so maybe that was the problem. Are there any stretches that you guys do routinely to help with wrist/thumb/finger flexibility & strength?

TobyDog
12-31-2018, 10:13 AM
I don't have any first hand experience with this, but I've read of piano players who soak the hands in warm wax to help with hand pain.

Joyful Uke
12-31-2018, 11:58 AM
Of course, as others have said, check with a doctor.

That said, I've heard of people having success with using CBD oil topically. I haven't tried that myself, but have run across people who swear by it.

I personally find acupuncture helpful, but you might not have interest or access to that.

I have to be very picky about the neck on the ukulele. You said that you've been playing more lately, but you also have a new ukulele with a different neck.

I can't recall if you sold your other ukulele, but switching back to that neck for a while might be something to consider while you heal. Then in the future, maybe you can play both necks, but switch back and forth to prevent problems. Then again, maybe the neck has nothing to do with it.

Alexander Technique is something that musicians can find helpful, so maybe that's something to look into, too. Yet another thing I don't really know about, but I have run across people who have found it helpful.

I hope that you find relief from the discomfort.

Kenn2018
12-31-2018, 12:26 PM
Ibuprofen helps reduce inflammation as well as the pain. But it, like icing, is treating the symptom. Go see a professional. Physical therapy can loosen your hand and give you exercises to prevent tendonitis.

But none of that addresses the cause. Exercises to loosen joints and stretch the hands are good prevention. Everyone from Barry Maz to Ukulele Mike have variations on YouTube.

patico
12-31-2018, 12:33 PM
Hi.
Those priblems usually come from repeated movements, same as computers, playing instruments, repetitive hand jobs, etc.
Your most helpful treatment is rest, and take it seriously. The pain will go away slowly so take your time.
You can take painkillers if the pain is above tolerance. Something warm 3 times x day will ease the pain faster.
Your lesson for the future.... learn warm up excercises, then do whatever you re studying, and final stretches to finish your session.

Iorana korua

patico
12-31-2018, 12:34 PM
Hi.
Those priblems usually come from repeated movements, same as computers, playing instruments, repetitive hand jobs, etc.
Your most helpful treatment is rest, and take it seriously. The pain will go away slowly so take your time.
You can take painkillers if the pain is above tolerance. Something warm 3 times x day will ease the pain faster.
Your lesson for the future.... learn warm up excercises, then do whatever you re studying, and final stretches to finish your session.

Iorana korua

RafterGirl
12-31-2018, 01:28 PM
I’m
Of course, as others have said, check with a doctor.

That said, I've heard of people having success with using CBD oil topically. I haven't tried that myself, but have run across people who swear by it.

I personally find acupuncture helpful, but you might not have interest or access to that.

I have to be very picky about the neck on the ukulele. You said that you've been playing more lately, but you also have a new ukulele with a different neck.

I can't recall if you sold your other ukulele, but switching back to that neck for a while might be something to consider while you heal. Then in the future, maybe you can play both necks, but switch back and forth to prevent problems. Then again, maybe the neck has nothing to do with it.

Alexander Technique is something that musicians can find helpful, so maybe that's something to look into, too. Yet another thing I don't really know about, but I have run across people who have found it helpful.

I hope that you find relief from the discomfort.

I sold the ukulele that had a very thin neck (Loprinzi). The Loprinzi shared playing time with my other two ukes, a KoAloha & a Gary Gill. I replaced the Loprinzi with an aNueNue Moon Bird. All the ukes are concert scale, with 36mm nut size. The neck shapes & size are very similar, and the Moon Bird doesn’t feel markedly different. I haven’t noticed anything while playing it that felt weird. But, I have been playing it exclusively for about 2 months. In the past, I briefly had a uke with a more flat/ squared off neck shape that bugged my hand. I could tell very quickly that I didn’t like that neck shape.

I’ll back off on playing, and give the Moon Bird some time off.

Jerryc41
01-01-2019, 03:09 AM
From a uke-playing friend who has the same problem -

"Tell them to try Kinesio Tex Gold Tape for atheletes.

Using, holding a cell phone may also be irritating the tendons.

My doc wanted to do a cortisone injection. I said no. PT is often recommended, as is ice."

https://smile.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Kinesio+Tex+gold+tape

Doc_J
01-01-2019, 03:46 AM
Hi.
Those priblems usually come from repeated movements, same as computers, playing instruments, repetitive hand jobs, etc.
Your most helpful treatment is rest, and take it seriously. The pain will go away slowly so take your time.
You can take painkillers if the pain is above tolerance. Something warm 3 times x day will ease the pain faster.
Your lesson for the future.... learn warm up excercises, then do whatever you re studying, and final stretches to finish your session.

Iorana korua

Iíve followed a very similar approach with thumb and wrist pain. Had to cut back. Using an iPad mini was easier on my thumbs than a regular sized iPad. Better yet, I found was using desktop pc with a mouse, instead of tablet or phone.

RafterGirl
01-01-2019, 05:28 AM
From a uke-playing friend who has the same problem -

"Tell them to try Kinesio Tex Gold Tape for atheletes.

Using, holding a cell phone may also be irritating the tendons.

My doc wanted to do a cortisone injection. I said no. PT is often recommended, as is ice."

https://smile.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Kinesio+Tex+gold+tape

Thanks Jerry. I definitely notice the pain when holding my iPhone. Of note .....until last fall I was living in the stone age & using an ancient flip phone. I got my first smart phone (iPhone 7S) last fall. I do use it a lot for viewing the internet & emails. I don't text a lot.

I so suffer from osteoarthritis & other orthopedic maladies, so I already that a prescription NSAID. I will research some pre-practice and post-practice stretch routines.

kypfer
01-01-2019, 06:08 AM
My doctor's advice was "if it hurts don't do it!", and he was serious!

RSI, like arthritis, only gets worse. I have to work within my limitations and accept them, have done for years. I still manage to play most days, but not for as long as I used to and I wouldn't risk a public performance in case I had to stop suddenly in the middle, which happens.

It's trying to "play through it" that causes the long-term damage. The slightest twinge and I'll find something else to do ... even if it's simply putting the ukulele/banjo/mandolin/guitar down and picking up a whistle/flute/clarinet/recorder or vice-versa. A different set of muscle actions can allow the first symptoms to subside before they get too painful.

YMMV, obviously, but do take professional advice - good luck :music:

Joyful Uke
01-01-2019, 06:47 AM
I sold the ukulele that had a very thin neck (Loprinzi). The Loprinzi shared playing time with my other two ukes, a KoAloha & a Gary Gill. I replaced the Loprinzi with an aNueNue Moon Bird.

That's what I was remembering. The Loprinzi neck vs. the Moon Bird Neck, which AFAIK are different necks. Can't speak from experience, but you can. :-)

Some necks don't work for me at all. Some work well, but if I switch back and forth between ukuleles, even if the necks don't have big differences, that can help even more.
Just my experience, and maybe not useful for anyone else.

When my hands need a break, working on some other aspect of music, (trying to learn another instrument that doesn't involve fretting, ear training, working out arrangements, or simply enjoying listening to music, for example), can help fill in the gap left by not being able to play ukulele as much.

I hope that you find a good solution for your situation.

70sSanO
01-01-2019, 08:42 AM
I’ve had left thumb pain for decades if I ply a lot of bar, or barre, chords on the guitar and also the ukulele. There is a technique (not sure if Alexander as the website meanders too much for me) where you use your arm/elbow to to squeeze the guitar/ukulele to pull the instrument body tight and this causes the neck to move away from your body. This pressure counteracts the fretting pressure so you don’t have to squeeze the neck as much. This thread is prompting me to see if so can incorporate some of this when I play a lot. I would think that and a strap that attaches to the headstock might help.

The other part of this is to figure out if the pain is being caused by something other than the ukulele; i.e. smartphone. It might be good to see a doctor to get a real diagnosis.

John

RafterGirl
01-09-2019, 03:25 PM
I saw my orthopedic/ sports medicine doctor today. He did exam & x-ray. Combo of tendonitis & arthritis. Cortisone injection & soft splint for my wrist. I asked about playing & he said as long as it doesn’t hurt I can play, but with moderation. Shorter practice, stretches to warm up, stop if it hurts, ice afterwards. Someone mentioned using a strap. I have straps on all my ukes, but I often will skip using them when I sit down for a quick practice. We all know how often “I’ll practice for a few minutes” turns into a hour as you get lost in the music. So I’ll remember the strap even while seated. Up to now, playing has not been painful and seems to loosen things up. However, some bar chords are a little bothersome. I’ll skip songs at my upcoming jam if they have lots of bar chords. After things settle down, I’ll pay more attention to wrist & thumb position, and pressure with bar chords.

mgsondance
01-11-2019, 09:18 PM
I saw my orthopedic/ sports medicine doctor today. He did exam & x-ray. Combo of tendonitis & arthritis. Cortisone injection & soft splint for my wrist. I asked about playing & he said as long as it doesn’t hurt I can play, but with moderation. Shorter practice, stretches to warm up, stop if it hurts, ice afterwards. Someone mentioned using a strap. I have straps on all my ukes, but I often will skip using them when I sit down for a quick practice. We all know how often “I’ll practice for a few minutes” turns into a hour as you get lost in the music. So I’ll remember the strap even while seated. Up to now, playing has not been painful and seems to loosen things up. However, some bar chords are a little bothersome. I’ll skip songs at my upcoming jam if they have lots of bar chords. After things settle down, I’ll pay more attention to wrist & thumb position, and pressure with bar chords.

I'd definitely have someone look at your posture while playing, or post some videos here so people can comment. Do you play with your thumb on the back of the neck? or do you hold your uke with the "crotch" between thumb and first finger? I've been a PT for 40 years and I'd recommend seeing one for a couple of visits to look at things the doc may have missed (nothing against docs, but PT's tend to be more experienced with this kind of injury). Take your uke with you. Have them show you how to do an ice massage, and possibly a gentle friction massage on the tendon prior to icing. But the major question to ask yourself is "why". You can't change your arthritis, but is there a repetitive activity (uke or otherwise) that is contributing to the tendonitis? Ask yourself what makes the pain worse, and what makes it less. If your stomach tolerates it and it doesn't conflict with other medications, consider taking 400 mg of ibuprofin 3x/day for 2-3 weeks. This is NOT for pain, so take it regularly even if you are feeling better. This can break the inflammatory cycle. Good luck. Feel free to PM me with questions. Margie

bazmaz
01-12-2019, 02:08 AM
Be very careful taking advice on an intenet forum on this complaint - it's very very deblitating and you should really speak to someone medically qualified.

Saying that as someone who had the very same, took bad advice and exacerbated it. I ended up facing surgery or having my hand in a splint permanently for 6 weeks. I went with the splint and it worked, but I don't want to repeat it.

The bad advice relates around things like stretches and exercise - ONLY do those if someone qualified has told you to do them as you can make it much worse.

Iíve started struggling with some De Quervainís tendonitis (wrist & thumb tendonitis) in my left/ fretting hand. This is the first time Iíve had any hand issues with playing. It actually doesnít hurt to play. Just some very mild discomfort with a few things. But there are hand movements during the day are painful. I looked online for some gentle stretches & exercises for De Quervainís, and Iím backing off on practicing a bit. Wearing a wrist brace for sleep makes it hurt a lot more. Iím also trying to ice my wrist & thumb, but that hurts a lot.

Anyone experience this problem? What did you do for it? Not playing for an extended period of time would make me very sad.

RafterGirl
01-12-2019, 04:23 AM
I'd definitely have someone look at your posture while playing, or post some videos here so people can comment. Do you play with your thumb on the back of the neck? or do you hold your uke with the "crotch" between thumb and first finger? I've been a PT for 40 years and I'd recommend seeing one for a couple of visits to look at things the doc may have missed (nothing against docs, but PT's tend to be more experienced with this kind of injury). Take your uke with you. Have them show you how to do an ice massage, and possibly a gentle friction massage on the tendon prior to icing. But the major question to ask yourself is "why". You can't change your arthritis, but is there a repetitive activity (uke or otherwise) that is contributing to the tendonitis? Ask yourself what makes the pain worse, and what makes it less. If your stomach tolerates it and it doesn't conflict with other medications, consider taking 400 mg of ibuprofin 3x/day for 2-3 weeks. This is NOT for pain, so take it regularly even if you are feeling better. This can break the inflammatory cycle. Good luck. Feel free to PM me with questions. Margie

Thanks for the reply. I take a prescription anti-inflammatory already. I primarily hold my uke between the thumb & index finger. Not all the way into the crotch area totally, depending of course on the chord/note I'm playing. I try to relax my hand, and not clutch too tight. I move my thumb to the back of the neck for barre chords. I have straps on all my ukes, and use them regularly when I play. My ortho doc told me about the ice massage. If the cortisone shot doesn't do the trick, then he'll have me see the hand therapist.

Chopped Liver
01-12-2019, 05:00 AM
Glad you got it checked out by a professional.

johnnysmash
01-13-2019, 02:11 AM
Yes seeing a professional is good advice. However, be aware that they believe for the most part only in pills and surgery. My doctor said without surgery that I would live a life of pain. After trying many different things, I found a physical therapist who works my left forearm down to the ends of my fingers on the left side weekly. I have her work on my back, shoulders, etc as necessary but the main work is on my left wrist, hand, and fingers. I still cannot play a full size guitar. I do play a Baritone Ukulele, a Tenor Ukulele, and a Guitalele with almost no pain except for when I try barre chords. Sometimes I can play my small classical guitar with a 22 inch scale. For the most part a 20 " scale or shorter is best for me. A year ago I got tears in my eyes from pain when I tried to play anything. Today I play off and on all day long as the mood strikes which is often. Find what works best for you with the least pain and go for it but never give up. Good Luck.

RafterGirl
05-14-2019, 01:37 PM
UPDATE. After over 4 months of dealing with DeQuervain's tenosynovitis in my left wrist, I had a surgical DeQuervain's release last week. I had De Quervain's in my right wrist years ago, and it responded well to a cortisone injection and a wrist brace at night for a couple weeks. This time around, I tried rest, brace, ice, heat, meds, Hand PT with stretches & massage, and a cortisone injection without resolution. After the cortisone injection, I also developed a firm painful "knot" at the injection site, which turned out to be herniated tendon sheath fluid. Throughout all of this, the one thing I could do without pain was play my ukulele. However, I had daily pain with things like turning a door knob, grasping & carrying things, and certain sudden movements of my wrist. I put off seeing a hand surgeon, but with rafting & kayaking season approaching, I didn't want to be in the wilderness with a painful wrist. I was pretty nervous about recovery time, but my hand surgeon was reassuring. He said I could resume my normal activities after the big bandage came off 4 days after surgery. He said to let pain be my guide. No heavy lifting, or vigorous wrist activity, but I could go back to playing as soon as I was comfortable. I'm happy to report that I'm already back to playing, one week post-op. My wrist & thumb are a little stiff, but playing doesn't hurt. I'm limiting my daily playing time, which is hard to do after a week of not playing. I couldn't play at church last Sunday, and just sang with the band. It sure was weird to be up there without my trusty Moon Bird, strumming away. This coming weekend, I should be back to playing with my uke group & at church. Just one week off, and I was in Ukulele Withdrawl. I sure love our happy little instrument of joy.

70sSanO
05-14-2019, 05:48 PM
Good news!

Make sure you do PT if you need it to get full motion.

John

AQUATOPAZ
05-14-2019, 07:08 PM
I had De Quervain's in my other wrist a few years ago. I did the exercises, stretches, and wrist brace that time. Seems like it went away within a month, if I remember right. I have been practicing & playing a lot for the Christmas holiday, so maybe that was the problem. Are there any stretches that you guys do routinely to help with wrist/thumb/finger flexibility & strength?

Lots of people use hand exercisers which your fingers press down in the belief that this will strengthen their hands but, unless they are rock climbers supporting their weight on their fingertips, what most people need are exercisers that work the opposite muscles, which get used less often. This is helpful for players of stringed instruments. With these exercisers you open your hand, not squeeze.

Jerryc41
05-15-2019, 12:08 AM
UPDATE. After over 4 months of dealing with DeQuervain's tenosynovitis in my left wrist...

Thanks for that. I passed this along to a friend who has the same problem, although playing the uke aggravates it.

RafterGirl
05-15-2019, 01:16 AM
Thanks for that. I passed this along to a friend who has the same problem, although playing the uke aggravates it.
Surgery was the last resort. With my other wrist, the cortisone & brace at night did the trick. I'm glad I gave all the conservative treatments a try first, because in most cases they work. I was lucky in that playing my uke didn't make it hurt worse, it actually seemed to keep in loosened up. Good luck to your friend, and have them talk with a orthopedic specialist. Hopefully a conservative treatment will work for them.

plunker
05-15-2019, 04:02 AM
Yes, go to a doc or even a good orthopedist. Dr. Google is not where you want to go. His office hours are great, but us diagnostic abilities are vague and very general.

Col50
05-15-2019, 04:36 AM
Get your General Practitioner to refer you to a specialist, one whose speciality is actually what youbare suffering from.

I was struggling with a wrist injury for months before referral and treatment with the result that I am 100% again.

rainbow21
05-15-2019, 07:10 AM
Good luck on a quick recovery and dealing with your "withdrawal" symptoms.

I played less uke for the last week. It was because I was in Hawaii and preferred listening to the waves instead of my playing.

RafterGirl
05-22-2019, 07:43 AM
It's been two weeks since surgery. I had my post-op follow-up today & all is going well. I'm free to resume rafting and paddling next month without restrictions. My doctor is happy that I'm back to playing my uke without pain. He says playing is perfect therapy for my hand. He said that any residual discomfort will go away as the swelling from the operation subsides. He says if I really overdo it, my wrist will let me know, but I can't damage anything he fixed. I played a gig with my uke group last Saturday at a community festival, and had a blast. We practiced for about an hour prior to the festival and then played a 30 minute set. I was back to playing at church last Sunday, and that sure was nice.

rainbow21
05-22-2019, 08:21 AM
Sounds like a great result from the surgery. Looks like a good summer on the way for you!