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View Full Version : Ouch! Aka no playing for me for a couple of weeks...



Kitters
11-25-2011, 01:03 AM
I started playing the ukulele in April and before that I had quite a long break from playing the guitar so I classify myself as a beginner although not a complete newbie in playing instruments. Apparently I do have a lot to learn to keep me from injuring myself while playing...

I guess it's no more playing my ukes for a couple of weeks since I've injured my left thumb. :( Yesterday or the day before I noticed a sharp pain in my thumb occasionally that would feel a bit like when you have a pinched nerve or when a small vein breaks. Yesterday it got gradually worse to the point where it would feel like my thumb was stuck in the wrong position while it looked normal. Now I can't move the thumb at all and try to keep my left hand stationary and resting. Hubby has diagnosed my injury as tendonitis of the thumb and I think he's right.

The only thing I can think of that could've caused this is my playing technique. I have quite a long fingers and since I unfortunately also have hypermobile joints, my left hand technique can be a bit weird. I do confess, I also sometimes "cheat" by playing the lower strings with my thumb (something I've heard referred to as "the Jimi Hendrix technique"), something I used to do with the guitar too. The biggest problem is the hypermobility in my thumb. It is really hard to try to keep the thumb in the middle of the back of the neck when my thumb is bending backwards. I'll have to find a solution for my playing technique problems.

In the meanwhile all I can do is rest I guess (and you know how hard that is, trying not to touch a uke). Right now I wouldn't even dream of moving my hand since it is incredibly painful. Took me ages to type this with just one hand. Have any of you had similar problems and how have you solved them?

Trinimon
11-25-2011, 01:35 AM
Uhhh, that's unfortunate. So sorry to hear Kitters. So far, knock on wood, I haven't had any uke related injuries but I know that feeling of not getting some uke time in during the day. I wish you a speedy recovery. :(

NoahOathKeeper
11-25-2011, 02:41 AM
This might be a great time to just practice strumming patterns . chuncking ,etc. mute the strings a bit , and strum away , No chord needed

chindog
11-25-2011, 02:52 AM
You could do an open tuning and try some slide ukulele!

PhilUSAFRet
11-25-2011, 05:11 AM
Yup, I guess they don't call it "proper" technique for nothing. I have arthritis in my right thumb, more than likely the result of using poor technique while hitting my conga drum. Gets a bit sore from time to time. Good luck and a speedy recovery. Don't get tempted to use it much until it's healed. Ice it!

Kitters
12-04-2011, 11:10 PM
Thank you all for your replies. I've been not playing my ukes for over a week now and... it's terrible! I can't wait to play again! Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not totally sure it's my uke playing that has caused this. It might be my fiddling with my smartphone way too much that is causing the problems... That thing wreaks havoc on your thumbs! After all, I did manage to play without problems for about six to seven months before this. Now I'm having some trouble with my right thumb as well, so it might be a work related thing. So... I guess I'll cut down playing with the phone (ha!) and see if this clears. No idea when I can pick up my uke again but hopefully soon!

OldePhart
12-05-2011, 10:38 AM
You could do an open tuning and try some slide ukulele!
Exactly what I was going to recommend. There's even an up-side - it gives you a good excuse to get a resonator uke...

OldePhart
12-05-2011, 10:39 AM
Thank you all for your replies. I've been not playing my ukes for over a week now and... it's terrible! I can't wait to play again! Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not totally sure it's my uke playing that has caused this. It might be my fiddling with my smartphone way too much that is causing the problems... That thing wreaks havoc on your thumbs! After all, I did manage to play without problems for about six to seven months before this. Now I'm having some trouble with my right thumb as well, so it might be a work related thing. So... I guess I'll cut down playing with the phone (ha!) and see if this clears. No idea when I can pick up my uke again but hopefully soon!

That may very well be the case. My wife has a lot of problems with her hands since she's started spending so much time online with her phone. (I gave her a lap top, but she will often spend hours on the stupid phone stabbing away at it instead of getting the laptop out.)

Lola
12-09-2011, 05:32 PM
You have my sympathy, Kitters. I hurt my strumming hand really badly in a bike accident this summer. No bones or tendons were broken, but it was too swollen to move most of my fingers at all for a week or 2. Every time I seemed to be making progress, I'd overdo it trying to type or strum with my bandaged hand and have another setback. After all that, I developed tendinitis in the thumb from from overcompensating so much.

My practical advice to you is ice is your friend! :) Hold your sore thumb in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes at a time to help control the inflammation. Even in the warmer months I didn't enjoy it much, but when I made a concerted effort to do it more often I started seeing much more rapid improvement in both the initial injury and the tendinitis. Unfortunately, I can't really remember what the timeline looked like now, but the tendinitis plagued me for almost a month while the rest of my hand healed (and that part's still healing almost 5 months later.) It will get better, though. I hope you can get back to playing soon!

Nickie
12-11-2011, 02:05 PM
kitters, sorry to hear that. I hate pain worse than anything. When I switched from my old Cordoba (with a pretty thin neck) to my new Kala (neck feels like a baseball bat by comparison) I was using the wrong left hand technique, and didn't know it. apparently, I pinched a nerve near the joint in my thumb, and sometimes it hurts like the dickens. I have to be very careful not to make chords incorrectly, or I get a real nasty dose of intense pain in my thumb. Sometimes it just hurts from grabbing a doorknob. I sympathize with you. Sometimes I rub Biofreeze on it.