Clawhammer thumb pain

Joe Strummer

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I was just getting the basic bum ditty technique, and my thumb started hurting. The pain began where the thumb joins my hand and spread to my wrist. I had to take a 2 month break from any uke playing to recover.

Is there something I can improve with my technique? I’m following a banjo video where the thumb lands on the 4th string when the index fingernail hits string 1 or 2. It seems like my thumb is almost fully extended when I’m playing the 1st string. So, when the thumb plucks the 4th, there may be too much stress, or even some hyperextension.

Maybe part of the problem is the thumb repeatedly landing on the 4th or a the flat wrist position needed to make the claw shape. I’m prone to wrist problems. Is this a technique I should avoid, or am I just doing it wrong?
 
Did your hand therapist give you this book? https://theratape.com/manuals-dvds/104-caring-for-the-painful-thumb.html

I find that briefly wearing my CMC brace (the plastic “Push” brace, not the neoprene sleeve brace) while I do the activity that causes pain trains me to correct my bad habit pretty quickly. At the very least, it points it out so I can work on correcting it.

Talk to your hand therapist about bringing in your uke and playing during one of your sessions so they can see what you are doing. They don’t need to know anything about playing, they are looking at your hand. They can see the hand problem (just like you might not know anything about painting but if you observe a painter slouched over their canvas you can see that they need to sit up straight to ease their back pain).
 
I'm new to all things ukulele but wanting to learn the bum ditty I'm following instructions given in this video and after a couple of weeks of practice I feel no pain (I have no problems, though). You might want to check it out just to compare the technique you're using.
 
Did your hand therapist give you this book? https://theratape.com/manuals-dvds/104-caring-for-the-painful-thumb.html

I find that briefly wearing my CMC brace (the plastic “Push” brace, not the neoprene sleeve brace) while I do the activity that causes pain trains me to correct my bad habit pretty quickly. At the very least, it points it out so I can work on correcting it.

Talk to your hand therapist about bringing in your uke and playing during one of your sessions so they can see what you are doing. They don’t need to know anything about playing, they are looking at your hand. They can see the hand problem (just like you might not know anything about painting but if you observe a painter slouched over their canvas you can see that they need to sit up straight to ease their back pain).
Thanks for this information.
Do you have one for the other side of the hand - the pinky side (ulnar)?

Thanks
 
Thanks for this information.
Do you have one for the other side of the hand - the pinky side (ulnar)?

Thanks
Sorry, no. All my bugaboos are at the thumb and first finger, so that’s all i know about. Hand therapists are pretty great resources, but that stuff gets expensive. I guess Google would be the place to start? If you look up videos on YouTube, there are two good channels that I like for general PT: “Bob and Brad” (Bob has ataxia, so sometimes there are subtitles when he speaks) and “Dr. Jo.”
 
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Sorry, no. All my bugaboos are at the thumb and first finger, so that’s all i know about. Hand therapists are pretty great resources, but that stuff gets expensive. I guess Google would be the place to start? If you look up videos on YouTube, there are two good channels that I like for general PT: “Bob and Brad” (Bob has ataxia, so sometimes there are subtitles when he speaks) and “Dr. Jo.”
Thanks,
You're right Bob and Brad. 🤓
 
I'm new to all things ukulele but wanting to learn the bum ditty I'm following instructions given in this video and after a couple of weeks of practice I feel no pain (I have no problems, though). You might want to check it out just to compare the technique you're using.

That’s exactly the technique I was using with my index finger. Maybe I’ll try the middle finger to reduce the thumb extension. I suppose the same sort of rhythms could be played with 3 finger technique, though not technically correct.
 
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