Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Pain in fretting hand

  1. #1

    Default Pain in fretting hand

    While practicing this morning I got a shooting pain up my left (fretting hand) thumb. I found an enlargement on the base of the thumb. Sure looks like arthritis - damn! Makes sense at my age but not a happy development.

    Any recommendations for exercises, etc. I will try icing.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leer, Northern Germany
    Posts
    1,378

    Default Re: Pain in fretting hand


  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portland, Ore.
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Pain in fretting hand

    I have arthritis in the bases of both thumbs. I also struggle with bone spurs in my neck that occasionally cause pinched nerves that give me pain and tingling in my left hand.

    To fight the arthritis, I do some gentle stretching with both thumbs. I also take naproxen sodium (Aleve) twice a day to calm the inflammation.

    To fight the pinched nerves, I do a series neck-stretching exercises taught to me by a physical therapist, a yoga instructor and a nurse.

    I would get expert medical advice before doing anything drastic. And good luck!

  4. #4
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lower alabama
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: Pain in fretting hand

    Quote Originally Posted by Quake City View Post
    While practicing this morning I got a shooting pain up my left (fretting hand) thumb. I found an enlargement on the base of the thumb. Sure looks like arthritis - damn! Makes sense at my age but not a happy development.

    Any recommendations for exercises, etc. I will try icing.

    Thanks for any help!
    Probably basal joint arthritis. My orthopedic dr says this is the most common osteoarthritis of the hand.

    I've been affected too, and was very close to selling my mandolins, but have altered my technique to what it should have been anyway, and now playing better and without pain.

    Mandolin, this sweet little instrument, can be absolutely brutal. Make sure you aren't using your nice opposable thumb to actually oppose the fretting fingers when playing mandolin. Support the neck with the base of you index finger and just let the thumb stick up over the top of the neck or back towards the peghead. If that's not how you already do it.

  5. #5
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    3,150

    Default Re: Pain in fretting hand

    You may want to check out these ergonomic videos, see if you can find a bit of relief.

    https://www.petemartin.info/mandolin-basics-videos.html
    -----------
    Pete Martin
    www.PeteMartin.info
    Instruction books, videos, articles, transcriptions:
    Jazz, bluegrass, improvisation, ergonomics
    Private lessons in Seattle, online live lessons to anywhere
    Pete Martin Plays Wes Montgomery free download

  6. #6
    Playing on the porch
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    A Hilltop in Central Texas
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Pain in fretting hand

    My heartfelt sympathies are with you. I had switched from classical violin to mandolin because I felt as though playing the violin was slowly wearing out my left hand and right shoulder. The mandolin plays very well when sitting and seemed much easier on the joints. And, I still choose to believe that is true. Still, I played mandolin for years, but a couple months ago, my fret hand, wrist and forearm started to hurt, quite a bit. I am an older fellow and decideed, because I am an older fellow, that I would just play through the pain. That worked until the pain won. I finally found a physician who was a hand specialist and am seeing him and a hand physical therapist. And, slowly, it is working. I just started playing again after a fairly long break and i quit as soon as any part of that arm gets tender. I do the recommended exercises every day and it is helping. All that to say, I recommend you see a trusty doctor early so that you don't goof yourself up.

    I hope you find out what is causing the problem and adjust as necessary to get back to your regular playing. Playing is very important, but it is more fun when it isn't hurting.

    Good luck!
    ---
    2017 Eastman MD515 mandolin
    1928 Roth (Amati) violin
    1907 Foltz (Strad) violin
    20

  7. #7
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,575
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Pain in fretting hand

    Quote Originally Posted by Quake City View Post
    While practicing this morning I got a shooting pain up my left (fretting hand) thumb. I found an enlargement on the base of the thumb. Sure looks like arthritis - damn! Makes sense at my age but not a happy development.

    Any recommendations for exercises, etc. I will try icing.

    Thanks for any help!
    I've got RA in the hands that has resulted in a trigger left thumb and a trigger right ring finger... After talking with my MD, a DPT and an OT specialist, immobilizing finger braces were my ultimate solution for them, 24/7 for a couple of weeks, then wearing them to bed at night for about a year. I did loose some movement, but I've re-learned how to work around that with the instruments that I play.

    That said, my physician-authorized daily therapy is washing dishes, at least twice a day in fairly random intervals of hot, cold and warm water. The water therapy and random dish washing movement is extremely effective. In the mornings it takes stiff hands and gets them as flexible as possible, in the evenings it makes tired hands comfortable and relatively pain free for sleeping. And my hands, and our dishes, are usually pretty clean.

    I don't know if the braces are a good solution for you and I would suggest getting some official medical advice about that, but the dish washing is safe, positive, and should at least temporarily help relieve hand soreness situations.

    Best of luck with your specific hand problems!
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [Our recent arrival]

  8. #8

    Default Re: Pain in fretting hand

    This is a follow up to my original post. After letting the hand rest for a couple of days, i went back to playing but focusing on the position of the neck; something I have neglected for years, I'm afraid. I used a shorted strap to give the neck an upright position so my wrist in not bent. I also am focused on sitting upright, not bent over the instrument. This seems to be helping quite a bit. I even got through a three hour jam without pain, but being very careful about positioning. So we'll see how this goes. Caution is the watchword! Thanks for all the advice. Very helpful!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •