Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
fazley

Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by fazley » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:56 am

Last December I had a freak accident at work ( in the last week before the summer holidays) I got all the fingers of both hand jammed between the handles of a wheelie bin and the driveway at work. All my fingers were gouged pretty deeply just at the first joint. My thumbs and the little fingers were ok. I was really upset as I was looking forward to much playing during my summer vacation. After a few days of not playing, I was extremely frustrated as I try to play every day. Out of desperation, I learnt how to play lap style, by placing a steel string guitar on my lap, tuning it to D A F# D A D and holding a cigarete lighter in my left hand between my thumb qand my bandaged left index finger. I used a thumbpick on my right hand thumb and learnt to used my right pinky to pick the strings. Eased my frustration at not being able to play guitar. They have since healed well and I am back to playing CG.

John O

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by John O » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:09 am

I grabbed a soldering iron that I thought I had unplugged! :shock: I ended up with several rows of burns and was out of commission for two weeks or so.

GuitaristOrdinate

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by GuitaristOrdinate » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:37 am

I had a work related accident ( Railroad ) about 10 years ago and seriously injured the fingers of my left hand with the exception of the thumb and had to have the tendons and ligaments reattached surgically . It was successful for three fingers but my left index finger didn't respond well and the last joint still droops ( mallet finger ) . For years I was unable to use or even bend the index finger at all . I just started playing again this January 1st and to my surprise it's my right hand that's giving me the most trouble redeveloping technique .
Last edited by GuitaristOrdinate on Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

MichaelBrock

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by MichaelBrock » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:46 pm

GuitarsOrdinate, I saw your introductory post but didn't get a chance to reply there (you're building your post count quickly!). I also took up the classical guitar at a later age, 42 for me.

I injured my left hand as well but not as severely as you did. In a freak moment of inattention I hand an altercation with electric miter saw (when I say simply "miter saw" people envision the little saw you use with a miter box and wonder how I managed such a severe injury :? ). The bone behind my thumb on my left hand was cut through as were both bundles of nerves that run along side the thumb. I still have temporary pins holding the thumb in place (but they come out tomorrow :okok:). The flexibility of my left index finger is slightly impaired but I'm hoping I can work on that. The feeling in my thumb isn't so hot but time will tell how much of that will come back.

When I first got back from the hospital my biggest regret was that I wasn't going to be able to play the guitar (I have only been playing for about 6 months; I can't imagine the feeling of having played for decades and suddenly not being able to :( ) but shortly thereafter I picked up copies of Guiliani's & Papararo's right hand studies and dug in. I searched for music written only for the right hand but didn't find more than a few, mostly unsatisfying, pieces. I worked on my tremolo (which hasn't really improved any) and harmonics. Last week I bought a copy of William Kanengiser - Classical Guitar Mastery and started working to improve my intonation.

As entertaining as all of that was, at this point it's been almost 2 months and I'm starting to forget what the non E-A-D-G-B-E notes on the guitar sound like!

Tomorrow I get the pins out of my hand and at least regain the ability to grasp the neck of the guitar. That can only be a good thing.

I'm sorry I turned this into "my story" but you did ask :D

GuitaristOrdinate

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by GuitaristOrdinate » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:19 pm

MichaelBrock - I really enjoyed reading your " story " . Don't ever give up , it took me years to recover the complete use of my left hand but it did eventually come about after much therapy ( mostly self inflicted ) . I found that squeezing a soft rubber ball helped a lot . Hopefully you'll completely recover very soon . Again thanks for sharing your experience .

JQ.

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by JQ. » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:07 pm

My worst was an encounter with a soup can lid (trying to get it back in the can for recycling) that managed to sever the tendons at the base of my LH pinky. Surgery, six weeks in a cast, then months of therapy. The therapist said my recovery was remarkable "especially for someone your age" (why do they have to add insult to injury like that?). It's fully functional now, but I lost about 1/4" of extension in that finger. :(

Latest was a few days ago doing the dishes. Had just washed out a cast iron skillet and fired up a burner on the stove and put it on to dry. Went to grab a pot lid from the stove and didn't realize it was close enough to the flame to get good and hot. Got a nice 1" blister on the side of my RH index finger even though I immediately kept ice on it for a good hour. It's healing nicely, but I feel like such a klutz. :oops:

kes

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by kes » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:38 pm

I ran through a glass door aged 7 and at the last second put my hand up to save my face - had several stitches in my right hand and I still have a huge scar today. I also damaged the nerves slightly, so my a finger is not straight and doesn't have a huge amount of feeling compared to the other fingers. But I can play guitar ok, and its now just my excuse for having an awful tremolo! As I was only 7, and not playing guitar then, I didn't do any physio or anything, but would probably have turned out much better if I had!

Kath

at_leo_87

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by at_leo_87 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:16 am

hi everyone,
wow, we have some tough stories here! i'm really glad everyone recovered/is recovering from their injury.

a few months ago, i cut nerves in my A and E (pinky) finger by accident when i broke a glass in my hand. i also cut the tendon in my pinky. i went to my local hospital, and they stitched me up, telling me everything was okay. then i went to a bigger hospital to get the stitches removed and told me the nerves and tendon were damaged and it's too late to get them back to normal. now im thinking about taking some legal action.

after surgery, i was put into a cast for 2+months. im still using a removable cast. i have at least about a month of therapy left. im regaining feeling into my fingers again but i'll never be able to bend the top joint of my pinky ever again.

the bright side of being injured:
i used this extra time to learn music theory, learn spanish, read a lot of books, and did a lot of ear training. basically, i did everything i was putting off before. and i also got to cut my nails and start from fresh. they're looking pretty good! the nail bed even seemed to get longer by a ridiculous amount! my doctor and therapists are super nice people, very supportive! im really lucky.
JQ: It's fully functional now, but I lost about 1/4" of extension in that finger.
does this mean you cant bend it all the way up? or it doesnt have full range of motion? your story sounds very similar to mine! im glad you're fully functional again! it gives me hope.

so lessons learned, dont leave phone cables laying on the floor or you might trip. and dont go to a small hospital for serious injuries. go to a reputable one!

edit: sorry for lengthy post... :oops:

JQ.

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by JQ. » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:18 am

at_leo_87 wrote:does this mean you cant bend it all the way up? or it doesnt have full range of motion? your story sounds very similar to mine! im glad you're fully functional again! it gives me hope.
My pinky has a crook in it. When I try to extend, it doesn't go all the way.

The therapist gave me a high score on my recovery... I could do just about anything other people could do with their hands. But not every other person is a classical guitarist.

An occupational therapist will rate you for what you can do with your hands, like your ability to use a can opener.

Mine told me she thought musicians made the best patients, because they sincerely wanted to be able to use their hands again and were the most willing to work at it. :)

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owl
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Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by owl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:25 am

Several years ago I fell backwards out of a tree I was pruning and landed on my right wrist, which fractured
I was in a full cast for only a week because I begged and pleaded with my doctor to put me in a half cast, which at least would give me some finger movement while keeping my wrist rigid... I could also remove it to have a shower
I must confess that I removed the cast more than I should have, but I was very careful to keep my wrist heavily strapped
It healed up perfectly and to date I have never had any problems with it :mrgreen:

Owl
Never, ever give up!... I leave my songprint on your heart.

Trev

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by Trev » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:15 pm

My worst injury occurred about 20 years ago. I had been studying classical guitar for a few months, and I also played ice hockey as a goaltender. Before playing a game, I would usually have a bunch of guys shooting pucks at me so that I could warm up. My job was to quickly knock down each shot so that I could square up to the next shooter. One night during warmups, I badly timed an attempt to knock down a slapshot with my left hand catching glove. Instead of the puck hitting the front side of the glove where all the padding was, I took it off the back of the glove near my knuckles. I immediately knew that something was wrong, and when I pulled my hand out of the catching glove, I could see that my ring finger was badly dislocated.

I learned later on that I had also fractured the finger at the PIP joint, and I ended up in a cast for about 6 weeks. The cast had a metal hoop at the end that went from the back of the injured finger to the base of the palm of my hand. The base of the injured finger was taped to the underside of the metal hoop, and I was encouraged to flex the finger within the range allowed by the hoop. At the beginning, the hoop was fairy small in diameter, but each week I went back to the doctor and he made the hoop bigger to allow for a wider range of motion in the injured finger. After 4 weeks, the diameter of the hoop was large enough to slip the head of my guitar through, and I could actually play a little bit with the other fingers. I was very lucky, because the finger healed nicely and I probably have about 90% of its original range of motion back.

I'll never forget the look on my guitar teacher's face when I showed up for a lesson wearing the hoop contraption. Needless to say, we did an awful lot of right hand work while I was recovering.

dcarlso3

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by dcarlso3 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:08 pm

When I was like 10 I chopped the tip of my rh index finger off right about in the middle of the last segment. Only lasting problem is that the nail grows sort of sideways and from quite a bit further back than the rest of my fingers.

jazztubes

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by jazztubes » Fri May 01, 2009 12:04 am

On a bike back in 1999, was upright stretching by back at the same time hit two consecutive manholes. I came down hard on the handlebars with only my thumbs, both were bent back way far. Couple days later they stuck out and stayed out! Three surgeries over a period of 12 months to get them both back, one (left) is twisted slightly for good. At the time I was gigging jazz guitar, and a church organist - both ended. The thumb cross used on classical organ (actually passing your palm over the thumb) is impossible - I can play an hour at most. I had learned jazz from Tal Farlow, so I played everything with my left thumb over the board to get the 6/5th string, ended that too.

Couldnt hold a neck for eight years; Very depressed the whole time; even lost a job (or two) I was so distorted having lost music. Oddly - my pharmacists sister was mauled by her neighbors little rat terrier of some sort. Her hand was a mess, and required a lot of work. She started selling the Dynaflex Power Ball that she used for her recovery, I got one and started using it. About two weeks later I was able to play again, it is a miracle device! Once I could hold a neck, I went right to classical guitar, and haven't looked back. Even sold off my jazz guitars.

I have a 650mm neck, my teacher has both a 640 and 630; playing the 630 is like heaven for my eff-ed up left hand. It was Dequervain's Tenosinovitis, BTW. Avoid it if at all possible!!! :-)

dave

Rique

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by Rique » Fri May 01, 2009 12:18 am

Gorblimey! (I´ve just looked this up... :wink: )
Thank heavens, I´m just finishing the first half century in my life, and still I´ve never had anything more serious than a broken nail... Still, it is encouraging to know that you all managed to get over it and come back to the guitar!

jazztubes

Re: Worst injury to hands - What did you do.

Post by jazztubes » Fri May 01, 2009 1:37 am

yup...I just finished reading some book that had a chapter on exercises for musicians, they said to avoid bikes! When I was in college they used to say musicians should never exercise. Now every note is golden.
d

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