Basal Joint Arthritis

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

Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by icebear » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:01 am

Hi Jim,

You wrote :"This latest doc gave a wide range of treatment options I won't bore anyone with unless asked ..."

What were some of the other treatment options ? :)

upnorth

Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by upnorth » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:09 am

Hi,
It was interesting that duct tape was suggested rather than an ace bandage. I share the same discomfort but I had been too busy to figure out when and where the pain originated... I'm a pastry chef and hold large, heavy sheet pans, sometimes at odd angles. I've even wondered if it were a ganglia (sp?) of sorts (from gardening?). After reading other posts I began keeping my thumb off the neck to be aware of how much pressure I put on it.
But the sad reality is most likely my 8 inch hand span. That's a maxed out 8 inch, pinky tip to thumb tip, 180 degree with palm flat. The songs I enjoy playing use the entire fretboard range (So a capo seems limiting) on my 640 mm scale guitar.

I came across my son's half size guitar and had a blast playing if only it didn't sound like rubber bands over a cigar box! What it seems I really need is a GOOD guitar scaled down without the scaled down sound :cry:

I've been looking...even on this site...anyone?

Alan Stancliff

Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by Alan Stancliff » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:54 am

I had basal joint arthritis in the right hand and have it now in the left hand. I also have arthritis in the metacarpophalangeal joint of the left hand.

I had the right-hand basal joint surgically replaced because the joint had a class II blowout, was 30% displaced, and was bone-on-bone. It was quite degenerated. The surgeon took a hunk of my right flexor carpi ulnaris tendon, rolled it up into a ball, and replaced the trapezium bone of the basal joint with it. This is not a simple surgery and requires a hand-surgeon specialist.

The shape of my hand has changed in a way noticeable to me, if not so noticeable to others.

It has been 7 months, and I had to take off 5 months from work. It is still a bit stiff, but at least I can type, play guitar, hold a coffee cup in my right hand, operate a can opener, and turn the key in my front door. The physical therapist noted that I had been a professional classic guitarist in the 1960s and 1970s and suggested I take it up again as part of my hand therapy. I had not played much in decades, but I made the re-acquaintance of my beloved guitar and am making some modest progress. It has also helped my thumb and right hand quite a bit.

I have to be very careful with my left thumb when playing guitar and minimize its use or it can become really inflamed.

Surgery is an option, but it should be the very last option. Many end up with a somewhat limited range of motion. Before developing arthritis and when I played before, I used to be able to do a tremolo on the first string and get the 6th string with my thumbnail, but now it is quite difficult for me. My wrist is no longer flexible enough to be able to do push-ups (press-ups in UK English), although my wrist flexibility is improving.

I really hope I never have to have this surgery done on my left hand.

Regards y saludos

Alan Stancliff

Tom Kelso

Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by Tom Kelso » Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:11 am

Wow, I have suffered from this condition for several years and never realized how common it is. I manage my symptoms reasonably well by being careful about excessive L thumb pressure and frequent breaks if pain develops. I have tried the cortisone injection and various thumb braces. I haven't tried Duct Tape yet but will keep it in mind. Playing is too important to me to give in to this condition.

harryf
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Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by harryf » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:49 pm

I have a similar problem. I manage it by trying to position the guitar to minimize strain on the left wrist when I play. For me, this means holding the guitar at a steep angle and having it quite high on my chest. I have tried guitar supports, but the best help seems to be a strap to keep the guitar in firmly in position. After searching this site and reading quite a few posts on the subject I have decided to do as one person has recommended (sorry, I can't remember who it was). I purchase two 2.5 inch suction cups from the local hardware store and attached an inexpensive guitar strap to them. The suction cups hold the strap securely to the guitar and the strap holds the guitar securely in a comfortable playing position, saving my wrist considerable pain. The whole contraption cost less than $10.
Teodoro Perez "Madrid" SP/IN

Guitarhancock
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Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by Guitarhancock » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:38 pm

Asking for update. How are you folks doing now? I have the same thing in left hand/ thumb. I wondered how the brace has been working . The latest post was in 2011. A progress report if you would . Many Thanks in advance.

Lawler
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Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by Lawler » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:54 am

Guitarhancock wrote:Asking for update. How are you folks doing now? I have the same thing in left hand/ thumb. I wondered how the brace has been working . The latest post was in 2011. A progress report if you would . Many Thanks in advance.
Sadly, most of the contributors to the thread have had their accounts deleted (note the username color).

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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:18 am

Guitarhancock wrote:Asking for update. How are you folks doing now? I have the same thing in left hand/ thumb. I wondered how the brace has been working . The latest post was in 2011. A progress report if you would . Many Thanks in advance.
I too wish for an update and something positive. Unfortunately, this is only a common starting place for arthritis in the hands and worse is to follow - if one is so inclined genetically.

As others have mentioned, one can develop left hand technique to avoid or minimize pain. This works for me and the pain I usually avoid is a sharp, bone cruncher of a pain when a sudden "false move" is made. The secondary pain is constant aching which is impossible to avoid on some days - and for me may include more generalized aching, e.g. arms, shoulders. Medication helps some, but taking enough to be effective for pain relief, makes one too tired to concentrate. I've tried tape splints and wrist/thumb braces. The former doesn't seem to help and the latter does inhibit movement and is not helping much anyway.

For me, the solution is not to play on some days. This is likely to happen if I have done things around the house which stresses the thumb basal (trapezoid-metacarpal) joint. This could be any repetitive activity which involves grasping something between the thumb and index finger. (What doesn't?) Of course opening a jar is out of the question! :x Therefore, I find the left hand pain comes to a crescendo, not playing the guitar so much, but just doing household chores. Once I'm sore like that, I am not motivated and procrastinate sufficiently that I don't get around to playing that day. :cry: Mention of other pain is a bit off topic, but arthritis is likely to be also present elsewhere and causing hurt - so it is not just one thing!

There is a lot of information on the web about this arthritic condition of the thumb but no good prognosis, treatment outcome, as far as I can determine.

I'll live with this problem and do the best I can to enjoy my guitar practice since not every day is so bad! :D It is something that I can still look forward to!
Neil Douglas 2001 (German Spruce / German Maple)
Neil Douglas 1992 (Engelmann Spruce / Brazilian Rosewood)
La Patrie Motif
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Guitarhancock
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Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by Guitarhancock » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:46 am

I am relatively new to this hand problem but I see what you are going through. Wish out well . Wish us both well . Will keep playing as long as possible. Working on a Bach Fugue presently . I feel it but still want to play this fugue . Good luck to Eberhard Mueller.

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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:04 pm

Guitarhancock wrote:I am relatively new to this hand problem but I see what you are going through. Wish out well . Wish us both well . Will keep playing as long as possible. Working on a Bach Fugue presently . I feel it but still want to play this fugue . Good luck to Eberhard Mueller.
Thanks for the well wishes (for us both!) Sounds like you are on a "roll" to enjoy the Bach fugue! Pain management can become a full time job but I suspect you are far from that necessity of obsession. Arthritis marches on, but slowly and I hope time is on your side!
Neil Douglas 2001 (German Spruce / German Maple)
Neil Douglas 1992 (Engelmann Spruce / Brazilian Rosewood)
La Patrie Motif
Cordoba Mini M

mikel
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Re: Basal Joint Arthritis

Post by mikel » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:39 pm

The recent posts seems to point to the importance of respecting what your body tells you and not enduring the pain, much less aggravating it.

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