Right wrist pain, little finger side

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
SkinDoc
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Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by SkinDoc » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:31 pm

Does anyone have experience with pain in this area? I have a medical background so I'll use some jargon for those with similar interests.

I have played various styles for around 40 years. It was only when I purchased a quality classical guitar a year ago (and thus played every day to enjoy my purchase) that I developed pain. It is just beyond my ulna styloid (bump just before the wrist on the pinky side) at the very side of the wrist.

I rested it for several weeks and when it didn't improve I sought help from a hand therapist. I had a steroid injection (into the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon sheath). It didn't seem to make a great deal of difference. I find it very difficult to provoke the pain by doing anything other than playing classical guitar. I have gone back to my steel strings, which I do some finger picking on, also plectrum, and it doesn't seem to bother me. After a few months of no classical, I went back to it last night and after some warm-ups and a couple of old pieces, I felt the pain again.

I was having trouble with my a finger tone and experimented with different nail shapes - I thought at the time that forcing it into different degrees of rotation was causing the trouble, but I have trimmed all of my nails to hopefully allow the fingers to strike at their natural angle, but the pain is still there. Very depressing!!!

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joachim33
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by joachim33 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:39 pm

You have a tutor to look at your posture and hand position? You have a mirror to monitor your posture and hands when practicing?

SkinDoc
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by SkinDoc » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:47 pm

I have had lessons over the years, but I don't have a regular teacher as there are none in my area. I have played in front of a mirror and I try to be very aware of keeping my right forearm and wrist in a neutral position.

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Alexander Kalil
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by Alexander Kalil » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:39 pm

Pain in this area often results from tension build-up in the little finger 'c' during playing. It may also results from using the ring finger 'a' extensively before it's being fully developed, especially in alternation with 'm'. Anyway, the little and ring fingers seem to be where you need to look at closely during right hand action.

This short video by forum member Kent Murdick might be of some help: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aZR0yqycfU

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guitarrista
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by guitarrista » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:02 pm

Are you letting the pinky move as it wants to when playing with a finger, or are you keeping it still while a moves?
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

SkinDoc
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by SkinDoc » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:45 am

Thank you both - I hadn't considered what my pinky finger has been doing, I will watch that. Do you mean that my pinky finger should move with my a finger?

I will also take the suggestion about overuse of the a finger. I did start incorporating scales with im, ma and ia alternation into my warm-up, and quite possibly overdid it....

Useful suggestions, much appreciated!

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guitarrista
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by guitarrista » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:19 am

SkinDoc wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:45 am
Thank you both - I hadn't considered what my pinky finger has been doing, I will watch that. Do you mean that my pinky finger should move with my a finger?
Yes, passively; point being don't keep it artificially immobile just because it is not the finger plucking the string. It is the quadriga phenomenon.

On the other hand, also don't actively force it to move if it happens not to move much on its own when you use a (in both cases ensure it is not tensing actively (and for prolonged periods)).

The idea behind this is that we are trying to diagnose if you are tensing your pinky in some weird way while playing classical guitar, which might possibly cause what you are experiencing near the wrist.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

SkinDoc
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by SkinDoc » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:50 am

Thanks for the clarification Konstantin, I will examine this. I have never paid any attention to my little finger and you may well have set me on the right track. The linked article has reminded me of some long-forgotten anatomy!

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Lawler
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by Lawler » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:44 am

guitarrista wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:19 am
...It is the quadriga phenomenon.
Thanks for that, guitarrista. I see I've got some reading to do.

SkinDoc, best to you.

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guitarrista
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by guitarrista » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:25 pm

Just the intro section, really. The rest focuses more on pathologies. For our purposes, it is more about the natural functioning.
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

AKim
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by AKim » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:25 am

Does it hurt when you turn your wrist over, such as a twisting motion like if you are turning a door knob?

SkinDoc
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by SkinDoc » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:08 am

Hi AKim,

Not really. The pain is quite hard to reproduce - except of course when I play! I have noticed it occasionally when I am holding a heavy electric razor or electric toothbrush. Again, that's keeping the thumb side of my hand up against gravity. When playing, it's most obvious when I'm using my a finger.

I'm working on the suggestions above regarding pinky and a finger - I've noticed that my pinky just sticks up and out now that I'm watching it. I'm finding that I can keep all four fingers together and play the EBG strings all together repeatedly without causing pain, so I'm going to work with that for a while and try to control my flyaway pinky.

Wuuthrad
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by Wuuthrad » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:54 am

I had this same problem from time to time over the years.

I was unconsciously tensing my c finger when not using it. I learned some finger exercises, stretches and other practices to learn conscious control of c (or pinky finger.) You could try those or also studying Flamenco for example.

I do not subscribe to pima but rather pimac, and believe that all of the right hand fingers should be strengthened, trained and utilized while playing guitar.

Makes for better music, better playing, and healthier hands!
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

SkinDoc
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Re: Right wrist pain, little finger side

Post by SkinDoc » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:56 pm

Thanks Wuuthrad. I have been making a conscious effort to relax my c finger and allow it to move naturally with my a finger. I'm also warming up with stretches and using some liniment after playing.

It is slow going - I'm avoiding the desire to launch into pieces that I haven't played in months. Instead, I am watching my right hand closely in the mirror and hopefully the retraining of my hand won't take too long.

So far, the pain is improving and I am a happier guitarest.

Thanks to all those above who have brought my attention to my wayward pinky!

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