Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
User avatar
kloeten
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:33 pm

Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by kloeten » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:26 am

Since a week I have some pain in my left-hand thumb's IP joint (the joint between the two digital bones of the thumb) and the correspodning tendon. The joints of both my thumbs are quite flexible and regularly produce a mild 'click' when I flex / extend them.
Fortunately it is not at all yet affecting my playing but typing and holding a pen causes some pain.
I will soon make an appointment with my doctor to discuss it but wanted to ask you if you ever exerpienced this and what you did to cure this?
Thanks in advance,
Rutger

User avatar
Tonyyyyy
Posts: 2305
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:20 am
Location: Sussex, UK

Re: Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by Tonyyyyy » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:42 pm

The answer i suppose , is to totally rest it - no typing or guitar playing.......of course in real life i didn't. And still have a slight twinge, .i have reduced the amount of pressure and length of time playing otherwise it might have got worse.

It is actually possible to play with no thumb pressure at all. I know someone with painful arthritis who learned to do this within a few weeks.

User avatar
kloeten
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:33 pm

Re: Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by kloeten » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:53 am

Hi Tonyyyyy thanks for your reply. Yes rest will probably be the main ingredient of the cure. Also understanding what behaviour or movement caused this in the first place will help. Note that I think this pain is not caused by playing the guitar, on the contrary may hands / wrists etc always feel better after playing than before playing, and like you said the LH thumb does not do that much when you play CG.
Just worried that it may impact playing later on if I do not address this.

Bill B
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by Bill B » Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:31 am

I get sharp pain in both my thumbs, raising from the nail toward the joint. Not constant fortunately. Let us know what the doctor says.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

User avatar
isaacfe
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:42 pm
Location: Caracas, Venezuela.

Re: Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by isaacfe » Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:18 pm

kloeten wrote:Since a week I have some pain in my left-hand thumb's IP joint (the joint between the two digital bones of the thumb) and the correspodning tendon. The joints of both my thumbs are quite flexible and regularly produce a mild 'click' when I flex / extend them.
Fortunately it is not at all yet affecting my playing but typing and holding a pen causes some pain.
I will soon make an appointment with my doctor to discuss it but wanted to ask you if you ever exerpienced this and what you did to cure this?
Thanks in advance,
Rutger
It is most likely an Inflammation (tenosynovitis) of the thumb flexor tendon sheath related to overuse. Reduce or better avoid guitar playing for some days. Ibuprofen or any Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and applying cold to the affected area should help reduce pain and inflammation. Hope it helps.
2012 Ramon Blanco Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2015 Ramon Blanco German Spruce/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez 8 strings Spruce/Cocobolo. 650 mm.
http://ve.linkedin.com/pub/isaac-feuerberg/18/4b6/730/

User avatar
Tonyyyyy
Posts: 2305
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:20 am
Location: Sussex, UK

Re: Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by Tonyyyyy » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:41 pm

If typing has caused a problem, try slowing down a bit and observing your movements (as with guitar playing) i caught myself 'stabbing' at the enter key with my pinkie. Also i am a bit vigourous with my right thumb on the space bar.

Isaacfe - this sounds very possible.

If it is inflammation you might find ibuprofen cream applied to the thumb area helps.

Jack Douglas
Posts: 1608
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:37 am
Location: Ashland, Va

Re: Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by Jack Douglas » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:58 am

Hi Kloeten, an appointment with an orthopedic hand surgeon will confirm whether you have bone degradation or just simple inflammation. I am not a doctor, but have personal experience with left thumb pain. I have some 'arthritis' and have managed to control the pain with 'Aleve'. However, after trading my former very nice guitar and acquiring my current instrument, a Rohe, I was made aware that the string spacing at the nut of the former guitar was 46 mm compared to 43 mm on the one I acquired. In addition the neck thickness of my former was 3 mm thinner. I'm mentioning this because you might want to have your instrument measured to make sure your string spacing is within the norms 42-44 mm and the neck thickness isn't too thin. For me the good news is that I've been pain free since acquiring the Rohe and I installed the same string brand and tension on the new guitar. At the suggestion of its previous owner I've since changed from High tension Ramirez to their medium tension strings. Bottom line. Check your neck thickness and string spacing at the nut. And best of luck controlling your thumb pain.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

User avatar
kloeten
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:33 pm

Re: Pain in LH thumb IP joint - tips?

Post by kloeten » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:37 pm

Thanks for your thoughts / tips / responses!

I am giving my left hand (I am left-handed, play CG as if right-handed) more rest these days.
Signficantly reduced reading/writing e-mails on the smartphone (I think this is the root cause) and less use of the thumb when typing.
It seems to help a little bit so I will try this for 2 more weeks before I see a doctor.

Cheers / Rutger

Return to “Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists”