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  1. #1

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    For several months I've noticed a little bit of pain in the lowest joint of the index finger of my fretting hand, just above the bottom knuckle. Mostly when I play bar chords. Not sure what to do here, other than:

    1) Go to lighter gauge strings - my gigging axe is an amplified Martin 000-16 with .012-.054 lights
    2) Go to a shorter scale length than current 25-1/2", either Gibson-style 24-3/4" or 3/4 size guitar with 22 or 23 inch scale
    3) Start playing amplified nylon-string
    4) Go full electric again with a (floppy) set of 10s
    5) Focus on my vocals
    6) Give up my second instrument of mandolin (though it causes no pain)
    7) Go back to my childhood instrument of piano and give up guitar

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    It seems to feel better when I

    ... avoid bar chords
    ... take an aspirin

    ... aww, there it comes, that pain again. ____ the ______ guitar anyway!

  4. #3

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    >> Not sure what to do here, other than: <<


    Might be related to the digital flexor tendon or the metacarpophalangeal joint. Or are you talking about the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP)?

    8) Get the accurate diagnosis by a qualified doctor (here: hand surgeon or rheumatologist) - only this will get you the most expedient therapy. Everything else, IMO, is a waste of time and energy.


    Be prepared though that there might be a little chance your actual pain can't be explained by even the best diagnostician. The human body differs a bit from the entrails you can find in a car repair shop.
    In this case follow your points 1) to 7) above. If the pain persists or aggravates for an extended period (after six months to one year), a follow-up check will usually bring the cause to light.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 12-20-2016 at 02:23 PM.

  5. #4

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    Do you stretch before playing? There are a bunch of youtube videos that demonstrate some simple warm-ups that classical people use.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree
    For several months I've noticed a little bit of pain in the lowest joint of the index finger of my fretting hand, just above the bottom knuckle. Mostly when I play bar chords. Not sure what to do here, other than:

    1) Go to lighter gauge strings - my gigging axe is an amplified Martin 000-16 with .012-.054 lights
    2) Go to a shorter scale length than current 25-1/2", either Gibson-style 24-3/4" or 3/4 size guitar with 22 or 23 inch scale
    3) Start playing amplified nylon-string
    4) Go full electric again with a (floppy) set of 10s
    5) Focus on my vocals
    6) Give up my second instrument of mandolin (though it causes no pain)
    7) Go back to my childhood instrument of piano and give up guitar

    Thanks for any suggestions.
    My left hand siezed on my single on Sat. Wouldn't follow my commands to open and close. The muscles burned up my forearm getting worse as the gig progressed. I hope it goes away and doesn't effect my playing in the long run. I will try playing later today and see how my hand works (....or doesn't)

    However, last Sat. I had my vocals to get me through. Whatever else you do, refining your vocals and learning more vocal tunes can't hurt.

    Good luck and keep us posted. These threads on hand health are important to us all.

  7. #6

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    I had a situation in college studying classical guitar practicing 8 hours a day where my left hand ring and pinky finger went numb. I freaked out and thought I'd never play again so I went to a chiropractor and found that I had a "rubbed nerve". He explained that playing with a bent wrist caused this issue, I have not had this problem since and that was almost 6 years ago.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #7

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    >> Whatever else you do, refining your vocals and learning more vocal tunes can't hurt. <<

    I couldn't agree more. It may sound bizarre, but some - including myself - appreciate when jazz instrumentalists start singing. Even when their vocals are not so refined, or when they just recite the lyrics of the song.
    Dexter Gordon learned from his idol Lester Young that it was a good idea to know the lyrics of a song if you want to understand its essence. One of Gordon’s idiosyncrasies was to recite a few lines from the lyrics before playing the song. It many cases, it provides context for the emotional content/mood of a song. In these instances, Dexter could be giving information to the audience necessary to understand his performance of a specific standard.

    Archie Shepp comes to my mind:




    ... or on solid body guitar:


  9. #8

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    In addition to the excellent advice above, I'd have a look at your guitar. If your Martin is like mine, it came from the factory with a nut that might be a tad high, from my perspective. Getting a luthier to lower it may take some persuading, as it will void your warranty, but it's worth a shot. When I was twenty, I could handle that sort of thing. A few decades later, not so much. Good luck.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    >> Whatever else you do, refining your vocals and learning more vocal tunes can't hurt. <<

    I couldn't agree more. It may sound bizarre, but some - including myself - appreciate when jazz instrumentalists start singing. Even when their vocals are not so refined, or when they just recite the lyrics of the song.
    Dexter Gordon learned from his idol Lester Young that it was a good idea to know the lyrics of a song if you want to understand its essence. One of Gordon’s idiosyncrasies was to recite a few lines from the lyrics before playing the song. It many cases, it provides context for the emotional content/mood of a song. In these instances, Dexter could be giving information to the audience necessary to understand his performance of a specific standard.


    Dexter Gordon could have belched out a lyric and sounded good, I think. In fact, playing Bud Powell in the Round Midnight movie, he supposedly drank enough booze 'in character' to belch quite a bit, although Bud was a junkie mostly.... and drinking I suspect was simply an extra monkey on his back for him. (There was a bit of Lester Young mixed into the character also, if I recall)

    Thanks for the links. Hopefully in the new year if my hands allow, I'll post a few guitar/vocals with my Zoom. I have another gig with Thelma Jones Christmas eve, so I'll get one of these gigs on video soon too. We do a Joe Pass and Ella type thing only I sing too (and a bit better than Joe, I suspect) but I don't play guitar nearly as good..... (understatement of the year, that is) .....haha

    Do you have any singing you could post? A vocal/guitar section here on the forum would be tits. however just some new threads on singing with guitar would do....

    BTW, here's one for you:



    Last edited by docdosco; 12-20-2016 at 05:33 PM.

  11. #10

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    Lester Young did in fact sing once on a Verve session backed by the Oscar Peterson Trio. Just for the fun of it he began singing "Two for Tango" between two takes. Norman Granz persuaded him to do it again with the tapes rolling which he only did reluctantly - and with just about enough change of the text to be sure it couldn't be published at the time. It was only made publically known many decades later when it was released in the boxed set with all his Verve output.

    Last edited by oldane; 12-20-2016 at 06:02 PM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree
    For several months I've noticed a little bit of pain in the lowest joint of the index finger of my fretting hand, just above the bottom knuckle.
    Why are the others posting these vids on a thread about a painful index finger???!!!

    You better

    a) rest that hand
    b) don't do big stretches
    c) ice it
    d) show it a doctor/physio (dedicated music physios exist)
    e) be prepared to lay back till it's better. It's not worth messing up your fretting hand.

    To be honest, it doesn't sound that serious, thankfully, but rest it you must. It might just be the way you're playing bar chords, of course; too much grip. If it doesn't go away after a while when you stop then you might have a problem.
    Last edited by ragman1; 12-20-2016 at 11:17 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Why are the others posting these vids on a thread about a painful index finger???!!!

    You better

    a) rest that hand
    b) don't do big stretches
    c) ice it
    d) show it a doctor/physio (dedicated music physios exist)
    e) be prepared to lay back till it's better. It's not worth messing up your fretting hand.

    To be honest, it doesn't sound that serious, thankfully, but rest it you must. It might just be the way you're playing bar chords, of course; too much grip. If it doesn't go away after a while when you stop then you might have a problem.


    Well, see point 5) of the OP above.

    Among other things, I spent several years doing surgery of the hand and upper extremity (Switzerland and Germany), but must confess that this happened a long time ago. It's gratifying if more substantial or more up to date experience is offered. Always funny to be able to talk shop in the bleak cyberspace - there is so much talk about guitars already!

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret

    Among other things, I spent several years doing surgery of the hand and upper extremity (Switzerland and Germany), but must confess that this happened a long time ago. It's gratifying if more substantial or more up to date experience is offered. Always funny to be able to talk shop in the bleak cyberspace - there is so much talk about guitars already!
    Not quite sure what you mean by "doing surgery". Were you the patient, or the surgeon...or a surgeon who was a patient?

  15. #14

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    It sounds like either arthritis or possibly tendonitis due to overuse/stress. If you are over 40, it'd be hard to say it's not osteoarthritis.

    I'm sure you know who this is?

    Finger Pain (Fretting Hand)-keef-hands-jpg

    Having said that, whether arthritis or soft tissue inflammation from overuse, I agree with the above recommendations. You need to change the stresses on your fretting finger. Look at having the nut adjusted for lower action near the nut. Switch to lower gauge strings--TI strings have less tension for a given gauge. I think D'Addario makes a brand called silk and steel that is lower tension as well. You won't have the same brightness of sound, of course...

    I would also look at a different neck profile and shorter scale length. Let me recommend the Godin 5th Avenue/Kingpin as a particularly comfortable guitar.

    It wouldn't hurt to practice a lot with the nylon string. I recently started going back to mine and am enjoying it quite a bit. It is certainly less stressful on the hand for me.

    Finally, you can get a hot wax arthritis bath that some hand arthritis sufferers swear by. Completely organic and not invasive in any way.

    Amazon.com: HoMedics Thera-P Paraspa Plus Paraffin Bath: Beauty

    As a doctor you'd think I would recommend going to see a doctor, but, no. That'd be the last thing I would do (for a variety of reasons, including financial). What would be preferable would be a physical therapist specializing in musician overuse syndromes. If you live in a large city with a lot of performers, especially orchestral, this shouldn't be too hard to find.

  16. #15

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    No offense to the hand surgeons out there!

  17. #16

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    [QUOTE=Doctor Jeff;722538]No offense to the hand surgeons out there![/QUOTE]

    As someone whose ex-wife was an M.D., I learned that (1) medicine--and the body, is not perfectly understood, even today, (2) individual organisms vary a LOT, in how they react, and present, i.e. everyone is not the same, and (iii) the human body should not be viewed as a machine---i.e. "it's broke, now fix it, and make it as good as it was when I was 20(!)" is often not feasible.

    Amoebas--one-celled organisms can live forever, but they have certain limitations...in their behavior and capability. Human beings, multi-system and vastly more complex, can do more but suffer disadvantages (parts wear out as we age, and cancer---basically, runaway cell replication).

    So, it's just common sense not to look to surgical treatment as the first option. I think most surgeons would agree with this.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 12-21-2016 at 11:25 AM.

  18. #17

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    I have had a problem with my index finger, similar to the OP's, for a few years. The finger would get sore at that lower joint and actually froze up on me in the middle of a couple gigs. I was playing in an oldies rock band, lots of bar chords, string bending, 4 hour gigs....stress on the hand!

    A hand surgeon who has helped some local musicians examined my hand (for free!-he's a music fan). He said the joint was worn and that the tendons that work the finger were stressed. His advice was the same as others here have mentioned - rest the hand and stop abusing the finger. He also said to avoid bending that finger back (towards the top of the hand) because it's bad for the joint. The finger wants to curve forward.

    I quit that rock band and cut out a lot of the bar chords. I joined a R & B/ funk band where I don't have to play more than 3 hours, and less soloing. I stay away from skinny-neck guitars, because they cause hand fatigue after a few hours.


    I'm now playing more gigs than ever, but the problem with my finger is gone. So, it seems this problem can get better!

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Not quite sure what you mean by "doing surgery". Were you the patient, or the surgeon...or a surgeon who was a patient?

    Patient? No way - I'm impatient!
    Some do or perform surgery, some others undergo surgical procedures. Perhaps the difference is not so great, and I have not yet noticed it.

    From the Merriam-Webster on the definition of 'surgery':

    1 : a branch of medicine concerned with diseases and conditions requiring or amenable to operative or manual procedures
    2 : alterations made as if by surgery <literary surgery>
    3 a British : a physician's or dentist's office b : a room or area where surgery is performed
    4 a : the work done by a surgeon b : Operation

  20. #19

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    Well, my 17-yr. old son noticed it. He messed up his hip from soccer (probably overuse).

    He had a torn hip socket, had it operated on by the best in the business, and spent 6 mos. rehabbing. He's never been the same---has lost flexibility and nerve sensation.

    Course the alternative was that he would have walked with a limp for the rest of his life. So, all in all, this is a good result.

    But surgery is no joke.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 12-21-2016 at 03:42 PM. Reason: fix spelling

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by docdosco
    Dexter Gordon could have belched out a lyric and sounded good, I think. In fact, playing Bud Powell in the Round Midnight movie, he supposedly drank enough booze 'in character' to belch quite a bit, although Bud was a junkie mostly.... and drinking I suspect was simply an extra monkey on his back for him. (There was a bit of Lester Young mixed into the character also, if I recall)

    Thanks for the links. Hopefully in the new year if my hands allow, I'll post a few guitar/vocals with my Zoom. I have another gig with Thelma Jones Christmas eve, so I'll get one of these gigs on video soon too. We do a Joe Pass and Ella type thing only I sing too (and a bit better than Joe, I suspect) but I don't play guitar nearly as good..... (understatement of the year, that is) .....haha

    Do you have any singing you could post? A vocal/guitar section here on the forum would be tits. however just some new threads on singing with guitar would do....

    BTW, here's one for you:



    I like the Velvet Guitar version better, but it just shows what a spontaneous musician Lenny was. The two versions are very different. The cat was a genius:

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    I like the Velvet Guitar version better, but it just shows what a spontaneous musician Lenny was. The two versions are very different. The cat was a genius:

    Good one. He doesn't sing on this but Ted Hawke is playing drums. His son Guy Hawke is my drummer and is on his way over to my house at present. Indulge me a bit. Big deal, I know. This is a very, very thin connection to Lenny, but it is one, I suppose.

    Lenny Breau was my boyhood guitar hero in Canada during the later 60' early 70's. I learned Freight Train, The Claw and a few other Lenny tunes. I learned to do Merle Travis picking like Lenny does on That's all. I was teenager. He was a guitar God.

    Sorry to digress.... After this, back to our sore and failing digits and vocalizing (Maybe a Lenny thread would be cool again though)



  23. #22

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    Another great vocal performance by Lenny:

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    Another great vocal performance by Lenny:
    Beauty. Thank you.

    Here is a guy I like to try and emulate. Kind of haunting, his recordings, as he came to such a bad end. But I love his horn, his voice and tune selection...

    That Old Feeling. Great tune. Maybe I'll dust this tune off.....



  25. #24

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    The Martin, which I bought new 19 years ago (when I was 45) probably can't be made much easier to play. A great-sounding guitar but not super easy to play. Probably have to go to an easier-playing guitar. Age 64, osteoarthritis - I could believe it, despite my overall pretty-good health.

    Thanks for the great replies.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree
    The Martin, which I bought new 19 years ago (when I was 45) probably can't be made much easier to play. A great-sounding guitar but not super easy to play. Probably have to go to an easier-playing guitar. Age 64, osteoarthritis - I could believe it, despite my overall pretty-good health.

    Thanks for the great replies.
    That's the answer. I found my 17" box a bit hard on my hands and I started taking a 15" Martin Taylor Peerless to gigs and I love it. It's smaller, lighter, and the action is super sweet and easy to play. Just find yourself something compact with creamy easy action and see how that goes. BTW, welcome to the club. I have a bunch of those crappy itis conditions too....

  27. #26

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    Thanks, Doc.

    I've been practicing all day today with the guitar tuned down a whole step, D G C F A D, bottom to top. Took some getting used to, especially playing tunes that I sing, in my vocal key. Best to not think about it - just move up two frets. Floppy action takes some getting used to, but very easy on the left hand. Nice to have a few extra bass notes too - I play walking bass passages regularly during the solo/duo gigs that comprise most of my work. This may work out OK for now.

  28. #27

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    My fret hand pinky tip becomes painful at times. I have to rest and not play for several days until it gets better. I have been playing for close to 40 years and this is just recently becoming an issue. I don't really have calluses, just hardened finger tips including the pinky. I think that I might need to have the frets on my Strat shortened in height a bit. Right now that are at 0.050". I am thinking about taking them down to 0.045". I guess that I should avoid the Strat to see if the fret height is causing this. My other guitars don't have frets higher than 0.045".

    Anyone else have this type of problem?

  29. #28

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    Been there. Felt that. Lay off immediately. Mine passed but I'm extremely wary and careful not to overdo it. Once a nerve is inflamed, it takes time to recover. Any further irritation before you're recovered will exacerbate the problem and extend your recovery time a lot.
    I'm not a doctor, but I know as I got older, muscle mass, skin tone and other things one takes for granted can potentially change and become problematic.
    It's different for everyone but for me, I just laid off and checked my action, string gauge and playing habits. Fret height isn't as easy or apparent culprit/solution as string height and gauge. Check your set up too, to make sure string pressure throughout the range of playing doesn't change a lot as you go up the neck.

    Good luck

    David

  30. #29

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    is the strat scale length 25.5 longer than your other guitars???

    sometimes that little extra stretch can contribute to pain

    could head over to chinatown and get baoding balls...useful for hand, wrist and finger issues..helps to flex the muscles in a natural way...

    Finger Pain (Fretting Hand)-1200px-baoding_balls_in_use-jpg

    luck

    cheers

  31. #30

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    I call it "string finger." I'm pretty sure you and David are talking about the same thing. Feels like I stuck a push pin in the fingertip. Only happens to me when I'm playing a lot. Surprisingly, soaking the fingers in warm water helps. (5 minutes or so.) Also, some arnica gel applied after soaking. And most important, as mentioned, wait until it's better before playing again.

    I know a kid who quit playing violin because of something like this. She tried to tough it out, play through the pain.

    You can get a LOT of bad advice too. "Jus keep sheddin' an get you some calluses." The freedom from information act...

  32. #31

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    I get a pain in my little finger every now and then, hurts for a few days and I have to talk it easy using my pinky but no big deal. I do have callouses on all my fretting hand fingers and the pain seems to be along the edge of a callous, maybe its dry skin, or tiny split in between callus and non-callous skin. Sometime I will soak my hand in hot water to soften the callous, or even sand the callous down then soak my hand. If pain was deep inside the finger not on or near the surface could be a pinched nerve want to see a doctor for that.

    I don't think fret height has anything to do with it unless your bending strings like SRV, and your strangling the neck.

    If pain persists you can go see a doctor, but I find unless the doctor plays guitar or another instrument they don't understand. Doctors look at everyone like there the average person on the street they don't factor in a musician hands and ears are more bigger issue.

    Good luck hope it clears up in few days for you.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    is the strat scale length 25.5 longer than your other guitars???

    sometimes that little extra stretch can contribute to pain

    could head over to chinatown and get baoding balls...useful for hand, wrist and finger issues..helps to flex the muscles in a natural way...



    luck

    cheers
    Yeah, it's not a stretching thing though. More of a callous nerve thing.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Been there. Felt that. Lay off immediately. Mine passed but I'm extremely wary and careful not to overdo it...Fret height isn't as easy or apparent culprit/solution as string height and gauge. Check your set up too, to make sure string pressure throughout the range of playing doesn't change a lot as you go up the neck.

    Good luck

    David
    I am taking it easy. Going to do a handsoak in warm water. From the replies below it seems like a separation between the toughened part of the side and softer part closer to the first knuckle. I think the taller frets aren't helping. Slides and runs up and down might be a little bit bumpy.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by bil
    I call it "string finger." I'm pretty sure you and David are talking about the same thing. Feels like I stuck a push pin in the fingertip. Only happens to me when I'm playing a lot. Surprisingly, soaking the fingers in warm water helps. (5 minutes or so.) Also, some arnica gel applied after soaking. And most important, as mentioned, wait until it's better before playing again.

    I know a kid who quit playing violin because of something like this. She tried to tough it out, play through the pain.

    You can get a LOT of bad advice too. "Jus keep sheddin' an get you some calluses." The freedom from information act...
    "Push Pin Pain" will be my next three chord romp with the shizzzle. Yes, that is the pain. Going to try a soak.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop
    I get a pain in my little finger every now and then, hurts for a few days and I have to talk it easy using my pinky but no big deal. I do have callouses on all my fretting hand fingers and the pain seems to be along the edge of a callous, maybe its dry skin, or tiny split in between callus and non-callous skin. Sometime I will soak my hand in hot water to soften the callous, or even sand the callous down then soak my hand. If pain was deep inside the finger not on or near the surface could be a pinched nerve want to see a doctor for that.

    I don't think fret height has anything to do with it unless your bending strings like SRV, and your strangling the neck.

    If pain persists you can go see a doctor, but I find unless the doctor plays guitar or another instrument they don't understand. Doctors look at everyone like there the average person on the street they don't factor in a musician hands and ears are more bigger issue.

    Good luck hope it clears up in few days for you.
    I think you hit the nail on the head, or the push pin into the end of my finger. Going to do some soaks. No doctor visit here. I was thinking about having the frets on that guitar taken down a bit. Slides and runs can be bumpy and that probably doesn't help. I have to admit that I have always loved playing a Strat. I still pick up one to play more often than any of my other guitars. Just went for a nice new USACG neck and maybe the frets are a tad too tall. Hm, "Tad Too Tall" my next three chord improvised romp with the shizzle.

  37. #36

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    I get that every now and then, on any of my fingers. I'm not sure what the cause is, but I'm pretty sure fret height has nothing to do with it. I just take it easy on the playing for a day or two and it goes away. So far so good. It's not uncommon to get a temporary pain here, there, or anywhere as one gets older, and I'm certainly getting older. I just deal with it as it happens, and so far they all go away after some varying amount of time. But as I lurch into my 70s, I fully expect more pain than in my younger years. If some pain is the price I have to pay for getting old, so be it, as long as it isn't complete agony, and so far it's not.

  38. #37

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    Yes, I've had this come and go over the years, on various left hand finger tips. It feels as if a nerve is inflamed from being repeated trapped between the thin wire string and the finger tip bone. I went to a finger specialist doctor years ago who muttered something about a nervoma, but otherwise wasn't particularly interested or sympathetic.

    When it's been particularly chronic I've been able to get by with one of these, a prosthetic-like hard plastic covering. This protects the tip completely, giving it time to recover without stopping playing completely. Looks unwieldy to use but surprisingly easy to adapt to playing with:
    Galaxy Guitar Products - Galaxy Guitar FT-1 Finger Protector

    When it's just a mild pain I use one of these, which just cushions the tip enough to avoid it developing into anything more problematic:
    http://originalguitarfingers.com

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleakanddivine
    Yes, I've had this come and go over the years, on various left hand finger tips. It feels as if a nerve is inflamed from being repeated trapped between the thin wire string and the finger tip bone. I went to a finger specialist doctor years ago who muttered something about a nervoma, but otherwise wasn't particularly interested or sympathetic.

    When it's been particularly chronic I've been able to get by with one of these, a prosthetic-like hard plastic covering. This protects the tip completely, giving it time to recover without stopping playing completely. Looks unwieldy to use but surprisingly easy to adapt to playing with:
    Galaxy Guitar Products - Galaxy Guitar FT-1 Finger Protector

    When it's just a mild pain I use one of these, which just cushions the tip enough to avoid it developing into anything more problematic:
    http://originalguitarfingers.com
    Thanks. In my imagination I was thinking of similar devices but wasn't aware that they exist. The products in the first link are pretty spendy. I am going to order something from the second link. Hopefully I won't need it for very long. It is definitely between the hardened tip and the softer flesh at the side. I put some heat on it last night. It helped a bit. I am trying to remember if I ever felt this kind of pain when I first began playing some +/- 40 years ago. I might have and just tolerated it. I was a kid then. I could do practically anything I wanted to do except play guitar well. Either way I am not going to play through any pain. I am sure that my "audience" members don't think that I should either.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    Thanks. In my imagination I was thinking of similar devices but wasn't aware that they exist. The products in the first link are pretty spendy. I am going to order something from the second link. Hopefully I won't need it for very long. It is definitely between the hardened tip and the softer flesh at the side. I put some heat on it last night. It helped a bit. I am trying to remember if I ever felt this kind of pain when I first began playing some +/- 40 years ago. I might have and just tolerated it. I was a kid then. I could do practically anything I wanted to do except play guitar well. Either way I am not going to play through any pain. I am sure that my "audience" members don't think that I should either.
    I looked at possible solutions for many years. Most of the rubber/nylon finger tip things you see are useless as the material just creates too much drag on the strings. I experimented with shaping bits of soft thin plastic (from the shoulder area of plastic milk bottles was best) in place with smooth sticking plasters, which was effective, but had to be carefully applied each time you played. The Guitar Fingers are pretty good. They slide almost unnoticeably up and down the strings, come in a couple of different thicknesses, and a pretty unobtrusive flesh colour. I even used the full gloves when I had multiple tips sore. They do wear out after a few months and either develop holes from the string wear or come apart at the seams, so I always have a stockpile.
    Attached Images Attached Images Finger Pain (Fretting Hand)-26233745489_28a1c7d690_z-jpg 

  41. #40

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    Thanks. I did some heat, some cold, some massaging, and then carefully clipped the nail with super sharp clippers as short as possible. All of that pretty much fixed the issue for me right now. I think that I am at the point where my skin is losing elastin faster than building it. The combination of the hard tip, the softer surrounding flesh, and the edge of the nail coupled with the force of pushing the three together was the cause. Previously I never gave much thought to the nail, but it seems like I need to trim and shape it more often to keep this from happening again.
    Last edited by lammie200; 10-29-2017 at 12:24 PM.

  42. #41

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    Update: Pain is gone. It seemed to be related to the nail. I have been trimming my fret hand nails shorter and shorter. I think that the edge of the pinky nail was digging into the areas where softer tissue hits the hardened tip portion. I never had to be so concerned before, but it looks like I will have to from here on out.

  43. #42

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    I had a similar experience a couple of times and it would always go away after laying off for a few days but around 15 years ago I got a sharp pain in the tip of my ring finger (fretting hand) that didn't go away after the usual few days. I thought it was a nerve issue but someone said it could be a bone bruise. I bought some finger cots which are like small condoms to put on the finger. At first I would sometimes even use 2. They worked and I always used them for years after that and still do when I practice a lot. Usually just one. They are comfortable for me and they don't cause much interference for the most part. They come in both nitrile and latex but the latex ones won't work because they stick on the string and won't slide. The nitrile are harder to find but are available from some specialty medical supply stores and from a large nationwide company called Grainger. The large ones are the best size for adults and may seem tight at first but they stretch and can last for a long time. People with bigger diameter fingers might have to search for larger ones.

    I tried to paste in a link to Grainger.com but this site wouldn't accept it. Just go to grainger,com and search for nitrile finger cots.

  44. #43

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    Thanks. I actually ordered the $15 variety that was in one of the links above. They still haven't arrived though. I am also going to have my Strat and Tele frets taken down a bit. Those are my real high ones and I play those guitars twice as much as any of my others.

  45. #44

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    Is there a doctor in the house?


    For most of this year I've suffered from pain in my left-hand index finger. For the first four months or so it was extremely sensitive to cold - cold water especially. Truly agonising. But I got by through always using warm water. There was no pain at other times, and I could play guitar without a problem.


    Then recently that disappeared, to be replaced by swelling, stiffness, and constant awareness that if I moved it a certain way, or banged it, the pain would be intense. I can now only play for 30 minutes or so a day.


    I'll go to my doctor, who might refer me to a specialist, but I'd like some ideas first of what might be going on so I can discuss it intelligently. So if any of you have specific experience and advice, I'd be happy to hear from you.

  46. #45

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    Sorry to hear this, Rob!

    Well, we'd need much more information about your finger pain, its exact location and trigger, the swelling, restriction of motion (functio laesa), pre-existing condition, etc., to be able to guide you to the most precise diagnosis, sine qua non for any efficient therapy, if necessary. Even then, you can describe the painting of the Mona Lisa, or look at it in the original. You understand the difference …

    In the German Banana Republic, as a doctor, you still move in a legal gray area when giving individual medical support online. Nevertheless, we can and do assist as far as possible. I'd google some pics of 'index finger anatomy' and try at least to localise your finger problem, which according to your current information suggests an inflammation of unspecific or unclear kind, presumably starting from the MCJ, middle or end joint.

    Sure it would be the best to see a specialist, but I know these are unfortunately not wider spread than fine archtop guitars … Best wishes!

  47. #46

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    Ah, we do have a doctor in the house. Excellent. I'll be as specific as I can.

    Left-hand index. Middle joint. Not sure of it's the flexor digitorum profundis tendon or the collateral ligament. When I bend the finger, the top part between middle and tip joints feels tight and a little painful.

  48. #47

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    Pre-existing condition: never had a problem until the start of this year, with pain when in contact with cold water. Otherwise I could still play without pain.

  49. #48

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    See your doctor, they should take hand injuries seriously. My wife injured her finger recently and the doctor got her seen by a consultant very quickly. The NHS website says hand injuries should be looked at soon as possible.

  50. #49

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    Thanks. Managed to get an appointment for early tomorrow morning...

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    … Managed to get an appointment for early tomorrow morning...

    Great! So the first step would be the differentiation between hand maladies afflicting the joints, or not.
    The big problem dealing with such discomforts, on an online basis, is that the tactile sense, the feeling of the sliding tissues and anatomical structures is missing. In addition, anatomical structures are related to each other or can even interfere with structures at a distance. Then, there is often a considerable number of misunderstandings between the patient's / doctor's communication.

    According to the information given above by Rob I'd suspect the main problem area of his index could be on the palmar side, not primarily joint-related, more between the PIP and DIP joints. Might well be the area of the insertion of the deep flexor digitorum tendon / tendon sheath and the A4 annular pulley. However, both the deep and the superficial flexor tendons have one tendon sheath in common. The A4 pulley is nothing but one of the many annular reinforcements of the tendon sheath, though it is important: without the A2 and A4 pulleys the finger tips can't be actively bent down to touch the palm wrinkle, even with fully intact flexor tendons. The tendons and their sheath is provided with a tender soft tissue called Tenosynovium, essential for a low-friction movement of the tendons and their nutrition by diffusion. Any problem there will result in local swelling, pain and other inflammation signs.

    The collateral ligaments are lateral reinforcements of the joint capsules. They commonly react in combination with a joint affection. If there was never an adequate trauma or a rheumatoid disorder, the collateral ligaments should be ok.

    Since educated patients (docs too) are always and anywhere preferred (the first at least being less prone to medical quackeries), here some anatomical illustrations for the OP:

    Finger Pain (Fretting Hand)-anatomy-finger-extension-lateral-view-jpgFinger Pain (Fretting Hand)-anatomy-finger-collateral-annular-cruciform-pulleys-ligaments-jpgFinger Pain (Fretting Hand)-anatomy-hand-flexor-tendon-sheaths-jpg