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Scary finger issue #2773484 10/18/18 12:02 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline OP
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I had something happen to me today which was a bit scary. While practicing a piece, I eventually noticed that my pinky of my left hand was locking up when I would straighten it and then wouldn't bend again. It would take some effort to get it to bend/flex again and it would only do so with almost an audible popping sound in the joint, but no pain - it would just feel odd. I tried to leave it relaxed and curved, but it would lock the moment I straightened it for any reason. So I quit playing so as not to injure it, and right now it feels completely normal again.

I understand locking joints is a common occurrence for double-jointed people. But I am not double-jointed, and as far as I remember, this has never happened to me before. I do understand that this probably occurred because of too much tension in my pinky. But in general, how can I ensure this doesn't happen again, besides just trying to relax that finger while playing?


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Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773487 10/18/18 12:45 AM
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johnstaf Offline
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That happens to me, especially after a break from the piano. Sometimes, if I try to play a strong note with the little finger extended it will collapse. I need to be conscious of the exact level of curvature for a while, and then it rectifies itself without any further conscious effort. I've learned to keep the finger slightly curved yet relaxed at all times.

I think this was a bigger issue years ago when I was learning the piano, but as I said, now it only effects me after a break and is quickly rectified.

Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773490 10/18/18 12:53 AM
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johnstaf Offline
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One more thing, don't worry about it. As this is the beginners forum, can I assume you're still advancing? If that's the case, it's possible that new repertoire is making this issue apparent. It's really not something that will in any way limit your ability to play any repertoire, and is easily dealt with.

Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773502 10/18/18 02:14 AM
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keystring Offline
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It used to happen to me with the left hand on the violin and was told it was normal until the finger became "stronger". Since other things I was told on the physical plane turned out to be dubious, I don't know about that this. One thought - what about considering more than just that finger when considering that finger? For example, when 5 is to go down, maybe 4 wants to go down with it, and maybe it should be allowed to do so but without hitting the adjacent key making that note sound. As soon as you see it this way, you're moving into the kinds of movement that is possible for the whole hand, the wrist, the forearm - a rotation toward the pinky (as one movement - doorknob-turning movement) and away from the pinky as one example. This brings us into the fuzzy area of: "If the finger moves, is it the finger that is moving, or more than the finger moving? What is it that actually moves, in the entire hand-arm-finger complex, and how much of each moves?" This sounds intellectual in writing, but it could be a more simple experimentation, child-like ... or sportsman-like.

Loose thoughts of someone who should get some more sleep and is about to. wink

Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773504 10/18/18 02:20 AM
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AZNpiano Offline
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Did you ask your teacher? Your teacher would be more equipped to answer that question, or refer you to a specialist. We can't do anything but guess over the Internet.


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Re: Scary finger issue [Re: AZNpiano] #2773519 10/18/18 04:17 AM
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dogperson Offline
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Did you ask your teacher? Your teacher would be more equipped to answer that question, or refer you to a specialist. We can't do anything but guess over the Internet.


thumb your teacher needs to watch what you are doing with this finger

Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773521 10/18/18 04:40 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline OP
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. This just happened to me for the first time yesterday and my class is today so I will ask my teacher about it today.


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773538 10/18/18 06:31 AM
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Dr. Rogers Offline
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And not just your teacher, but possibly your M.D. as well, especially if it continues.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2773547 10/18/18 07:20 AM
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NobleHouse Offline
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
And not just your teacher, but possibly your M.D. as well, especially if it continues.


+1 You really want to be careful. Injuries need to be monitored closely.



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Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773562 10/18/18 08:30 AM
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pianosuzemn Offline
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I have arthritis and have had a similar situation but with my thumb. My teacher and I have been watching it, and it comes and goes but with my very small hands, I do need to be careful with octaves, which are a huge stretch for me. We are calling it a "trigger finger" and I'm not sure if this is what you have or not. I've seen a doctor once about it, but have not pulled the trigger (pun intended) to have it injected which is the treatment that the doctor suggested. My teacher had a similar thing with her thumb and had it injected and it's been fine for years now. Anyway, I am just another person with a strange finger thing that may or may not be the same as yours...stopping the type of playing that may have brought it on is a good idea, at least for now. But in the long run, you want to be able to play anything so it's not a long term solution. Have your teacher watch you play it. My teacher notices things that give me more stress and tension in my fingers all the time, and she has suggestions for ways to reduce that. Good luck!


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Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2773623 10/18/18 12:01 PM
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Also look up the John Mortensen video about the "Flying Five" issue....


-- J.S.

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Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2774091 10/20/18 01:13 PM
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Beemer Offline
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Yes my guess is that it is indeed trigger finger. I had this two or three years ago and it required an operation to fix it. This symptom can be painless, or painful depending on where the swelling on the tendon is trapped. Have no fear about the operation, as its completely painless, even although you will be conscious.

On a lighter note.... on the operating table I was quite content until the operation was complete. Without visual contact, I felt a warm running sensation over my hand and thought that they had cut an artery! I started to panic and after mouthing my concern, was relieved to hear laughter from the surgeon and team and them explaining that they had just flushed my hand with antiseptic!

If you go ahead don't do as I did and keep your bandaged hand immobile for too long. Doing this will introduce scar tissue which is not want you want. I advise gentle hand movement and massaging every day which will fragment developing internal scar tissue and normalise the hands structure.

My right hand does have severe arthritis but the trigger finger has gone.

I wonder if Wyatt Earp had trigger finger smile

Ian


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Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Beemer] #2774094 10/20/18 01:38 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Beemer
Yes my guess is that it is indeed trigger finger. I had this two or three years ago and it required an operation to fix it. This symptom can be painless, or painful depending on where the swelling on the tendon is trapped. Have no fear about the operation, as its completely painless, even although you will be conscious.

Is there any pain with this condition? It occurred again to me yesterday, but it comes completely without pain. Just some shock and consternation about a finger that decides suddenly not to bend by itself with a popping joint sound. I think the next time this occurs to me, I will use my right hand, instead of the muscles of the left hand, to bend my left pinky and see if that also causes a joint popping sound.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2774161 10/20/18 08:13 PM
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johnstaf Offline
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If it's just the finger buckling I don't think this is anything medical. I've always had this exact issue, and it comes from very slight double-jointedness. Your muscles and tendons aren't designed to unbend your finger from this position.

Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2774164 10/20/18 08:28 PM
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johnstaf Offline
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I'm not disagreeing with Beemer here btw.

If your finger goes into an abnormal position where it's bent slightly backwards, that's probably just the way you're made. This is such a common thing, I wouldn't be concerned with it.

If your finger has trouble recovering from a normal position, it sounds like trigger finger.

Last edited by johnstaf; 10/20/18 08:32 PM.
Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2774185 10/20/18 10:02 PM
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Fidel Offline
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I am not a doctor and normally trigger finger is when your finger curls and cannot straighten....

That said, when you're stretching for large intervals repeatedly you can inflame the tendons if you don't relax between stretches. Do not "lock" your hand into the interval, let your hand come back to its natural "at ease" position every time. One way to approach this is to aim to keep your fingers ever so slightly curved at all times. Not flat like a ruler; not curved like the letter C. Somewhere in between.

Tendon inflammation is caused by strain and tension. What did your teacher say?


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Re: Scary finger issue [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2774227 10/21/18 01:47 AM
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Beemer Offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Beemer
Yes my guess is that it is indeed trigger finger. I had this two or three years ago and it required an operation to fix it. This symptom can be painless, or painful depending on where the swelling on the tendon is trapped. Have no fear about the operation, as its completely painless, even although you will be conscious.

Is there any pain with this condition? It occurred again to me yesterday, but it comes completely without pain. Just some shock and consternation about a finger that decides suddenly not to bend by itself with a popping joint sound. I think the next time this occurs to me, I will use my right hand, instead of the muscles of the left hand, to bend my left pinky and see if that also causes a joint popping sound.

I apologise for misreading your original post as I was referring to the condition where a bent finger will not return unless pushed. To answer your question that condition is not painful but the tendon has a swelling that struggles to move within its tendon sheath. The swelling can be felt at the third joint where it meets the palm.
I am not familiar with your condition where our finger locks straight.

Ian


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