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Real World Middle Finger Advice

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Jan 20, 2020 - 7:27:57 PM
938 posts since 12/2/2012

Not sure the subject title is all that good. And I'm not sure I have posted this in the right category for the most answers. But I know the crowd that hangs out down here in off-topic and I wouldn't be asking if I didn't really want your thoughts on this. I know there are a lot more serious problems than this small issue. Regardless, I'd appreciate your thoughts or advice.

In the last couple of months my left hand middle finger has begun to stiffen. I thought it was just a phase and would go away. But it hasn't. Normally I wouldn't be alarmed, except it has made playing my banjo more difficult than need be. Primarily playing clawhammer out of G tuning, I don't need anything very complex but pull-offs and hammer-ons, middle finger notes and chords are suddenly more difficult. And it is somewhat ironic that I noticed the problem as being more acute when I started watching Jim Pankey's beginner banjo video series; I was really thinking about expanding my horizon, but now I feel I may be lucky if I can hold on to what I have.

And now my finger isn't only stiff, but it has now in the past couple of weeks a tendency to "flip out" straight after playing a note or chord or whatever. My right hand fingers are fine.

I don't want to panic on this, but I have really, really enjoyed learning to play a banjo and I'm worried it's going to get worse and put an end to it all.

I'm sure it is arthritis and not an injury. I've done a little on-line looking at solutions but, frankly, would rather get you-guy's take on the matter. You guys play the banjo, and I'm sure someone here has dealt with the problem, or know someone who has.

I've found when people ask for advice that 95% of the time it's seeking affirmation of what they've already decided. In this case I haven't decided on anything. Do I take OTC anti-inflammatory medicines (I haven't noticed aspirin or acetaminophen doing much for it); or put a heating pad on it before playing; or maybe stop playing for a while. As a last resort I could go to a doctor, but I'm really not to the point (I don't think anyway) of needing a special prescription. Steroid shot? That would be painful I'd think.

Furthermore it has also occurred to me that the most dangerous part of this affliction would be the possibility of meeting a motorcycle gang and when raising my hand to wave, the middle finger would flip out for the greeting. . .

My thanks.

Jan 20, 2020 - 7:43:45 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

46750 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

Hi Michael.  Cortisone shots have helped some pickers on this forum, as they’ve related their finger issues in the past. Pat Cloud listed the things he takes for his hands,,I can’t find the post right now,,,it was a month or two ago. I have a stiff left index and right ring finger that sometimes locks,,I think it's called trigger finger, and I alternately take cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, resveratrol, turmeric and a product called NovaJoint.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 01/20/2020 19:46:18

Jan 20, 2020 - 8:40:03 PM
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Owen

Canada

4847 posts since 6/5/2011
Online Now

I dislocated the middle knuckle of my left pinkie quite a few time as a teenager... resulting in a a fair bit of calcium deposits and reducing the flexion noticeably.   It restricted the ability to make some chord shapes, so ...a couple of times a day I used my right hand to forcibly flex the knuckle.   [But not to worry.... just to the verge of painful.]  Noticeable improvement after several weeks, so I slacked off to a maintenance (?) routine .   Some might deem it extreme, and I'm not advocating it for anybody else, just recounting my experience.

... waving to bikers with your right hand should keep everybody happy, no?

Jan 20, 2020 - 9:32:10 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

46750 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

Kurt Kemp has a good video on this issue. Scroll down his videos on the right to the one on hand exercises.
banjohangout.org/myhangout/vid...#theVideo

Jan 21, 2020 - 4:27:45 AM
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figmo59

USA

29900 posts since 3/5/2008

OMG!
Pankey...Gave you the finger...! :0o

:0)

It could be the meds...mine have given me all kinds of issues..
Kinda just like that...

Bad nuff that I can not controls me jaw...( ha ha )...I hears house guys..snickerin..
But what I mean is..one of me drugs was causing me jaw to loose timing when chewing....
Severe bites to the inside of me mouth...real bloody ones..
Also tremmors.. that have now really demished..but not gone away completely.

Fwiw.. I too have watch Mr. Packeys videos..
Thankfully with no ..ill eefects...to me...
But...
I can not say the same fer the Cats..n..Liz's ears tho...


This one ..
Go ask yer..Sawbones...

Good luck..
Al

 

 

Cripes... the spell ..changer..almost got me in a heap of trouble...

In the latter part of me post.. Jim's name...got changed from Pankey to panket.....

I came back to fix it... n retyped it..correctly..mind you..

 

Only to have the...danged ..WORD CHANGER....type in...

Pecker.......... :0(

 

I do not like this ..WORD CHANGER...!

GLAD...I..cault that one...!

 

I mostly never do till too late... :0[

Edited by - figmo59 on 01/21/2020 04:46:40

Jan 21, 2020 - 4:44:02 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

23727 posts since 8/3/2003

Go to your doctor!!!! Don't ask a bunch of banjo players to diagnose your condition. They don't have the training or medical background (unless we have a doctor on the forum). It could be something simple to treat but you won't know unless you ASK YOUR DOCTOR. If you don't check it out, it might end up getting worse and not being treatable at all.

Jan 21, 2020 - 4:50:50 AM
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figmo59

USA

29900 posts since 3/5/2008

quote:
Originally posted by figmo59

OMG!
Pankey...Gave you the finger...! :0o

:0)

It could be the meds...mine have given me all kinds of issues..
Kinda just like that...

Bad nuff that I can not controls me jaw...( ha ha )...I hears house guys..snickerin..
But what I mean is..one of me drugs was causing me jaw to loose timing when chewing....
Severe bites to the inside of me mouth...real bloody ones..
Also tremmors.. that have now really demished..but not gone away completely.

Fwiw.. I too have watch Mr. Packeys videos..
Thankfully with no ..ill eefects...to me...
But...
I can not say the same fer the Cats..n..Liz's ears tho...


This one ..
Go ask yer..Sawbones...

Good luck..
Al

 

 

Cripes... the spell ..changer..almost got me in a heap of trouble...

In the latter part of me post.. Jim's name...got changed from Pankey to panket.....

I came back to fix it... n retyped it..correctly..mind you..

 

Only to have the...danged ..WORD CHANGER....type in...

Pecker.......... :0(

 

I do not like this ..WORD CHANGER...!

GLAD...I..cault that one...!

 

I mostly never do till too late... :0[


IT DID IT AGAIN...!

 

SCUZE ME...WHILE I GO HAVE A TOURETTE 'S.....MOMENT....!. :0[

 

I ain't fixin it again.. 

Jan 21, 2020 - 6:31:56 AM
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Wyozark

USA

938 posts since 12/2/2012

Thanks everybody. In my head, I know Sherry is right. My heart right now is with trying some "home remedies" outlined by Chuck, and if there is some improvement - good; and if not, off to Dr. Geiger I go. I guess I have some reluctance because it seems once you go down that road to medicines you get more and more prescribed (like my mother who takes a whole bunch).

Fig, appreciate your tenacity. . .

Thanks again everyone.

Jan 21, 2020 - 8:07:38 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

23727 posts since 8/3/2003

I have never understood why it's so difficult for some men to go to their doctor when they need to. Dave was like that. He had a bad cough for almost a year and I'd tried to get him to the doctor. When he finally went, he ended up with lung cancer. Perhaps if he'd gone sooner, he'd still be here today. Who knows.

Don't put off something that might affect your health or your picking ability. Go see your doctor. Might be something simple, might take surgery, but at least you'd know.

Jan 21, 2020 - 10:01:32 AM

70902 posts since 5/9/2007

I look forward to my doctor appointments.They've improved my quality of life immensely in the last few years.
They have said more than once that I'm a good patient,but I'm only as good as they are.
No reason to hold off seeing the right person...a doctor with the right solution so you can get back to normal.
Don't imagine what the doctor may say...that's a total waste of time and energy.

Jan 21, 2020 - 11:35:45 AM
Players Union Member

rinemb

USA

11888 posts since 5/24/2005

With all the musicians in Branson, There has to be a good hand doctor around, eh. I would suggest a hand specialist if available. I am no doctor, but a friend was a hand specialist and he told me some nightmare stories from what other doctors did to a person first before, going to specialist for repairs and fix. Brad

Jan 21, 2020 - 6:42:56 PM

Paul R

Canada

12258 posts since 1/28/2010

Well, Brad, suggesting specialists is in the realm of the conversation you have with your g.p. Mine has referred me a few times - to my prostate doc and to a skin doc, not to mention the referrals for hernia surgery. That's what he's there for. And his arthritis meds recommendations have so far been limited to Tylenol Arthritis and glucosamine. Your doc should be able to refer you to a specialist. If he can't/won't, you might want to consider your options.

Jan 21, 2020 - 9:48:40 PM

Mooooo

USA

7453 posts since 8/20/2016

This never happened to me while playing banjo. But it used to happen a lot in traffic. Someone would cut me off and that old middle finger would start acting up again...

Jan 21, 2020 - 9:56:54 PM
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Paul R

Canada

12258 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Mooooo

This never happened to me while playing banjo. But it used to happen a lot in traffic. Someone would cut me off and that old middle finger would start acting up again...


Oh, come on. You're just showing your respect by telling them, "You're number one!"

Jan 22, 2020 - 6:12:49 AM

mander

USA

4043 posts since 10/7/2007

You are asking for medical advice from banjolists?

I assume you can't afford medical treatment/ don't have any doctors you trust. Either is a shame. I've had all sorts of issues with my fingers for all sorts of reasons. Seems odd it is only in the one finger.

Once I was driving down the road when someone steered into my lane. To avoid a head on collision, I swerved and my car went towards a ditch. In swerving out from the ditch, the steering wheel caught my hand just right and I couldn't use my left middle finger for months. Didn't know how important it was to me until I couldn't use it.

Could it be an old injury acting up? Have you tried splinting it and letting it rest?

Jan 22, 2020 - 11:01:19 AM
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Wyozark

USA

938 posts since 12/2/2012

I'm not really doctor-averse. Couple months ago I had some lower body pain, so to speak. I went to the doctor, got some medicine that cleared things up. But also scheduled a "thorough internal examination" if you know what I mean. And I'm fine.

It's just as I said, this isn't something I perceive to be life-threatening. If it was something to do with my head or senses or internal organs or acute pain that keeps me from daily activities (like walking), I'll go to the doctor. I'm trying to put it all in perspective, and since the demographics of who hangs out on this forum roughly matches my own demographic, I thought I'd ask. The irony of asking banjo players for medical advice wasn't lost on me.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon on and off doing the exercises in the Kurt Kemp video and, while my finger is still sore, it seems to actually be improved a bit. We'll see. Ya'll are sort of like neighbors or friends I happen to see while out and about and can stop and chat for a bit about this or that. That's sort of what this is. My thanks to all.

Jan 22, 2020 - 12:55:16 PM

158 posts since 8/25/2009

Your problem is different than mine, so I don't know if this will help your problem, but it's relatively cheap and easy, and I've never heard of side effects.

I have been diagnosed with carpal arthritis (at the base of my thumbs, ). It got so bad that I had pain just putting my hand in my pocket. I read on the internet that "Magnesium Oil" (actually magnesium brine) helped a lot of people. I bought some (from amazon, although GNC also carries it) and it worked fairly well. My thumbs are 95% better and I was starting to notice a bit of pain in my wrists and ankles and those are now completely pain free. I prefer Swanson, because the bottles are transparent, so you can see how much is left.

Caveat: I recommended it to a couple of friends with arthritis and it didn't help them at all. However, it's pretty cheap to try.

Good luck,

Bill

Jan 23, 2020 - 8:43 AM

1529 posts since 2/10/2013

I also think you should go to a doctor. There are specific physical problems that can cause this condition. Doctors can recommend life style changes, medications, or therapy to alleviate and/or cure the problem.

Jan 23, 2020 - 9:17:32 AM
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chuckv97

Canada

46750 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

I forgot,,,I’ve also used magnesium oil.
As far as discussing medical issues on this august forum, I’m with Michael - I’m just having a neighborly chat with some friends about it - looking to hear about others’ experiences rather than medical advice. I’ve just done the same concerning a kidney stone.

Jan 23, 2020 - 10:12:33 AM
Players Union Member

rinemb

USA

11888 posts since 5/24/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Paul R

Well, Brad, suggesting specialists is in the realm of the conversation you have with your g.p. Mine has referred me a few times - to my prostate doc and to a skin doc, not to mention the referrals for hernia surgery. That's what he's there for. And his arthritis meds recommendations have so far been limited to Tylenol Arthritis and glucosamine. Your doc should be able to refer you to a specialist. If he can't/won't, you might want to consider your options.


Sorry, Paul, and others for any confusion.  I agree, that most of the time one must channel all specialists through your GP, to get insurance coverage.  What I should have recommended and was thinking, is that when you go to your GP, insist you get referred to a specialist.  Some GPs are reluctant to do that (in my experience) and want to treat your problem themselves...and are often capable.  But, me hands are particularly important to me.  That said, as Sherry claims, I do let a lot of other things slide too often.  Brad

Jan 23, 2020 - 10:43:05 AM

Paul R

Canada

12258 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by rinemb
quote:
Originally posted by Paul R

Well, Brad, suggesting specialists is in the realm of the conversation you have with your g.p. Mine has referred me a few times - to my prostate doc and to a skin doc, not to mention the referrals for hernia surgery. That's what he's there for. And his arthritis meds recommendations have so far been limited to Tylenol Arthritis and glucosamine. Your doc should be able to refer you to a specialist. If he can't/won't, you might want to consider your options.


Sorry, Paul, and others for any confusion.  I agree, that most of the time one must channel all specialists through your GP, to get insurance coverage.  What I should have recommended and was thinking, is that when you go to your GP, insist you get referred to a specialist.  Some GPs are reluctant to do that (in my experience) and want to treat your problem themselves...and are often capable.  But, me hands are particularly important to me.  That said, as Sherry claims, I do let a lot of other things slide too often.  Brad


Point taken, Brad.

My experience here is different, of course. I make no payments for my care (the exception: my hernia procedures - the operations were paid for by our health care, but, as it's a private hopsital, I paid room and board, with most of that paid for by my insurance). My GP is pretty thorough and I've had a lot of tests (again, paid by our health care system). It helps to have a GP who knows enough to make referrals. But I think our system may encourage that a bit more. Nobody is tied to an insurance company. Coinicdentally, I'm off to my doctor's right now.

Jan 23, 2020 - 10:54:47 AM
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chuckv97

Canada

46750 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

Good luck, Paul. Have you got a case of the “Winter Blues”? (I don’t mean Johnny, nor a case of Molson....)

Jan 23, 2020 - 6:10:05 PM

Paul R

Canada

12258 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

Good luck, Paul. Have you got a case of the “Winter Blues”? (I don’t mean Johnny, nor a case of Molson....)


Nope. Just giving them my updated health card info, being briefed on the new colon cancer screening procedure (sorry about the pun), and finally getting my free flu shot.

Jan 23, 2020 - 8:36:22 PM

Wyozark

USA

938 posts since 12/2/2012

A very kind person sent me a PM (he hasn't posted to this thread). He has some experience with this particular malady and while I may be able to treat the symptoms somewhat via my "home remedies", it's not going to get better on it's own. I'll need to figure out when I want to see my doctor.

Jan 24, 2020 - 4:29:51 AM
Players Union Member

rinemb

USA

11888 posts since 5/24/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Wyozark

A very kind person sent me a PM (he hasn't posted to this thread). He has some experience with this particular malady and while I may be able to treat the symptoms somewhat via my "home remedies", it's not going to get better on it's own. I'll need to figure out when I want to see my doctor.


Good decision.   Brad

Jan 24, 2020 - 4:51:52 PM

1923 posts since 7/23/2015

There could be problematic movement issues with seniors extemeties fingers and feet.
Hot to warm water covering the feet just above ankle tendon, The hands a little over your wrist joint. This may help.

Practice this frequently best before you practice Banjo or any other pastime.
It won't naturally interfere with meds.
See your Doc for the best diagnosis...

Edited by - Rossanne on 01/24/2020 17:00:09

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