Calluses

Calluses

Hi, This is my second time around playing the fiddle. I started playing again last year and decided that this time was going to be different-regular practice, everyday for at least an hour, develop good technique etc. and apart from a few missed days early on I’m proud to say I’ve stuck to it and am now well in the habit. After a few months I developed a very large calluse on my left hand where my hand rubs the neck. I had one before but it was nothing like this! After a couple of hours playing it gets really sore and I’m forced to stop, which is frustrating if things are going well. Is this something that will stop eventually or is there something I can put on it? Any advice would be welcome.

Re: Calluses

Exactly where on your hand is it, and are you sure it is a callus (which don’t usually get sore)?

Posted by .

Re: Calluses

Basically on my left hand, first knuckle where I hold the fiddle

Re: Calluses

Are you bending your wrist so that it isn’t touching the neck? Do you feel tension in your hand when you hold the fiddle? Something’s definitely wrong. If your doing all of the above, I’d suggest you check with your doctor. Keep us posted & hope this works out soon.

Re: Calluses

thanks for the concern Marcia but I dont think I need a doctor.

Re: Calluses

You should definitely get it looked at, if you have serious pain. But I might have had what you’re talking about. I still have a bit of a bump on the edge of my hand, at the base of the first finger, opposite the thumb—same spot you describe, I think. It used to be bigger, but it is almost gone now. The doc said it was a "ganglion cyst" and, while surgery technically could be done, it generally wasn’t. Because it would probably mostly go away on its own, in time. Which it did, gradually.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganglion_cyst (Note that some people just bash them with a book!)

I think mine started when I bruised that spot by picking up a big pile of clothing on wire hangers by the hook ends—the wires really dug into that exact spot. And the small but steady pressure of fiddling made it grow for a while. That’s my theory, anyway.

Re: Calluses

If you want, Send me a photo via this message board or at tom@skincancersurgery.org

One look is worth 1000 words but it sounds as if you may be grasping at the neck instead of
just letting it rest in the hollow between the thumb and the left pointing finger.

Tom Connelly MD
Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery

Re: Calluses

Thanks for that Rick, It is just hard skin though. I’ve known several accomplished players who have them. Athena Tergis has one on her thumb too!

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When I was younger and started playing forms of "rock" music on piano, it made the outside of my thumbs very sore and I developed blisters. My thumbs are ok now, but my skin peeling off didn’t feel too great when practicing for that piano recital…

Re: Calluses

Sean - I think most fiddlers have some form of callous where you describe. It could be that your skin just isn’t used to all the practice yet, and it will sort itself out. But it could be that your hand and wrist aren’t in quite the right position and shape. Relaxed, straight(ish) wrist, fingers curled over the strings rather than coming at them flat, and a nice, loose thumb are things I would suggest aiming for.

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Wow! bad technique, ganglions, Skin cancer! F—- me I’m gonna chop me hand off!

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Hey, c’mon Sean, you keep ruling things out. It’s got to be for *some* reason - and poor technique doesn’t seem unreasonable if you’ve only been playing for a year after (what I took to be from your OP) a longish break. Fiddle does take time to learn, after all.

Re: Calluses

Not only that, but you didn’t in fact read what I said, did you? My first point was that some degree of callusing strikes me as being normal for fiddlers. I then gave an alternative. Not an unreasonable one from what you posted. But still, just an alternative.

Touchy, I’d say.

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I find I can peel my calluses off when they get really thick. But I’ve never had a callus get sore. I get soreness in my joints however and the cure for that is constant stretching.

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Sean Brady,
Sorry. I thought you were asking for advise. No one said anything about skin cancer.
I think people were just trying to get to the root of the problem (or non-problem
that you asked about.
But you 1. Already know it’s a callus. 2. No problem because a few famous fiddlers you know
have exactly the same. 3. As we all learned, the consensus on this board for proper neck grip, will be whatever grip you like is good for you not withstanding calluses and other misuse injuries. 4. Play/strangle on brother.

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Well, you’ve certainly made *me* feel better, Tom. I had thought for a minute that maybe I was being harsh. 😉

Re: Calluses

If this is an injury caused by pressure or rubbing then it seems quite likely that there *is* a callus on the surface, but that the pain is caused some sort of bruising-type injury under the skin. I have experienced this on the side of the 1st joint of my LH index finger (which I acknowledge to be due to bad technique). I have a permanent slight lump there, which still hurts very occasionally if it gets pressed a certain way.

Sean - This is worrying you enough for you to ask for advice. You’ve got a qualified doctor and fellow musician offering to look at it by email. Go for it, I say.

Re: Calluses

I’ll get it checked. Thanks

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Yes, getting it checked is the best idea. While not a fiddler, I began to develop what I thought was a callus in the palm of my left hand (almost directly in line between the index finger and thumb). While never painful (uncomfortable at the worst), I eventually had it looked at. It was determined by my GP, to be a Rheumatoid Nodule (I have since developed two more in that hand), and the beginning of my diagnosis of RA. Not trying to scare you, but you should really have it looked at by a medical professional.

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Yo!
About five months ago I started playing every day for a good amount of time, and I finally developed calluses! Yeah!….so that made me feel good about myself. (Like after you workout and you. Are. Sore. Then you know it worked and you can bemoan your pain to everyone so that they are impressed.) Anyways. So yes, I have calluses, nice steel colored ones, ha ha! They are pretty respectable, plus I like to pick at them and bite at them (yep, I’m a nail biter. They didn’t stand a chance) so that makes them worse.
Question: if you are a regular, two-three hrs per day player, will you always sport remnants of your obsession?! Do your fingers ever get used to the strings? Just wondering if I’ll always have them as long as I keep up my playing (and I’m going to! I’ve found my new obsession!) Not that I mind. I whine about them to everyone and point them out so that they are impressed with my daily 2 hours of playing (just kidding. I’m not THAT into myself. Usually).
Just wondering. And rambling.