Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

Within the past year or so I’ve developed what’s commonly called “trigger finger” in my left ring finger. Unfortunately, playing the fiddle makes it worse - my finger joints become painful and stiff. I’d greatly appreciate any tips from other fiddlers for dealing with trigger finger or other types of repetitive stress injuries. Thanks!

Re: Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

Well..i feel I could write a book on this topic. I have it in both hands and mainly pinky finger, its worse in left hand and I think it’s in part caused by having pinky too high when playing with first three fingers. Ive fixed this habit and it’s improved slightly. It’s usually bad in the morning or after lots of playing.

I’ve had every test under the sun as both hands is a red flag and they’re certain now it’s RSI. I have practiced for hours on end.

I’ve tried physios and none of them worked, though some helped. Some said it was nerves, others elbow and others in the neck and posture related. I then tried this thing called active release therapy where they send sound waves into your hand, it’s the only that I would say helped a lot, though it’s still not resolved. I’m a total skeptic but it did help a lot. I know do these massages on the hand that help a lot.

My next step is a hand specialist…we will see how this goes.

Another tip is a few pages in Enda Scahill banjo book about relaxation…I know tension is a no no with getting a good sound but I think it helps avoid injuries.

Good luck

Re: Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

I’m fairly certain it’s scar tissue that causes it

Re: Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

I developed trigger finger in my left hand ring finger (the one next to my little finger to be absolute as I have never worn a ring). It never interfered with my playing (tenor banjo & domra) or caused me pain but it was a bloody nuisance. I had a steroid injection which cured it for about 6 weeks but it came back. I then had a 10 minute operation (local anaesthetic - no pain) in Glasgow which involved cutting and opening up the end of the tendon sheath which was causing the problem. This incapacitated my playing for about 6 weeks and I had to work on the scar tissue and stretch my hand twice every day (15 minutes a time) for a few months. This took place about 4 years ago come September. I still have a very small amount of tightness and bowing with my ring finger when I force my hand flat but it has not interfered in any way with my playing except for a few weeks after the operation.

Re: Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

I don’t play fiddle but I have the early stages of it in my left middle finger : at the moment it tends to be more likely to “trigger” when I’m sitting doing nothing: keeping my hands active, including playing ( piano or accordion) stops it getting stuck.
But I am resigned to thinking it will probably get worse with time. 3 friends have had surgery as described by AngusF for this condition, 2 fiddle players and one accordionist: one still very recent, but the other 2 did find it took longer to get back to full playing function than they had anticipated.
I’m not convinced that it’s anything to do with relaxing or not, as true trigger finger involves a mechanical block to smooth movement of the affected finger tendon.

Re: Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

There’s a video of the operation on YouTube. You can see the tissue being scrapped off the tendon.

Re: Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

I got you all beat. I had three fingers of my left hand amputated; index, middle and ring. Granted it was from an industrial accident before I learned to play the fiddle. But, if you want to play you will find a way. Good Luck 🙂

Re: Fiddlers: Advice requested about (ugh!) Stenosing Tenosynovitis a/k/a “Trigger Finger”

I studied with Pat O’Brien, the great ergonomics expert. I’ve helped many people. I’m sure I could neutralize the problem for you. Douglas Goodhart, goodfeet@msn.com is my email. We would need 2 or 3 sessions, in Zoom. Douglas