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1ply 02-14-2019 10:51 AM

Hand Surgery
I am facing hand surgery on my right hand, and then my left hand. I am right handed. The surgeon has a great reputation. He will do several things at the same time. He will fix my carpel tunnel, my trigger thumb, and my CMC joint (at the base of the thumb). He will not put in an artificial joint since they wear out much too soon. Instead he will cut a tendon in my forearm, drill a hole through the trapezium bone, weave the tendon through it and weave it around the CMC joint, and then reattach it.
The only thing he can do about the arthritis on my first thumb joint (the joint between the distal phalanx and the proximal phalanx) is to fuse it at a 10-15 degree angle. I am holding off on this since I would rather endure the pain than lose mobility.
Recovery time is 6 months.
I have tried cortisone shots every six months but in both joints in both hands but their effectiveness has diminished. The shots hurt like hell. It reminds me of when the dentist mistakenly hits a nerve when he injects Novocain.
Has anyone else had this extensive hand surgery? Has anyone had their first thumb joint fused?

JerryM 02-14-2019 11:04 AM

I am in the same exact situation but have been holding off for years, mine is the result of breaking my left hand in the service so VA wants to do that surgery on mine. The thought of not playing for up to six months is for me unbearable and will probably mean the end of my music as far as guitar is concerned. I practice every day and use a hot paraffin dip on my hands, do stretches and don't lift any heavy stuff trying to prolong the use of my hands. When I play I use a left thumb brace, of which I have several and it definitely helps.
Six months no play would be the end for me. If I lay off just a week I notice substantial loss of ability and it takes several hours to get back to normal, also in that long of a time I would forget a lot of the lines and stuff, would be a long road back and that's assuming the surgery works! Good luck with it hope all works out.

Silly Moustache 02-14-2019 11:10 AM

That's a "me too!" trigger finger release on my right hand on the 22nd.
Got my shower glove today.
Not having my Carpal tunnel done - too complicated - since I lost all that weight in 2017, it hasn't been so bad.

Seems it's the way it goes - grateful that the NHS are still doing minor surgeries like this.

1ply 02-14-2019 11:16 AM

Hand Surgery
I plan on learning to play the harmonica during my six month recovery.

JimmerO 02-14-2019 01:36 PM

I've had three trigger finger operations and they all went extremely well. Was off of playing for a week or two most. The result was so good I have to think about it when someone asks me which fingers did i have done.

I'm scheduled for a knee and ankle replacement. The ankle doctor is extremely well known and in talking to him he told me that big toe and thumb joint replacements are around the corner.

tippy5 02-14-2019 02:12 PM

I feel so bad about your hand issues. I have wear and tear and I am happy I avoided surgery. I would search this forum for condition management.
There's also some orchestra professional musician arthritis searches too. Anything to do to ease the finger tendonitis, nerve entrapment and joint wear. Sometimes it is as simple as taking off a few months.

I remember one gig I had 30 years ago. I went to the bathroom and an old guitarist was in there warming his hands in the sink. He was real nice about sharing it's benefits. He also talked about taking 4 advils an hour before the gig. He would stretch driving over and ICE as soon as he could after his sets.

Now I am that old (63) guitarist. I have gone to 3 hand surgeons in town for my "trigger finger". I researched musician arthritis...etc...I have talked with other guitarists that had this "trigger finger" surgery. (BTW: they seem to call all finger joint issues this)...Well for me I am glad I went through a couple of real bad years and the last couple I am back doing "ok".

Now I have no opinion with your basal thumb bone on bone and any constant carpal numbness. I would think surgery would be a viable option. But just for little ol' me.... i wouldn't do the small finger joints. There are a number of tissue layers besides tendons that what I read and have learned anecdotally that are hard to help.

BTW: The above wax paraffin with multi layer wash cloth warmth therapy is wonderful. Also talk with your Dr.s about being a musician. I assume if you fuse your thumb at that degree that would aid guitar playing and I have heard of this.

papatar 02-14-2019 02:34 PM

I've had 8 breaks on my arms or wrists, 4 times on each. The last one required bone taken from my hip to repair my left wrist. It now has 2 plates and 12 screws in it. I'm just now starting to play again after 6 years of being idle. It was too frustrating and i just gave it up. I'm determined this time to stick with it and I'm very happy how much improvement theres been in just the last 2 months. I feel I've lost 20 years of ability but i think the change of attitude has made a huge difference. I guess the point is, hang in there, stick with it and definitely don't be as foolish as I was

Dru Edwards 02-14-2019 04:09 PM


Originally Posted by 1ply (Post 5979608)
I plan on learning to play the harmonica during my six month recovery.

I think that's a great attitude - learn another instrument. Harmonica goes great with guitar.

I wish you the best on the surgeries. Here's to a quick healing time.

Dond 02-14-2019 06:15 PM

My right hand was similar to yours except for trigger finger on all fingers.
The one problem I am having is with the thumb motion, but have been working it with a squeeze ball.
The thumb doesn't care for finger picking...........I should have worked it harder/longer in therapy.
Best of luck!

frankmcr 02-14-2019 06:40 PM


Originally Posted by 1ply (Post 5979608)
I plan on learning to play the harmonica during my six month recovery.


Originally Posted by Dru Edwards (Post 5979883)
I think that's a great attitude - learn another instrument. Harmonica goes great with guitar.

I wish you the best on the surgeries. Here's to a quick healing time.

Or dobro maybe.

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