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Topic Options
#1040506 - 11/03/04 04:21 PM degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
mamma2my3sons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/03
Posts: 746
Loc: Midwest of the great USA
I was just diagnosed of this in my thumb. Anyone else have this (or know someone who does) & *still* play?
thanks.

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#1040507 - 11/03/04 06:02 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I've had arthritis for years and still play. Some weeks it bothers me and some weeks I don't notice it at all. Last Saturday I had to stop playing at my lesson my wrist hurt so bad. My advice is to follow your doctors advice with regard to medicines and physical therapy. I have also found that warming up your fingers with scales and arpeggios before hitting it hard is helpful.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#1040508 - 11/03/04 06:59 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 981
Loc: Oregon
Has you doctor mentioned taking Glucosamine for your joints? It's supposed to be helpful. I have to give that to one of my arthritic cats - actually I give him an injectable form every month.

I personally take 2 tablets/day and feel like it has made some difference. I remember waking up in the mornings and feeling some joint pain in my fingers, but don't get that anymore. You should check with your doctor.
_________________________
"Cats make purrfect friends"

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#1040509 - 11/04/04 05:13 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
mamma2my3sons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/03
Posts: 746
Loc: Midwest of the great USA
thanks for your comments. I'm more concerned about my thumb collapsing. Doctor is pretty non commital about the piano playing.

Just bought a new 5'9" Kohler & Campbell grand a few weeks ago too!

Thanks again

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#1040510 - 11/04/04 07:11 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Pathbreaker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Massachusetts
well since you just bought a new piano you HAVE to find some way around it...i wish i had some good advice for you. but what someone said about warming up is excellent advice. Also I think it's important to know when to take it easy too. I have a serious problem with this and sometimes I go too far and I can feel the damage. Especially if you are playing things that stretch your hand or anything that can block the flow of blood to your fingers it's important to notice these things and stop immediately when you do. as for you thumb, I think it's easy to play with a stiff thumb so maybe fixing that could help you. I don't really know what i'm talking about but good luck with your thumb

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#1040511 - 11/04/04 07:16 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
If you have an option, I'd recommend going to someone who specializes in arthritis. My dad has had rheumatoid arthritis for about 20 years, and he has been going to a specialist for about the same length of time. He is in remarkably good shape (my dad, don't know about the specialist \:\) ). When he was first diagnosed it was a real gloom and doom scenario, and he's still able to get around and do everything he wants. There are several very good medicines out there.

I second the glucosamine chondroitin recommendation... it's expensive, but worth it. If you can get your doctor to prescribe it, then you might be able to use your health insurance to help pay for it.

Good luck!

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#1040512 - 11/06/04 03:49 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
phrf201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/04
Posts: 21
Loc: Westchester, NY
Barbara,

It sounds like you may have "basal joint arthritis" which is a degenerative condition caused by the cartilege wearing away in the thumb area. Is this the term your doctor used?

My husband was diagnosed with this problem in both hands several years ago. Several people responding to your post have mentioned Glucosamine/Chondroitin, which my husband used (and continues to use today). G/C certainly helps maintain healthy cartilege and may help individuals who experience mild arthritic problems; unfortunately, G/C will not generally reverse the type of advanced cartilege degeneration that occurs with basal joint arthritis.

My husband's arthritis continued to worsen until everyday tasks were extremely painful, and he finally opted for surgery. The operation, which can be done under local or general anaesthia, involves harvesting a tendon from the forearm and using it to replace the missing cartilege in the joint. The procedure has a very high success rate, but recovery takes approx. 6 mos. for most people. He just had the second surgery on Nov. 4, nearly a year after the first surgery.

If you haven't already done so, I would recommend that you see an orthopedist who specializes in hands, to get the correct diagnosis and begin treatment. There are many different types of arthritis, and the proper treatment is important, especially in the early stages.

Good luck, and feel free to email me if you do find out that your condition is basal joint arthritis and you want to get more information about the surgery.

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#1040513 - 12/07/04 07:57 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
How's it going Barbara? I am prone to arthritis,,, and sometimes suffer 'attacks' where a particular area will bother me for 2 - 8 wks.

From my experience (and who knows if our arthritis is similar I've learned)

Never stress a joint.. If it starts to hurt, take it easy. They take a long time to unswell.

Learn ways to play loudly or with stress that does not require banging the finger (thumb) down..(lots of wrist and hand movement)

Glucosamine works well for me... I can hear my joints if I don't take it.

Lots of activity (practicing lots- is good as long as you don't bang.

I think about my joints all the time.. keeping track of when and why they hurt. the temperature, what I eat, the humidity level.

keep us posted.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1040514 - 12/09/04 04:59 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
pianafetish Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Greenville, NC
i know of a man [forgot his name] who was 70-something [been playing since childhood] concert pianist who got arthritis bad in his right hand, which limited his playing, but he was so dedicated to his art that it didn't stop him from playing, but limited his playing technique.

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#1040515 - 12/10/04 08:26 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Mathilde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 309
Loc: Decatur, Illinois, USA
My husband has bad knees due to being 50 years old and a letter carrier, and the glucosamine really does help.

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#1040516 - 12/18/04 02:16 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Alanjazz. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/04
Posts: 84
Loc: England
I have some arthritis, thumbs mainly. I had a new hip a few years ago. I work long and hard in rather poor conditions (age 76) which is not helpful. Damp and cold are enemies. So are some foods as I understand it. Such as; tomatoes,dairy products,and citrus fruit.Glucosamine can give side effects so be wary.

I also find repetitive use is bad but I think it involes more than piano use [unless you are of light muscular build] but heavy muscular work such as gripping tightly say on a vibrating tool.

I therefore will never give up on piano as it has given me so much pleasure and soul relaxing comfort.

Mentally, I must be happy to even begin playing. My mind goes into a new beautiful world of melodic vibrations that so reach my inner self.

Happy Xmas to all pianists.

Alan

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#1040517 - 02/20/08 06:01 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Muzzzz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 80
Loc: Australia
hello all...

i know this is digging up an old topic, but I myself have serious problems with my right index finger joint... it started from overpractise about 8 months ago, and it's gradually gotten more painful, to the point where I've had 6 months away from the piano and there are no improvements, and I cannot write because my finger is in so much pain! And i'm 16 years old! \:\/

diagnosis, anyone?

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#1040518 - 02/20/08 06:10 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
Oy - diagnosis over the Internet is going to be a waste of time and effort; go see a doctor. Soon. Especially if you're 16 and if you want to keep playing the piano. Please get this fixed.

My right wrist is now permanently crooked because of an undiagnosed wrist problem at the age of 15. I never did get it fixed, just kept playing. Now I have a permanent deformity, a 3-cm cyst in the wrist joint, and some nerve damage (and I can't play Liszt anymore...)

Please go see a doctor! This is very serious.

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#1040519 - 02/20/08 06:38 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
 Quote:
Originally posted by mamma2my3sons:
I was just diagnosed of this in my thumb. Anyone else have this (or know someone who does) & *still* play?
thanks. [/b]
I don't know what part of the Midwest you're from, but my wife went to this hand surgeon for her carpel tunnel, the surgery was very successful. She couldn't sleep the pain was so bad, the day after the surgery it was like she never had a problem. I'd encourage you to go to someone with this kind of specialty.
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#1040520 - 02/20/08 07:59 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Muzzzz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 80
Loc: Australia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larisa:
Oy - diagnosis over the Internet is going to be a waste of time and effort; go see a doctor. Soon. Especially if you're 16 and if you want to keep playing the piano. Please get this fixed.

My right wrist is now permanently crooked because of an undiagnosed wrist problem at the age of 15. I never did get it fixed, just kept playing. Now I have a permanent deformity, a 3-cm cyst in the wrist joint, and some nerve damage (and I can't play Liszt anymore...)

Please go see a doctor! This is very serious. [/b]
I have seen 2 doctors already, and I would have a hard time telling you which of them was more useless! In fact, one of them even recommended that I continue to play piano!!! fool!

It's to the stage where an internet diagnosis is just about the best help I can get. However, I'm going to see the doctor for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra next week and I'm hoping that he can help me.

Worst part of the whole thing is that I am (was?) planning a career in music \:\(

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#1040521 - 02/20/08 10:42 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4200
Loc: Arizona.
Arthritis is obviously due to inflamation. You need to start by finding the source of the inflamation and treat that.

You may have a bacteria infection that causes joint inflamation, you may simply be overusing the joint. If so, and your pain in limited to a single finger, you are very lucky as local treatments are available.

If the joint pain is in certain joints (say only your large joints....hips, shoulders knees) you may have a certain type of disease..(Lyme disease, Babesia, Bartonela ). If your pain is localized or in certain smaller joints...(fingers, hands, wrists), you may in fact have a form of arthritis (rheumatoid) or possibly just are over using your joint.

Try some home remedies first such as soaking hand in warm epsom salts for a bit or wrapping in a warm towel for 10 minutes before playing.

If you have bone on bone rubbing, you can look into getting a botox injection in the area or if desperate, talk to your Dr. about a cortisone shot.

Mild pain meds work well too (vicodin 5mg).

There are options; many of which beat doing nothing at all and missing out on things you will never be able to do again...ever!.

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#1040522 - 02/21/08 08:37 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Donna R. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 794
I have arthritis - it runs in my family (thanks, Mom!) and recently I've been having major problems with my right thumb, which has been getting very sore and swollen after I've been doing computer work in the office that involves heavy use of the mouse. I bought myself a new ergonomic keyboard that has a touchpad mouse built into the wrist rest that I can use equally well with either hand. So maybe see if there's something other than piano that might be aggravating the condition? My hand isn't back to normal yet and I've eased up on everything that bothers it - shorter piano practice with no chords, no knitting, no heavy scrubbing or polishing around the house, and it's gradually getting better.

I tried glucosamine a couple of years ago for about 9 months and didn't find it made any difference at all. I do find cod liver oil beneficial. I've been taking it for over 20 years. My husband recently talked me into switching to fish oil and after about 3 months I switched back - it wasn't anywhere near as effective as the cod liver oil.

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#1040523 - 02/21/08 10:46 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Agilita Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 476
Loc: Missouri
 Quote:
have serious problems with my right index finger joint..
Are you right handed? Do you spend very much time on the computer using the computer mouse? (I have a 17 yr. grandson and I know he does a lot of computer time.)

My right index finger was bothering me a lot at work and also when playing the piano. I spend most of my day on the computer at work and our health & safety officer for the office insisted that I switch to "mousing" with my left hand. I now work entirely left-handed. And, after a couple of months, my right index finger is doing fine. I do take aspirin every morning and have taken glucosamine. But they're big pills and you have to take them long-term for them to be effective. So, for me, it wasn't the piano practice, it was repetitive stress from the computer mouse.

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#1040524 - 02/22/08 08:29 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
Sorry to hear about your pain.

While doing accounting work at one of my jobs I developed severe hand pain ,the doctors felt it was likely due to "acute repetetive strain injury".

I was promptly sent to occupational therapy and that is where I was introduced to the use of the parrafin wax machine to reduce the pain in my hands. I used it almost daily for a couple of years and it seemed to help. Here's the link.

http://www.sitincomfort.com/pabapawaxspp.html?src=google

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#1040525 - 02/24/08 11:49 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
melissa d Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 113
Loc: Cibolo, Texas
I still play. You were given some great advice and I won't repeat it but just to say don't give up.
_________________________
My blog such as it is http://melissasjourneys.blogspot.com

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#1040526 - 02/24/08 12:13 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Muzzzz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larisa:
Oy - diagnosis over the Internet is going to be a waste of time and effort; go see a doctor. Soon. Especially if you're 16 and if you want to keep playing the piano. Please get this fixed.

My right wrist is now permanently crooked because of an undiagnosed wrist problem at the age of 15. I never did get it fixed, just kept playing. Now I have a permanent deformity, a 3-cm cyst in the wrist joint, and some nerve damage (and I can't play Liszt anymore...)

Please go see a doctor! This is very serious. [/b]
I have seen 2 doctors already, and I would have a hard time telling you which of them was more useless! In fact, one of them even recommended that I continue to play piano!!! fool!

It's to the stage where an internet diagnosis is just about the best help I can get. However, I'm going to see the doctor for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra next week and I'm hoping that he can help me.

Worst part of the whole thing is that I am (was?) planning a career in music \:\( [/b]
Yeah, that's the problem with most doctors - they have no experience with pianists and don't really care.

Meanwhile, here's my Internet recommendation (not diagnosis - though I'd say bursitis or tendonitis) - rest your hand. Totally and completely. Pretend you have no right hand. Use your left hand for everything. Tell your schoolteachers you need someone else to take notes for you because you hurt your hand. Use your computer keyboard and mouse one-handed - with your left hand, of course. See what happens after a couple of weeks.

I did that for 6 months when my hands were in really bad shape. The doctor was talking vaguely about surgery, and I was so scared that I basically quit using my hands for anything. I did not type (used voice recognition instead), I rigged up a foot-operated computer mouse, I quit playing the piano (sob...), and I went to physical therapy to reduce the inflammation and to strengthen my hands. After those 6 months, my hands were OK. Not in perfect shape, but OK to play the piano with.

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#1040527 - 02/24/08 07:14 PM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
 Quote:
Originally posted by Babs1:
Sorry to hear about your pain.

While doing accounting work at one of my jobs I developed severe hand pain ,the doctors felt it was likely due to "acute repetetive strain injury".

I was promptly sent to occupational therapy and that is where I was introduced to the use of the parrafin wax machine to reduce the pain in my hands. I used it almost daily for a couple of years and it seemed to help. Here's the link.

http://www.sitincomfort.com/pabapawaxspp.html?src=google [/b]
Ok guys, here's another tip. I once visited a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic and what he recommended is drug free. Everyday go on a minimum 30 minute walk While you are walking leave your arms by your sides. Keep them straight . You can swing them just a little, Make sure your hands are empty. As you are walking try to feel all the muscles in your hands and fingers loosen up and relax. It may take a little while before you feel those muscles start to loosen up and ease up on that arthritic pain. This may also help to loosen up any carpal tunel syndrom pain you may have.

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#1040528 - 03/15/08 06:21 AM Re: degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)/cartilege problems
crusadar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/07
Posts: 670
Loc: Middle England
I have a pain (arthritis?) in the middle joint of the index finger of my right hand (RH1), something which has kind of sneaked up on me until I returned to piano playing and then ...Whack!!... it's beginning to bother me now. I've been taking a supplement for around a year now, Glucosamine 500mg & Marine Chrondriotin 400mg one/day, and have just ordered another £40 ($80) worth. I'm not sure if the supplement has perhaps eased the pain a little but I'm going to double up on the quantity I take each day, and if I notice any significant improvement I'll report back here. I once cured Tennis Elbow in my right arm by wearing a support made by a US company called "ACE", I wonder if wearing some kind of support to take the strain on my finger joint might help, kind of give it a little resting time, trying to use it as little as possible is difficult.

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