trapeziectomy left hand (left hand for fretting)

by Mike Penny
(Kent UK)

It's been about 8 years now......

Began with technique falling apart and pain in left hand. Damage to basal joint eventually confirmed.

Left had at the end would only work when near on flat to the fingerboard, the fingers would not 'stand up' on fretting.

Pain began in right hand followed by tremor on fast usage... Rescuerdo de la alahmbra became a joke.

Had Trapeziectomy (removal of trapezium bone) about 2 years ago.

Interesting that you mention tension on this site, it struck a chord (no pun intended).

After Trapeziectomy, the extent of the tension became clear. After this procedure, rest was compulsory. It became obvious that tension was a problem because it went away during this rest period.

The tension was from one hand to the other, in the neck arms and hands, It caused headaches and even made my nose run if I persisted in playing.

I initially thought that because the left hand was not functioning this was caused by the right hand always waiting for the left hand to get into position.

Now, after 2 years of hand strengthening Physio Etc, I can only 'play' for about 1 minute before I have to stop. I spend more tine waiting for the left hand to come back than anything while furiously puffing on the dreaded cigarette!!.

Attempts to improve function have included the standard physio therapy, which was very limited. I extended this to the use of devices to strengthen flexor and extensor use, power balls, hand grips, and extensive manipulation of the joints, including the wrist joints of both hands.

Some progress has been made, the left fingers can now stand up on the frets, but only for a very short time, on the other hand (literally) tremors on fast tremolo and fingers suddenly hitting the wrong string is common.

Though the surgeon did his job well and restored daily function to the left hand, I could not even take the handbrake in the car off, for instance, full function for guitar is far from achieved.

I do not even socialise with other players now because I do not want to embarrass myself, and I used to so enjoy duets.......

For the future, I plan to visit a local tutor to exclude matters such as poor posture and hand placement, and then to consult a hand surgeon who specialises in musicians to have both hands checked out to see is anything else can be done, otherwise my 40 year old hobby will have to go.

I have only ever been an enthusiastic, not particularly talented amateur and it will truly be a shame if I cannot take this hobby into retirement.

Any comments are welcome.....

Mike Penny

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