Swelling at base of fingers of my fretting hand

by Kevin Turner
(England, southampton)

Hello - Hope you can offer some help...

I'm a professional guitarist so until recently have been playing and practicing a lot for the last 12yrs -up to 10hrs per day easy.

After a return to the gym and lifting heavy weights I then had very swollen hands - saw a Dr and Hand specialist - told nothing to worry about, given some anti-inflams and then booted back out into the world....

Fast forward 18 months - when I play guitar I get swelling at the base of the left hand and lots of heat being generated (very hot)... I have had pain in my forearm and the smallest bit in my wrist a few months ago but have cut playing down to the absolute minimum I need to earn enough money to live - however even an hours playing will leave me with a really swollen hand..

Dr now thinks I've disturbed the joints at the base of the fingers and helpfully recommends I change career as soon as possible...not very helpful advice really..

Any suggestions on how I would proceed would be welcome..

Good luck to all with injuries...



Joshua Answers:

Hi Kev.

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond.

Wow, I'm impressed with your Doctor! Awesome! (Yes, that's sarcasm.)

So, let's get you taken care of.

First off, make sure you understand how the Tendonitis dynamic and
the Process of Inflammation and the Pain Causing Dynamic works.

Maybe you have actually'disturbed the joints'....whatever that means.

You definitely have a chronic Inflammation response in place that you constantly irritate with playing guitar (and everything else at this point).

I'd need more information before saying anything else.

1. How 'bad' is the pain?

2. Where exactly does it hurt?

3. Where exactly do you experience swelling?

4. How's your overall health?

5. How's your energy levels?

6. How's your digestion?

7. History of injury?

8. How much protein do you eat?

9. What have you done for the swelling? Does it work? How so?

10. Anything else that would be of interest at this point.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Oct 03, 2010
reply: Swelling at base of finger of fretting hand
by: Anonymous


Thanks for the response..

The swelling I get is pretty much the whole hand and fingers..I experience no pain in the joints of my fingers no matter how swollen they get...

What I do get is pain between the base of the thumb and the wrist...but I only feel that if I put my weight on hands - other than that I get what feels like a big lactic acid build up in the same forearm..and some more RSI-like pain in the wrist (playing guitar I have had the odd bout of mild RSI which is common in this line of work)..

If I take time away from any playing nearly all of the above goes away after a day or three...

My diet is reasonably varied and other factors such as energy and general well-being are ok I think..

I tried some of the icing advice on your site (just icing deeply one specific area) on the base of the first finger and despite some intense pain at not just that location but then in my elbow also I noticed some improvement over the next few days....

I intend to see what some more deep icing can do and will report back - however any advice or hints and tips will always be appreciated!...

Many thanks



Joshua Comments:

Yep, focus on the deep massage/ice massage. Guitarists tend to get a deeper layer of stuckness/tightness.

Go explore. Anywhere that's tight/painful, rub it till it's not.

Let me know what's what as you go along.

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