Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monday, March 22, 2010 Louis F turse, Community Member, asks

Q: finger Osteoarthritis

Hi, I was diagnosed with finger osteoarthritis in thumb and in middle joints of my left hand. I have had pain for about 22 years, only when I put my hands on the guitar and play (this is my fretting hand). I have had two carpal tunnel surgeries and on thoracic outlet syndrome, removing the first rib. Was getting a dull ache in chest at the time. My question is, now I am getting a like sharp pain in fingers, with pressure that shoots up, but not all the time. And not down, when I press really hard on the guitar to fret notes in my fingers. It just started to happen and t is on all fingers, ring, pinky, thumb, first and pointer (but could be coming from one finger and I just don't know it. Some days I can play for about 5 minutes and other 10 and some 1 minute with out the dull sharp pain. I happens when I only use the fingers for pressure, like playing the piano, guitar or typing. No driving and no pain i the wrist at all. Is this finger osteoarthritis or tendonitis, or part of the thoracic outlet syndrome. Like I said I have had it for 22 years, (ever since I played the guitar. The symptoms are that of, unable to control the hand at all on the guitar, like grip and moving the fingers fast. Not able to have a lot of pressure and sluggishness greatly in fingers and grip (but not when driving or working with the hands). The sharp shooting pain with pressure. And the pain or shooting seems to go up the arm when only applied pressure. Hope you can help. I am 36 now and like I said I have been suffering for 22 years and cant even play the guitar for about 15 minutes. I don't play a lot anymore, but am starting to get into piano in the future and guitar again, because I just built a studio. So I'd like to play again. Its my passion... Thanks so kindly for taking the time out to help. Lou. T.
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Answers (2)
3/22/10 4:17pm

Without doing an exam it is hard to determine where the primary cause of pain is coming from. However, I will say that based on your history of carpal tunnel and thoracic outlet, your nerves are likely to be very sensitive. Not pinched, because not all pinched nerves hurt.


Many musicians benefit from movement therapy to help improve posture and efficiency of movement.


Better mechanics and better movement might just help you.


Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

JTrempe, Community Member
4/24/10 6:05pm



I am a physical therapist.  It sounds like you have more than just finger arthritis potentially impacting your function.  I would recommend seeing a good orthopedic doctor who can help determine the cause of you pain.


You can also check out this website that has information about various hand and finger joint issues:


Hope this helps. 

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By Louis F turse, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/27/10, First Published: 03/22/10