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Strange bump on left hand

Health: A violinist phenomenon?

From Larry Brandt
Posted February 10, 2006 at 09:11 PM

I have noticed that I have a little bump (all but invisible to the eye, but quite easy to feel) on my left hand, on the right hand side just above the wrist joint. It is where my first and second fingers meet at the wrist. I definitely don't have this bump on my right hand.

So my question is whether this could just be a random bump on my hand, particular just to myself, or whether this might be some kind of violin anomaly. The bump is pretty hard, so I'm guessing it's bone. I know that when I used to practise really a lot in one day (and I had rather bad technique, playing with a very tense hand) this point exactly used to hurt (not very much and not for long, but still). If I run my fingers of my other hand over my entire hand, I find the bump quite easily, and my right hand is completely smooth and free of any bumps.

Before any of you run in and shout "inflammation" or "athritis" I am still very young, and I have now been using a far more relaxed technique for a couple of years. I still practise a lot every day (I play at least 4-6 hours a day) but I never hurt at all from playing (even previously, I very rarely hurt at all, only if I really played a lot, which was seldom).

I would appreciate any feedback :D

From Joseph Galamba
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 12:27 AM
your description is vague, right hand side means very little since the hand can rotate 180 degrees. Do you mean the side with the thumb or the side with the pinky? Also...your wrist shouldn't touch your violin anyway unless you're in a very high position.

In any case, it is natural to have a bump slightly below the wrist on the thumb side and slightly above on the pinky side. It is also normal to feel bone where your metatarsals meet your proximal phalanx (at the base of your fingers), but this isn't prominent or visible to the eye at all...

as you can see, your description is a little vague ^^U

Edit: wait...is this on the BACK of your hand near the wrist? I'm confused...

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 12:32 AM
Thank you, Dr. Galamba :)
From Joseph Galamba
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 03:10 AM
:P, well whatever he said I was going to say "go see a doctor", I was just saying his description was very vague
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 03:58 AM
Greetings,
>where your metatarsals meet your proximal phalanx <

Is this anything to do with `When Harry met Sally?`

More confused,
Buri

From Suresh Brady
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 09:44 AM
Larry, see a doctor.
From Larry Brandt
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 10:45 AM
I didn't think it would be so confusing! Ok, I'll try again....

It is on the back of my hand, on the right hand side of my hand (that is, nearer to the thumb). I am not talking about the bones on the sides of just below the wrist, which stick out a bit.

In the following diagram: http://www.esg.montana.edu/esg/kla/ta/hand.jpg the area I am talking about appears a little about number 32.

I doubt that Mr Galamba is a doctor, otherwise he'd know that the metatarsals are by your feet, and metacarpals by your hands....

Judging by this diagram: http://n2.bioeng5.bioeng.auckland.ac.nz/ontology/images/RightHandAnteriorViewRightArmAnteriorView.png I'd venture that the exact point I'm talking about is known as the "trapezoid", number 44 in the diagram.

This little bump is evident in my hand even when it is level with my forearm, and becomes slightly more pronounced if I move my hand downwards. I noticed now that if I move my right hand downwards I can feel a bump a little bit, but it's not as much as my left hand...

I'm talking about a bump about half a centimeter in diameter, and it's not a particularly noticeable protrusion, as I mentioned earlier.

I hope that helps you all a bit more.

From Christian Vachon
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 12:31 PM
Hi,

Larry, it's possible that it is a cyst on a tendon or something of the sort. My brother has had a problem similar to yours in a similar area. You do need to see a doctor and they will refer you to a hand surgeon to get it removed. Be aware though that it may come back in time. So it did with him.

Cheers!

From Larry Brandt
Posted on February 11, 2006 at 01:58 PM
Hey presto! I think I know what the bump is! I broke my left wrist when I was young...maybe that is what caused it!

It is really quite hard in that area, so I doubt it's a cyst. I will maybe try to post some photos so you can see exactly what I'm talking about.

I might add that it doesn't bother me at all, however, sometimes when I do get pain in my hand from extensive playing, this area seems to hurt more than anywhere else....

I'm certainly not going to have surgery or anything drastic done to my hand until it starts to really bug me. If it ain't broke, don't fix it is my motto...

From Alan Wittert
Posted on February 12, 2006 at 07:08 AM
It it ain't broke don't ask. Or better yet, if it ain't broke this is the perfect venue to ask. If you actually have any concern then follow the sage advice you've been given above and see a doctor. Or send her your hand photos or send them to violinisthandpathology.com.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 12, 2006 at 07:11 AM
All the doctors are at the Les Paul forum. Maybe it's a Siamese twin.
From Joseph Galamba
Posted on February 12, 2006 at 07:21 AM
The thing about Dr. Galamba was obviously a joke. The fact that I'm 16 should make that much clear XD.

But yea, it's better safe than sorry. You'll only get a really good diagnosis with a real doctor actually looking at you.

From Larry Brandt
Posted on February 12, 2006 at 09:08 PM
Ok apparently (according to my Mom) I broke my arm, and not my wrist, like I vaguely remember (I was 5 at the time). So that's not it. I showed it to a couple of violin teachers who said it could be, saying that they've seen ganglion cysts in students before!

I'm just really not comfortable with some doctor sticking a needle into my hand and sucking fluid out of the cyst! Eww!!

Does anybody here have any experience with ganglion cysts? (Maybe somebody here has had one?) I would never ever have come up with that possibility if it hadn't been pointed out here! So thanks a ton!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on February 12, 2006 at 11:17 PM
Cysts can be left alone if they don't bother you, but you say this one causes pain. My husband also gets cysts on his wrists; he's had them removed once already. If you do in fact have a cyst, you just deal with it until it bothers you too much, then have a doctor take care of it. Then it should be good to go for at least a few years. They often return, though.
From Robby Schnautz
Posted on February 16, 2006 at 04:33 PM
Consult your doctor...not us! This isn't normal for fiddlers like us!

I used to have a little bump in the middle of my left palm for years...it was some kind of air bubble. I popped it with a needle (cuz Mom said to) and it went away.

I've never seen it again...but don't pop it until you know what it is!

From Larry Brandt
Posted on February 16, 2006 at 08:38 PM
Robert was it hard? Are cysts normally hard? Or bubbly like? Because my bump feels hard as bone...
From Robby Schnautz
Posted on February 16, 2006 at 08:54 PM
I don't remember it being hard, but I did have to feel around to find it like you say...It's been so long now, and I don't know anything about cysts. Yeah, definitely ask your doctor next time you have a checkup, or schedule an appointment. It might be cancer and you've caught it in time, or it might be a wart, or who knows?
From David Russell
Posted on February 16, 2006 at 11:28 PM
I'm no doctor, but if its a ganglion cyst, it could have grown hard over time. When they first appear, they have a somewhat spongey quality, but over time, they can get really hard. They can also get sore after a good amount of practicing because of their location by tendons in the very crowded area you describe.

They can disappear and re-appear spontaneously, and if they are removed, they often return.

I would advise you to have a doctor confirm that its a ganglion cyst, then if it doesn't really bother you- ignore it. The treatment itself might put you out of business short-term, and there is a good likelyhood it might return.

If, on the other hand, it is painful or gets in the way of your playing, you might just have to bite the bullet and try to have it removed.

I have encountered them in many students of the violin. Must be related to repetitive use. Not sure, though.

Good luck.

From C. Veronica Smith
Posted on June 20, 2006 at 01:27 AM
It's funny that I saw this thread today because, I've been having problems with my left wrist recently, and today I went to a hand specialst and he said that I had a ganglion cyst. I got a cortizone shot, which is supposed to make it shrink. I didn't think I had one, even though my violin teacher said it was a possibility -- some of his other students had them -- but I do! I would never have guessed, though, since I can't see a bump or anything.
From Kevin Huang
Posted on June 20, 2006 at 03:50 AM
I've had these "bumps" on both my wrists ever since I was born. Mine are not hard like ganglion cysts. Instead they can be flexed and tensed like muscles, so much so that I think that they are actually extra muscles in the back of my hand. The bump on my left is bigger than the bump on my right.

When I was in medical school, an orthopedic surgeon told me that there was "a name" for the muscle in the back of my hand. According to him, it really WAS a muscle. However, his belief was anecdotal at best.

I have a friend who is an ex-Joffrey ballerina who has these same muscles on the back of her feet. She claims that the muscles gave her extra strength, which I don't doubt since she last appeared on the Joffrey stage in the 1970s but can still do just about all the same moves she was doing then today.

From Larry Brandt
Posted on June 20, 2006 at 11:12 AM
Well I got it checked out: One orthopaedic "specialist" told me it was just some protrusion which isn't a cyst and shouldn't bother me and if it still bothers me in two months I can come back and he will x-ray it....

Then one relative of mine from America came to visit and he's a doctor and I asked him and he said it's definitely a ganglion cyst and he showed me how it can move and how it actually is soft if you press it in the right manner.

Anyway, it's not disturbing me at all, so for now I'm completely leaving it alone!!

From Paul Cook
Posted on June 21, 2006 at 12:24 AM
Hi,

My wife had a ganglion on the back of her hand a few years ago. The doctor said his father used to treat them by whacking it with a heavy book. The ganglion would burst and be resorbed. He suggested leaving it alone unless it caused a problem, in which case the surgery is quick and generally safe.

She looked into the Edgar Cayce information on
ganglions, and the remedy he gave was a flannel pad soaked in warm castor oil, applied every night for a month. Cover it with plastic to protect bed clothes. She tried it, and the ganglion was gone in a couple of weeks, never to return.

No guarantees, of course, but for a violinist's left hand the heavy book is a bit too scary, and surgery is to be avoided unless there is no other choice.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on June 21, 2006 at 05:20 AM
>My wife had a ganglion on the back of her hand a few years ago. The doctor said his father used to treat them by whacking it with a heavy book. The ganglion would burst and be resorbed.

This is a riveting image. : )

From Éric Tremblay
Posted on June 21, 2006 at 06:27 AM
Hmmm, a heavy book.... i wonder how well that would work for nose pimples.

or morning wood =)

From Noel Pinnington
Posted on June 21, 2006 at 03:57 PM
The traditional treatment was to whack it hard with a bible, although any big heavy book could do. I have actually done that - it hurts like hell but it works, within minutes it is gone. Meanwhile my sister had surgery and hers came back within a few weeks.
From Ray Randall
Posted on June 21, 2006 at 04:12 PM
I agree with all of the above. My Mother was a nurse who actually had a Doctor whack her ganglion with a book. Never came back.
From Paul Cook
Posted on June 21, 2006 at 04:26 PM
Wow! I was not expecting any support for the
heavy book method, especially from violinists.

I don't doubt that it works, and I'm not surprised
that surgery sometimes doesn't, but if I ever
get a ganglion, I'll put up with castor oil
packs for quite a while before smacking my
hand with anything heavy!

From Larry Samuels
Posted on June 21, 2006 at 07:02 PM
Paul,

Everyone's experience seems to differ with these cysts. I had one on the inside of my left wrist area, pretty prominent, that just seemed to appear fully formed one day. I read of, and used, the book method - no pain, and the bump was reduced totally, but it gradually grew back (within a week) leaving a large discoloured area (old fluids, perhaps) surrounding the bump.

Next I tried leaving it alone - over the course of, maybe 3-4 weeks, it reduced on its own, along with the discolouration going away, and has not come back.

Reading on the net, it seems like both types of treatment (whacking/leaving it alone) may work, but there's no good prediction of results ...

Good luck!

Larry Samuels


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