Double Jointed Fingers:

Edited: October 21, 2017, 5:22 PM · I have double jointed fingers in both hands; ring finger, middle finger and pinky finger. it’s really annoying! i find it difficult to stretch my finger as it bends backwards and vibrato is quite difficult too. is there anyway i can fix these issues or does anyone have any exercises to help?
THANK YOU!

Replies (17)

October 21, 2017, 7:01 PM · You could search the site for similar threads, or ask yo teacher.
October 23, 2017, 7:58 PM · um... thanks?
October 23, 2017, 8:40 PM · I'd suggest finger strengthening. You could try the Handmaster Plus Finger/Hand Strengthener from sharmusic.com. It might help to build up the fine muscles in the fingers to help prevent the fingers from bending in the wrong direction.

Also, try more of a hand or arm vibrato. It'll 'widen' the motion and maybe help the finger stay 'locked' into the correct position.

Hope this helps.

October 23, 2017, 9:33 PM · I don't know if a hand strengthener is really necessary.
Edited: October 23, 2017, 10:01 PM · Strengthening the joins is, to my knowledge, a common solution for double jointed fingers.

It doesn't need to be an aggressive strengthening routine, but the problem with being double jointed is that the joints tend to cave in. In order to resist this, they need to have the strength to hold the correct form (in this case, arches).

I remember reading something some time ago about using a clothespeg instead of something specifically designed to strengthen the hand, as the forces needed to play violin aren't that great. It was something about it offering enough resistance to be able to build the muscles to hold the correct form without the risk of damage inherent in a hand strengthener.

Half the problem is strength, half is lack of practice holding the shape.

Edited: October 23, 2017, 11:18 PM · hi Camilla, listen to Michael! Indeed, all the strength has to come from the base joints of the fingers, using muscles which Jeewon Kim on this forum calls the muscles to do a "one-handed clap". This implies that double-jointedness need not be a big problem actually, as all violinists need to take care they play with strength from their base joints with the actual fingers remaining very soft. So, as said by others, basically you need not do much differently than the rest of us, which is, taking care first of all of a good left-hand position, a good teacher and "The Violin Lesson" by Simon Fischer will help you with that, and for the rest the standard left-hand exercises, Schradieck, Dounis, trills, Kreutzer, etc. Please note I am not a teacher so may be corrected. But the gist of my reply is, it's just practicing like the rest of us. Perhaps someone who is NOT double-jointed can get away longer with BAD left-hand position and WRONG use of the fingers. But in the end if they want to do it correctly and play well they have to practice as much as you will need to do (and, I should add, have great fun doing so!)
October 24, 2017, 11:29 AM · At risk of practicing orthopedic medicine without a license; Hopefully a MD/musician out there will give a better answer; "double-jointed" is the common name for hyper-extension. The joint is not loose, but the ligaments that hold the joint together and prevent motion in certain directions are a little too long, loose. You Might grow out of it. For now, be sure to maintain a round left (and right!) hand, with curved fingers. Avoid doing those extensions that call for straight, ridged finger, your joints might collapse. For vibrato, make sure that the finger motion is as sideways as possible. Our fingers should be ridged in that direction. ~jq
October 24, 2017, 11:34 AM · Follow-up on that. "Strengthening" exercises might not help much, because this is Not a muscle problem.
October 24, 2017, 2:33 PM · Could you maybe post a picture of your hand frame so we can better help you?
Edited: October 24, 2017, 6:41 PM · i don’t know how to upload an image, but you know how you can bend a finger normally? it can bend that way, but backwards. yeah... kinda gross
October 24, 2017, 7:07 PM · You upload it to an image-hosting or file-hosting site and post the URL here. You can embed images, but it's kind of technical.
Edited: October 24, 2017, 10:46 PM · Examples See some of the plastic devices used to prevent backward bending.
October 25, 2017, 1:48 AM · Jean, yes the motion comes from the base joints, but the arch of each finger surely has to withstand this?
Edited: October 25, 2017, 7:52 AM · sure Adrian, thanks for the clarification. in the meantime Joel has given the perfect answer for Camilla.
October 27, 2017, 12:40 AM · thanks :)
Edited: October 27, 2017, 8:32 AM · Hi Camilla. I know at least some of what you're experiencing as I'm also double jointed, though I'm mostly plagued by my left pinky function (once in a blue moon, my right ring finger locks up too.)

The absolute number one thing to do is address pressure into the string (or the stick of the bow.) And more importantly learn how to reverse whatever it is you're doing to apply that pressure. Just being aware of when you do it will start getting you to reverse it when you need to.

In the end it's not static structures (finger shapes and angles, although those can be helpful in context,) but a dynamic coordination, how you move in different passages, which will help you mitigate some problems you may be having with locking joints. Check out my notes on how to setup left hand function in the following thread:
http://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=616.
Eventually I'll get to some notes about finger action.

In it, I also link to these threads:
http://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/21669/
http://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/26461/
where I mention the "one-handed clap" Jean referenced, and mention in some detail about the kind of coordination I think we need.

More later...

October 28, 2017, 11:59 PM · wow, thank you Jeewon. thats actually very helpful :)


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