Broken finger recovery

Edited: August 7, 2017, 3:20 PM · Three months ago I broke three fingers on my left hand and my pinky on my right hand. The breaks were serious enough to require surgery and pins. I have been diligently doing my hand physical therapist's exercises every day. Unfortunately at this point I have limited movement in my left ring finger and pinkie. I cannot straighten these two fingers fully. As you can imagine with a short pinkie to begin with, not being able to straighten it causes big problems playing. Aside from that, I experienc pain under my thumb and forearm when trying to play. I'm getting a little discouraged and was hoping there might be someone out there that has gone through this as well and has been able to get back to playing. I played at a professional level usually first violin and I teach is well.

Replies (6)

Edited: August 8, 2017, 1:28 PM · Catherine, I am truly sorry to hear for your troubles. A friend of mine and a fine violinist, suffered from similar injuries long time ago. Despite the injury, he finished university but had to re-visit his left hand technique and invent his own fingering.
I wish you all the best in you recovery.
Edited: August 7, 2017, 5:57 PM · Catherine, I wish I could offer you better news than this. I broke the first and second metacarpal bones in my right hand nine years ago. Those bones are in my palm, and not my fingers, so hopefully your experience will be different than mine was. After I got the pins out and the splint off I spent the next year getting up early every morning to soak my hand in hot water while I worked the joints to regain flexibility. My hand ached, mostly in the morning, for years afterward. I never did regain a full range of motion in my right pinky, and if I had done that to my left hand I don't believe that I could have picked up my violin again, at least not as a four fingered player. As it is, I'm not limited in my ability to bow with that hand now. Apart from the slightly limited range of motion in my pinky, I no longer notice any significant effects from the injury. Again, metacarpal bones are not the same as the ones you injured, so I hope your healing time will be shorter than mine was.

Edit: I should note that with the passage of time my hand did heal far more than I would have guessed just a few years after the injury.

August 8, 2017, 2:00 PM · As a general rule, be careful when walking a dog on a lead if the dog is too big to be picked up with one hand. A principal cellist I know was once out of action for two or three months after a particularly lively dog-walking session fractured the 2nd finger in her right hand. My own experience of walking a lively big dog tells me it is safer to have the load taken by the lead looped round the arm above the hand and not held solely by hand and fingers.

Yes, I know, a dog should be trained to be docile when on a lead, but no dog is absolutely predictable and the unexpected can happen.

August 8, 2017, 3:12 PM · I think you might benefit from seeing a specialist that works specifically with professional musicians.

Look at the Performing Arts Medicine Association for someone near you: LINK

August 8, 2017, 7:54 PM · I agree with Lydia... and do not stop until you find someone who is passionate about your recovery process. Here is a specialist in BC, Canada I trust a lot:
August 10, 2017, 5:21 PM · Catherine, sympathies on your injury and difficulties. I had a childhood injury to my left pinky which never healed properly, leaving me with the opposite problem to you -- it straightens, but doesn't bend well. I don't know what it's like to play without this problem as I started much later, but I feel it's a significant cause of left hand problems for me. So I encourage you to continue working on rehabilitation and regaining flexibility and not to let it heal improperly as mine did, as much as you can.

Regarding the pain in the thumb and forearm -- I also get something like this, and for me it's caused by the hand position and can be avoided by changing the horizontal angle at which the thumb meets the neck - i.e. the angle of the violin relative to the shoulder. Of course I know nothing of your positioning and mobility so in your case it might be something entirely different, but it might be worth considering and experimenting with, with the understanding that the limitations in your finger mobility might be causing you to have uncomfortable positioning.

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