Plucking fingers pain

So, I got to the plucking fingers pain point for the second time within a year :frowning:
It doesn’t hurt when I play. It is painful throughout the day. It hurts when I make a fist.

It is an issue with my extensor tendons (on the top of my fingers) on two plucking fingers.

Last time it went away after a 3-4 months break from practising .
After that, I started slowly again. The pain got back after 2 months :frowning:
I need to stop again as I don’t want to make it more serious.

My doctor wasn’t very helpful and didn’t see any big issues. They asked me to come back if it gets more serious, otherwise just rest.

I do warmups, I don’t pluck hard, and I don’t have lengthy practice sessions either (max 30 minutes couple times a week). It is so frustrating and disappointing.

Has anyone else had similar issues?

I have just put my bass into the wardrobe to hide it from my sight. It is easier that way.


That’s good - that’s really good!

I am not a medical doctor, but I have had all kinds of finger issues over the past years, along the lines that you describe (pain throughout the day, when making a fist, when trying to do fine work with the fingers that however requires some strengths, …). For all I know, it’s some kind of arthritis, slowly creeping in.

It seems to be dependent on the weather (yeah, I always used to roll my eyes when my granny made such kind of “ludicrous” statements), what else I have done in terms of manual labor on that day, and so on. I don’t know how to best deal with it - I wish I knew! What I do is I sometimes apply an Aloe heat lotion (something like this:

Sorry, couldn’t find an English version, but I am sure they can be found everywhere)

I also think playing (i.e., moving the fingers/joints) despite the pain is the way to go with arthritis (unless it’s very straining); keeping the fingers or joint still is apparently just making things worse.

So, since you can play without pain, I would certainly not recommend to stop playing!!

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How are you holding your arm? I ask because if you are eating your arm a certain way it might be aggravating this. I’d see a different doctor that knows something.

What do you do with your hands the rest of the day?

That hand mostly operates a computer mouse throughout most of the days.

When I play I try to hold my arm in a way (rather high) that allows my wrist to be fairly relaxed and straight.

I also started using thinner strings to lower the tension, but I am not sure it has any effect on plucking hand.
I even started thinking about short scale, but again, while this would be easier for a fretting hand, I am not convinced it would help with plucking.

Playing softly is a great way to go. Hopefully, it won’t aggravate your finger pain, plus it will train you to have great control of dynamics. If/when your finger pain issue is resolved, you can always dig in more as the situation requires.

I don’t know if you’re using Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen, but they might help. Good luck and try to keep playing.

Have you tried using a pick? Better option to me than not playing.

I have arthritis. I have good luck using T-Relief, which is an herbal remedy my orthopedist recommended.

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Repetitive strain injury from using a computer mouse is pretty common. I had issues with it years ago. Switched to a trackball and the problem disappeared.

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I was literally researching trackballs this morning. Which one are you using?
My wife uses Logitech ERGO M575 (the ball is operated by the thumb) and that type of trackball does not really help in relation to index/middle finger.

I use that on one of my computers. At work I use an ergo mouse and they really help too once you get used to them. I used to have CT but bothers me no more since I switched my mouse at work

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I use MX Master 3s which is something between normal mouse and vertical mouse.
But again, this does not change how you use index and middle finger (at least to my understanding). :man_shrugging:

No different than a trackball, you still use the index finger to click. Having the wrist vertical is a more natural position they say

It did relieve the carpals for me. YMMV

Those are you “clickety fingers” on a mouse.
Do you have a wrist gel pad when using your mouse?
If not, get one, made a world of difference to me.
I also use a vertical mouse, Logitech I think.

The most important thing while using a computer mouse: Don’t hover your hand above it while you are reading something. Let go of the mouse, only put your hand on it when you really use it to point somewhere and click something.

I used a Kensington Expert - the one with a big black ball in the center. I’ve gone back to a regular mouse because my mouse use has dropped drastically. I spent many years with my hand on a mouse of some type for 10-12 hours a day. The trackball takes a little getting used to, but it’s better than a mouse once you get the hang. I’ve been thinking about going back.

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I’ve used a Kensington Expert trackball for over 20 years. Can’t stand using a mouse. The left click for this trackball is done with your thumb. The index and middle fingers rotate the big ball.

I have used this trackball for everything from word processor to creating all types of graphics, animation and video editing. I wouldn’t give it up for all the money in the world.

Sounds very familiar.

Looks like a good recommendation.
I can see that there is now also a Slimblade version of it…
I need to order one of them and test it. I wonder how hard it is to switch with the right/left click.

Yeah, for now, it is easier said than done. I keep my hand there unconsciously. Decades of habit creation :slight_smile:

The Expert trackball is more comfortable than the Slimblade. The big ball makes a huge difference.

Also, it comes with KensingtonWorks software that allows you to assign the four buttons to function however you choose. It’s a true ambidextrous trackball.