Consider the hundreds of hours someone like Itzhak Perlman or Billy Joel has spent practicing and playing their instruments over the years. It’s no wonder many athletes and musicians insure their hands from injury in order to protect their livelihood. Regardless of whether you are a professional, play in a high school band, or just for fun, pay attention to these 7 common hand injuries in musicians.
When the tendons in the hands become inflamed from overuse or repetitive motion, a musician can suffer from tendonitis. This condition causes severe pain and makes it virtually impossible to play any instrument using the hand. One common type is known as de Quervain’s Disease which inflames the base of the thumb.
If not treated properly, it can lead to a chronic problem and irreversible damage.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
You don’t have to be a professional performer to have carpal tunnel syndrome. It can afflict young musicians just beginning to practice and play their instrument. Common among percussionists, carpal tunnel syndrome causes tingling and numbness along with weakness in the affected hand. If the median nerve becomes compressed or pinched, it causes the tendons around the nerve to swell with the result being the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Trigger finger is also known as stenosing tenosynovitis. When inflammation narrows the space between the cover or sheath of a tendon in a finger, the finger can get locked into position. When stuck in a bent position, it makes a snapping or clicking sound when straightened. With musicians, it is usually caused by prolonged and forceful gripping of an instrument.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
This condition causes numbness of the hand or arm, an aching limb, or discoloration of the hand. This can be caused by playing a string instrument like the viola or violin. When the blood vessels or nerves between your collarbone and first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed, it results in shoulder and neck pain, and numbness within the fingers.
This particular condition is quite common in older individuals and can cause severe pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion and strength of the thumb. For musicians, thumb arthritis can easily prevent them from pinching or grasping certain instruments.
This condition causes numbness and swelling in the fingers during and shortly after playing an instrument. If caused by an infection, it can be an emergency situation that needs to be treated immediately by a hand surgery specialist.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Often confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, the pain from cubital tunnel syndrome is usually centered on the inside of the elbow. A tingling sensation is often reported by patients when their elbow is bent. Many musicians who must keep their elbows in a bent position can suffer from this condition.
Contact Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas for a proper diagnosis if you experience any of these symptoms, even if you are not a musician.