Guitar injury...?

This is probably one for a doctor really, but since getting an appointment in England is near impossible at the moment unless you’re half-dead, I thought I’d ask in case there are any physicians out there. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve been doing a lot of guitar recently. Not overdoing it per se, but certainly putting the hours in. For a couple of days I was focusing on scales, and trying to get them faster and faster. I woke up on the third day, stretched, and when I flexed my hand I felt and heard a “crunch” from a joint in my little (pinky) finger on my left hand, one up from the knuckle. Note that it is not the usual “crack” you get when clicking your joints… it’s a definite crunch.

Since then the same joint periodically “crunches” numerous times per day, usually after the finger has been relatively straight for a while, and I flex it. There’s no real pain with it, just a very, very mild soreness which is barely detectable. Flexing my finger doesn’t hurt at all, and neither does poking and prodding the joint itself. Movement is unrestricted, and I can press down with the finger no problem to play guitar or whatever. The crunch feels almost like something is getting crushed between the joint, of as if the joint is out of line and grinding back into position, but this doesn’t really explain why it doesn’t happen all the time. It’s been a few days now and I did take a break from guitar, but no change yet.

It’s kind of hard to explain, but there we go. Anyone got any ideas what’s going on? Or am I destined to wait months to get an NHS appointment?

Hi Goffik,

What do you mean when you say you flexed your hand? I guess the issue is with that motion rather than playing the guitar. Just think of classical players who practice scales several hours a day for years. They get through those practice sessions without injury. If your finger doesn’t get better in a few days, I think you should see a doctor as a precaution.

Also, try to focus on using the scales rather than getting them faster and faster for the sake of it. I’ve heard Justin mention that you should increase the tempo by 2-3 BPM only when you are really comfortable with the tempo you are at.

Hi Jozsef,

I probably should have said flexed my fingers. I flexed them all at once, from fists to open hands to fists again. I do it every morning.

The motion is simply moving my finger from straight to bent, so it’s nothing unusual. But guitar is the only thing I’ve really been doing that has worked that joint recently, so that’s why I think it may be the cause.

Haha, I’m not doing it for the sake of it, I’m doing it for a reason, as Justin teaches. :wink: I’m building precision and finger speed/dexterity, in preparation to start learning some rock/metal solos from my favourite songs. I got up to about 300bpm at once point. I was comfortable and didn’t feel like I was straining myself, which is why I was surprised at this apparent “injury” the next morning.

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I think I sprained a finger trying to imagine playing at 300 bpm.

Sounds like the old “trigger finger”, where the joint is a bit swollen, and clicks, or crunches. Happened to about 8 months ago. Mine was actually pretty sore for a couple of weeks on a few fingers. I’d been getting into some gruelling finger exercises and probably over did it. Was about to seek medical advice, but it just resolved one day and never came back.
Everyone’s case is different though. Best of luck with it.

Cheers, Shane

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Thanks Shane, that’s reassuring. This was the first time I’d put intensive effort into speed exercises, so perhaps I did overdo it without realising. I’ll give it a week and see if it sorts itself out. :+1:t2:

Is it a cornflake crunch or gearbox crunch? j/k

My hands and other joints click all the time. Not crunch though. What I’ve been told the general rule for acute injuries is back off, allow to heal and use gently for a while. Gentle stretches. Once an injury becomes chronic it’s much harder to get rid of.

Not major pain but mild soreness means there’s been some kind of injury.

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Haha, it’s definitely more akin to a cornflake crunch! :grin:

I’ve avoided all speed training and pretty much anything that requires that finger over the last couple of days, and there does seem to be improvement. The soreness has pretty much gone and the crunch is reduced. Looks like I might be all good by the weekend, hopefully. :crossed_fingers:t2:

So yeah, looks like I just overdid it. I know Justin promotes time boxing when working on technique, but sometimes my determination gets the better of me and I end up plugging away for hours. Lesson learnt!

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