Topic: Fracture Right Arm

Am a week out from a compression fracture of the proximal right radius (just below the elbow).  Any suggestions concerning rehabilitation for a damaged oboist?  I'm scheduled for physical therapy starting in 4 days.  My biggest problems are pronation/supination (rotating my hand with the forearm & wrist straight) and lack of complete range of motion at the elbow (missing a few degrees on each end of the arc).  Tried playing oboe with a neck strap and arm in a sling 3-4 days post-injury with success except for fingerings involving right little finger.  Thanks--Heather in Oregon hmm

Re: Fracture Right Arm

Heather...you might want to consider purchasing a "Phred" from Quodlibet. This is a well made support device that fastens to the neck strap ring and supports the weight of the oboe or English horn on the front of your chair seat. The resulting playing position is more natural than using a neck strap and your healing arm will not have to bear any of the weight of the instrument. They have a web site; www.quodlibet.com.

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds

Re: Fracture Right Arm

Gene is offering a great idea.  I just saw them in the Charles Double Reed catalog today.  In that catalog it is spelled Fhred.  I'm sure your physical therapist will have suggestions as well.

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Heather -- your symptoms are very typical for a radial head/neck fracture. When therapy begins, you will work in regaining both elbow flexion/extension and rotation motions. Listen to your therapist and follow instructions -- motion may take a couple of months to get much better, but it's likely you'll resume playing without too much trouble in a couple of weeks. Keep trying to hold the instrument properly, even if the elbow feels tight or stiff (NOT painful).

Dr. Bill

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Heather -- You have my sympathy for the current difficulties  with your right arm.  Although I have never experienced your situation, I have also had difficulty with the use the right hand little finger simply because of the fact that it is relatively short.  If your facility with that finger does not improve, you might take the instrument to a repair person and have the three keys slightly repositioned.  For me, by making them slant less upward, and instead extending them further to the right (more perpendicular to the plane of the instrument), I was able to freely access them without having to move my wrist or hand position.  Experimenting with an adjustablethumb rest might also produce a more functional hand position for you.  I also found that various instrument models vary greatly in how ergononicallly they suit my hand.   
Good luck.
Chester

Last edited by chester (2006-08-18 09:54:49)

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Thanks to all for your suggestions.  I'll take a look at Fhred/Phred and of course pay attention to the physical therapist.  Her daughter trained on oboe and flute in college--perhaps she'll be a little more aware of the mechanics involved in playing.

Re: Fracture Right Arm

I use the Fhred all the time for both oboe and English horn.  I have had problems for years with my right thumb where it joins my hand, and nothing worked for me except the Fhred.  I would not be able to play without it, the pain was just too great.  It takes ALL the weight of the oboe off your right hand, and once you get used to it, you sacrifice very little in terms of mobility (with the very important exception of cueing.  If anybody has figured out how to cue while using a Fhred, PLEASE let me know!)

Darlene

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Well...there is another support device that is supposed to allow cueing. It is the "MUTTS" made by Michael Benthin. I haven't used it but you might want to take a look at it. I think Michael is a Forum user but a search of users didn't turn him up. I may have spelled his name incorrectly.

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds

Re: Fracture Right Arm

I've heard of the MUTTS but never saw one.  If anyone has more info, I'd be interested to know--

Darlene

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

I have a MUTTS (Michael's Ultimate Thumb Saver) and I like it very much. It's well balanced. The last address I have for Michael is: benthin@prodigy.net

Sydney

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Thanks!  I will try to contact him for more info.  As I said, I love the Fhred, but I can't cue with it, and standing up to play is awkward too, although not impossible....

Darlene

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Cueing is easy with the MUTTS, but standing isn't. There is a belt attachment but I've never even tried to use it. I use the MUTTS for practicing and for playing chamber music and orchestral pieces that don't have many rests.

Sydney

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Heather in Oregon,

I would strongly recommend the MUTS. It is liberating. As good for the thumb/wrist connection soreness (carpal?) as for your situation with the arm. You won't be disappointed. Tell him why you  need it; he makes each one to individual specs.

Michael Benthin can be reached by phone at 1-609-737-3867
email: benthin@prodigy.net

Best for a speedy recovery,

john

Best,

john

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Re: Fracture Right Arm

Just reviewing my old posting to close the story. . .I did purchase a Fhred and found it worked well for the right arm rehabilitation.  It also took on a second life as an occasion English horn support (I'd bought the XL Fhred because I play with my oboe raised.  After-the-fact I discovered that it's almost long enough to work with the EH--just took sitting on a couple of telephone books). 

I did follow the exercise routine prescribed by the physical therapist (which was primarily weight training to build up the supporting muscles around the elbow joint)--it took about 6 weeks to make a close to 100% recovery.  I'm back to playing without the Fhred.  It was comfortable, but agree with the comment that it's somewhat constricting for a player who likes to move around a bit while playing.

Thanks for all the suggestions.  Hope this thread stays around for the next clumsy musician cool

Last edited by Heather Tyreman (2006-12-28 09:10:52)