Topic: osteoarthritis in thumb

Hello. I play the bassoon but have found playing certain notes increasingly painful because of osteoarthritis in the right thumb. B flat is OK, but F sharp is not fun at all, and there are only so many times I can substitute the alternate fingering. The pancake key is no fun either. If anyone has any tips on how to reduce the stress on the thumb (but still play the bassoon!), I would appreciate it. Thanks

Share

Re: osteoarthritis in thumb

If you use a handrest maybe the base could be moved to ease the pain or you could try an Ergo Post - bassoonergopost.com - which is more adjustable than a normal fixed base.

Re: osteoarthritis in thumb

Using a hand rest (crutch) places the palm farther away from the instrument - a good thing that allows easier reach of thumb to the pancake and F# keys. However, a small hand usually finds the rest a nuisance for the same reason - keeping the thumb too far away from the keys. 

Have you seen a hand therapist for exercises to possibly increase the comfortable opposition range of the thumb? It may help, as might an overnight splint that holds the thumb away (opposed) to the fingers.

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"

Share

Re: osteoarthritis in thumb

I am an adult amateur bassoonist (69 years old) with recently developed arthritis isolated to both thumb joints.  I have gotten significant relief from 2 natural supplements - Xyflamend and Turmeric.  Like many, I am reluctant to seek treatment in the form of strong anti-inflammatory products by prescription and am very pleased that these 2 products enable me to play relatively pain-free now.  A hand crutch helps too.  Good luck.

Share

Re: osteoarthritis in thumb

I've found that my arthritis pain diminishes a lot when I avoid eating refined carbohydrates (sugar and flour).

"There are 2 means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" - Albert Schweitzer

Share