Injury - can someone help? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

Hi, this is a great board. I was wondering if any of you could help me. Yesterday I did something to my left 4th finger (ringfinger). I don't know exactly what I did, but I sprained the top part of my finger, meaning I can't press on it, it's incredibly painful and also that means I can't play piano. Thing is I'm in the middel of practicing hard for upcoming auditions and a competition so it's quite bad. Do any of you have any suggestions or ways that could help me? I would really appreciate that. I don't think my finger's broken but I think it's just sprained badly. Will it go away do you think? Thanks very much.

-- Katie (, March 21, 2001


It's hard to give a definitive answer just based on what you've written (without seeing the finger, etc.) but here are some ideas you could think about:

1. DON'T play on it if it hurts (especially if it is "incredibly painful"). That's a strong signal that your injury needs rest and recovery. Keep off the injury. You might have to give up the current auditions/competitions but that is a relatively small thing to give up in comparison to the possibility of continually re-injuring the finger, which could lead to more serious (even permanent) injuries.

2. Another thing to consider, is that even if the injury is quite superficial, the pain it is causing will make you tense up and compensate by using your hand/arm in different and unusual ways. This can easily cause secondary injuries. So this is another good reason to keep off the finger until it's quite healed.

3. Visit a doctor to verify what the problem is and to make sure it doesn't require more serious treatment than simply rest. If you're serious about playing the piano you should treat your "playing equipment" as important and valuable--just have it checked out by a good doctor.

4. If you feel the urge to practice while its healing up:

A. Practice with your right hand alone a lot (memorize everything in your repertoire RH alone--an amazingly useful and helpful thing to do).

B. Practice mentally a lot (visualize yourself playing, auralize the sound you are producing, etc.)

C. Play RH alone and sing LH part.

D. Practice & play the LH part with your "good" hand. Even memorize it this way (again this doesn't seem like it would help, but you'll be surprised how much it does).

4. You can try cold soaks for the affected finger/hand (but PLEASE ask the doctor about this when you see him/her). Cold soaks (cold water, maybe with ice cubes) several times a day might help bring down swelling and promote circulation in your hand/fingers (one reason fingers heal slowly is the circulation isn't that good way out there). When your finger starts feeling better (not swollen or inflamed) you could try hot soaks (hot water) or alternating hot and cold soaks.

5. When it is time to start practicing with that hand again (which might be in days, weeks, or months, depending . . . ) TAKE IT EASY! Start out with just a few minutes of practicing, then rest it. Then GRADUALLY add a minute or two more practicing at a session, taking frequent breaks, until over a period of a few weeks you gradually work back to your old practice routine.

Again, ask your Dr. about all this--a lot depends on your particular particular injury and other individual factors.

Hope this helps! Many of us have learned the hard way the playing through pain is a very, very bad idea. Take good care of your most important musical instrument--yourself!

-- Brent Hugh (, March 22, 2001.

Thank you very much Mr Hugh! The advice you gave me will certainly help. I think it will take a few days for it to recover, it's already feeling better than yesterday but still hurts when I try to play so I am going to rest it like you said. Thanks again, it's much appreciated!

-- Katie (, March 22, 2001.

Hi. I want to echo Brent's #5, because I have a friend who injured her hand and jumped into playing too hard repertoire too soon again, and it has gotten even worse. So go slow and wait as long as it takes. Don't play through any pain when you start playing again. If it starts to hurt even a little, stop! Hope it feels better soon!

-- Julie2 (, March 23, 2001.

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