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So..I have a "Jersey Finger". Which has nothing to do with The Sopranos. Hyper extended the finger opening up a car door and I did not go to the doctor as soon as I should have. So given time or surgery playing certain chords is difficult and some barre chords and open tuning stuff hurts! Anybody out there ever go through this? Any other hand problems and how do you cope with it?

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I had a problem with my left index finger a few years back caused by overpracticing a particular lick. I couldn't bend my finger. I happened to work with some occupational therapists who made several recommendations to me. First, they said stop playing. So I didn't play for a month. They gave me some exercises to do to strengthen muscles involving a special putty (sort of like silly putty) and rubber bands. They also had me do heat treatments with a wax bath. They also made me a splint, but I think that made my finger stiffer when I wore it so I stopped doing that. Anyway, I think just not playing and giving my hand time to heal was the main thing. I have 95% use of this finger now with no discomfort. You know this may be an opportunity for you to learn some good slide technique in the mean time. You could put this time to good use improving your music theory or history knowlege or to actually write out some music. It wasn't any fun for me not to play for a month and I was in a band that was gigging twice a week at the time. But, the alternative was having a permanent injury and really not being able to play as well as would like if I hadn't taken the break.
Thanks David. I usually put the slide on my index finger (the injured one) and there's pain when I push down with the slide. Not playing for a month. Wow. I think seriously about it. I really appreciate your input.

Hi Ted,

Since you just bought my book, I can suggest that you work on the isolated rhythm exercises. As each new string is introduced, you'll find 2 full pages of rhythm studies that you can play without using your left hand at all (because they are open string rhythm studies.) Use a metronome, go slowly, count out loud and try to play them forwards as well as backwards. Doing this work will not only give you something to do, but it will help your chord rhythms and help your reading in general. Be sure to work with a teacher, even if it's just for a little while, so she/he can check your picking. You really want to concentrate on hitting the strings down on all the downbeats and up on all the upbeats.

I also have a hand injury and I cannot perform anymore. If you see a doctor, make sure she/he is good.

Susan Palmer
Seattle University Guitar Instructor
Author of "The Guitar Lesson Companion" - The Book, CD & Video Package for Students Taking Lessons
I hope so. It really worries me. I'm seeing either of two orthopedists in the same office next week.
I just had a knee operation and she'll be looking at the hand also. Thanks for the suggestion. Sorry about your injury.
It is going to be surgery and where are all the alternative therapies when you need them. It has gotten worse. The thing won't bend. Dm is out of the question. C isn't a piece of cake. Got to fix it.
I can relate to your sense of frustration. I've had a different hand injury for years. Pain/tenderness smack in the center of left palm (fretting hand). Not carpel tunnel. Doctors have not been able to diagnose a problem. It has improved gradually with time but still limits my playing ime to no more than 60 to 90 min at a time before I have to give it a good rest. I think it may be nerve damage but not sure how it happened. I'd be interested if anyone has experienced this and what you've done for diagnosis/treatment. I hope your "Jersey Finger" improves and pain subsides over time.
Thank you. It's so odd. I took being able to play and planning to improve my playing for years. I've even got this song I'm working on that I can't really work on. I hope you find out what's wrong. Nerve damage or whatever else it is.
In 1984 hit by a car...
shatterered my left wrist.. 2 surgeries, pins and casts for 8 months

Dropped an engine ( 350 chevy) on my right pinky

Boxer break right pinky... cats for 4 months
Ran my left index finger veritcally through a table saw.. surgery and casts
Sliced down the middle of my left midlde finger parting it in half through the the first knuckle

Gangleon the size of a golf ball removed from my right wrist.. surgery and casted for 2 months

Shattered the ball of my right shoulder and ripped the rotator cuff apart... surgery and casts for a year

Pushed my right hand into a shpoer.. ( jig broke)

Removed my right thumb at the first joint... index finger at the first joint
middle finger came off in four pieces to the middle joint... most of the bone stayed

Drove 17 miles to a hospital followed by a siren screaming CHP
he drove off when I removed the towel from my hand at the emergency entrance
receptionist fainted when I showed her the baggie full of parts on ice

All reattached.. told I would never play guitar again.. .. I am not as good as I was and won't be the pro player I was not going to be anyhow, but I still finger pick

Surgeries and casts for a year...

Those are just the highlights

Now what was that about your Carpal ( yupppie disease of the week) tunnel syndrome ??
For some reason, I cannot edit my posts , please excuse my typing
I think fast and type poorly
Oh, forgot to answer the question, " what do you do about it"

You buck up and go on with life and learn not to whine about inconsequential matters

You learn to cope.
Okay. You made your point. Sorry I brought it up. Only no matter what you went through I still can't use the finger right? I'm not a yuppie. I don't have carpal tunnel and I'm out of here.
You know. I'm impressed with your resilience and your self reliance and whatever other terms describe it. I hurt my stinking finger and I hoped someone could tell me they had a way of working with it that wouldn't involve surgery. That's all. Right! What is your problem with that exactly? Is that whining chief? I figured this was a sort of friendly place. I guess I was wrong. So. yeah. I didn't go through what you did and you haven't gone through what I've gone through which believe me is a lot more than my mentioning the finger only I figure the other stuff is private. Sorry to have offended you.


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