Osteoarthritis is a common condition which affects the joints, most commonly the hips, knees or hands. It typically affects the DIP and PIP joint of the fingers and the CMC (base joint) of the thumb, making them feel painful and stiff. It is a medical condition, caused by wearing down of cartilage and joint inflammation.
Penelope Roskell gives advice here about injury prevention and recovery.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by the compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel (in the underside of the wrist when in playing position). There are various reasons why this might happen: for instance, inflammation of the tendons or tendon sheath within the confined space of the carpal tunnel can lead to compression of the nerve.
Focal dystonia (also known as Task-specific dystonia or Musicians’ dystonia) is a distressing condition in which the hand experiences involuntary muscle spasm leading to abnormal movements. Typical symptoms in pianists are involuntary movements of the fingers (either curling under the hand or sticking up in the air) and tremor. This can occur in one or more fingers. It usually tends to affect more advanced players, professional or amateur.
‘Tennis elbow’ is a condition in which the outer edge of the elbow, just below the elbow joint, becomes tender or painful. The pain may also spread down the forearm and into the hand. Because of the frequent occurrence in tennis players, it is commonly known as tennis elbow, although people in other professions, including keyboard players and computer users are also affected.
There are various kinds of thumb pain which can affect pianists and other keyboard players. In this page I focus on Tenosynovitis (also known as De Quervain’s tendinopathy or tendinitis of the thumb). Some of the exercises described here may also be of benefit for pianists with other conditions caused by stresses on the thumb tissue.
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