Watch 2019 JRAD Videos

Finger/Thumb DIP joint advice

Mandopicker

new member
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
6
Age
63
Gender
Male
Country
United States United States
Hello!
I'm a semi-professional musician who plays guitar, mandolin and steel guitar. I'm 63, and I've been having problems with osteoarthritis for about 12 years now. Over the past couple of months, the DIP joint in my right index finger has become increasingly painful. I went to a hand specialist, and after X-rays, was told that I have almost no cartilage left in the joint, as well as several bone spurs. I was given a steroid shot in the joint, which had no effect. I have been taking Meloxicam for arthritis pain for several years, and it has helped, but not with this, so my doctor prescribed a generic Celebrex. I've been taking that for 2 months, and it hasn't helped. I also started using a prescription topical anti-inflammatory a couple of weeks after starting the other medication, also without any positive results.
I'm at the point where I can't play the guitar or mandolin with the flat pick for more than a hour or so before it gets so painful that I have trouble even holding the pick, and then it hurts for a couple of days.
So...I have no intention of giving up playing, and I'm trying to figure out what the best course of action is. I'm working on a couple of strategies that involve changing the way I hold the pick, using my middle finger to brace my index finger(middle finger is not in much better shape), etc, but it's not helping much so far.
I've been doing research, and I've concluded that joint replacement is not an option. My hand doctor has suggested joint fusion, and tells me that the joint can be positioned and fused so that I can hold the flat pick in the manner I'm used to. I find this pretty terrifying also, and have heard some stories about this kind of fusion failing because the joint is so small. I don't know of any other alternatives.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

Jaycey

FORUM ADMINISTRATOR
Administrator
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
31,476
Location
Yorkshire
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
@Mandopicker Welcome to BoneSmart! Such a challenge for you! Sorry you are dealing with this. I think you are our first member with DIP joint issues. I'm sure our members will be along soon to comment.
 
OP
OP
M

Mandopicker

new member
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
6
Age
63
Gender
Male
Country
United States United States
Thanks Jaycey! I've asked the same kind of question on several guitar and mandolin forums, and haven't heard from anyone with kind of issue. I guess it is rare.
 

Jamie

ADMINISTRATOR
Senior Administrator
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
59,806
Age
71
Location
Kansas
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Hi, @Mandopicker. Welcome to BoneSmart. I'm glad you found us and decided to join. You're right that, compared to hip and knee issues, there are fewer people out on the internet talking about hand problems like yours. We are slowly building that community here, though.

I would suggest you take time to read the threads here posted by people who have had finger joint problems or surgery. Here's a link for you. You can search for threads with the "Finger/Thumb" prefix by clicking on any prefix on a thread in the list on the "Other Joints" index page.

I'm curious....why have you ruled out having the joint replaced? Before you make a final decision, I suggest you get at least 2 more opinions on your options. Then you can be relatively sure that your choice is the best one. You want to be sure whoever you see is an experienced orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hands. You want to be sure that any second opinion comes from someone not associated at all with your current surgeon. This could be a problem in Missoula, MT and you might need to travel to Helena or Butte for a truly independent opinion.
 
OP
OP
M

Mandopicker

new member
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
6
Age
63
Gender
Male
Country
United States United States
Jamie- Thanks for your response. I have been looking through all the threads having to do with finger and thumb problems, and getting a lot of good info.
I've read that a DIP joint replacement can be fragile, due to the small area of the joint, and can get loose with time. I worry that continued use of a flatpick would be too much for a replacement. I haven't yet seen an orthopedic surgeon, so I guess I should at this point. Missoula is the regional center for medicine in this half of the state, so getting other opinions won't be a problem.
 

Jamie

ADMINISTRATOR
Senior Administrator
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
59,806
Age
71
Location
Kansas
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Oh gosh....you're right. You definitely need to talk with a hand surgeon. I just made the assumption that your "hand doctor" was a surgeon. You really need 2-3 independent opinions from hand surgeons who see these cases all the time.

It is possible to go from a joint replacement to a fusion, so normally the fusion would be done if a joint replacement didn't work. Obviously you want the most mobility possible.

Interesting thing about Celebrex. I've used it for years for arthritis and muscle pain....not steady...I take it primarily when I'm hurting for a few weeks, then go off it. But....I tried the generic twice and it never worked for me at all. On the other hand, the brand name Celebrex, although much more expensive to take, does work. So that might be something you want to look into.
 
OP
OP
M

Mandopicker

new member
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
6
Age
63
Gender
Male
Country
United States United States
This just became a problem about 2 months ago, so the guy I've seen, and the one cortisone shot were as far as I got before everything shut down. I imagine that it'll be a few months before i can make an appointment.
 

Jamie

ADMINISTRATOR
Senior Administrator
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
59,806
Age
71
Location
Kansas
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
That's probably true. You might be able to get a prescription for brand name Celebrex by phone to your GP or the hand doctor you've been seeing, though, if you want to try it. Depending on your insurance, it can be a bit expensive.
 
OP
OP
M

Mandopicker

new member
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
6
Age
63
Gender
Male
Country
United States United States
Expensive drugs will have to wait. I have no income at the moment...
 

Jamie

ADMINISTRATOR
Senior Administrator
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
59,806
Age
71
Location
Kansas
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Oh....so very sorry for you. I hope that situation improves for you soon.
 

New

Active Antibacterial

BoneSmart #1 Best Blog

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
51,063
Messages
1,375,974
BoneSmarties
32,009
Latest member
Frstgrl
Recent bookmarks
0

Top Bottom