Finger Joint Surgery

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Geetar
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 10/11/2009 5:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had osteo arthritis for a few years in my fingers with very pronounced Heberdon's nodes and severe pain and constant inflammation in my left hand ring finger.  This is particularly a problem because I am a fairly serious guitar player. One hand specialist Ortho told me to stop playing guitar which is not an option. He gave me a cortisone shot which helped immensely for a couple of months so when it started hurting again I went back for another and he said I could not keep getting shots or it would cause damage and make things worse. I still got the second shot and it did not help. I am in severe pain most all of the time although Celebrex and Voltaren gel help a bit. I am learning to play guitar without using that finger although it is difficult not to end up using it some.
 
Two hand specialist orthos and one rheumy have told me that, while there is finger joint surgery, it is not very effective and could cause me to lose use of the finger--it is mainly to relieve pain. Since I am only 48 they seem to think it is not a good option but I can't go on this way so I am thinking about surgery. My finger is pretty useless anyway.
 
I welcome any input and have 2 questions:
 
1. Has anyone ever had surgery to replace finger joints and, if so, what were the results?
 
2. Does anyone know of a surgeon who specializes in musicians hands? I can' be the first. I am willing to travel if I can find the right doc.
 
Thanks in advance for answers or any insight.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/11/2009 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Geetar, I like your user name. Hello and welcome to HealingWell and I am Kitt. I do not have a lot of personal info for you but I did do a bit of research and thought this site may be a place for you to start.

I have severe osteo in the the base joint of my R thumb and was scheduled for surgery 3 years ago but as a nurse I am still trying to decided when to have this done. I came down with pneumonia 2 days before my scheduled surgery.

Here is the link:

http://www.sciandmed.com/mppa/journalviewer.aspx?issue=1083&article=933

I wish you the best and please do let us know how you are doing.

Health and Happiness,

Kitt

Geetar
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 10/13/2009 11:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks fir the information Kitt. I will check it out.

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22020
   Posted 10/15/2009 8:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I am not looking into the joint surgery but I just wanted to comment that you are not alone. Almost my entire life I was a typist and in fact I even worked as a data entry clerk for a while, but because of my hands I had to give up typing as a source of income because my fingers now just can't handle the extra usage. I have the nodes too but luckily they are not that large. I have OA in my pointer, middle and ring finger of my right hand and OA in the pointer of my left. I have also got the cortisone injections but fortunately they seem to work for me. I was told the same thing that having repetitive injections can actually weaken the tendons in the finger if given for long term.

I also wanted to let you know of a few tips that I have found that seems to help. I have a parrafin wax machine. I dip my hands in the wax whenever the pain is acting up. The moist heat really does help. This is a short term relief but it can help. When I go to bed, I put my hands in an arthritis glove. The heat from the glove helps the joints as well as keeps some of the swelling down. I sometimes even wears the gloves during the day.

OA pain can be quite terrible so I hope you find some relief soon.


 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**IBS~Allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~Epidural injections (2 series of 3), OA-Celebrex, Tylonel Arthritis and Voltaren Gel
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Geetar
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 10/15/2009 7:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the reply Red. I do have a parafin wax machine and it does help, at least temporarily. I had not heard of an arthritis glove so I will check that out.
 
Based on the responses here, I think I will look into another cortizone shot. It has been a few years so maybe it will be something I can do. It really helped the first time.
 
Anyway it seems like surgery on the finger joints is pretty rare.
 
Thanks again and I hope you feel better. OA is awfully painful.

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22020
   Posted 10/16/2009 7:02 AM (GMT -6)   
I forgot where I got my gloves but I also found this website that I think I may order a pair of gloves for my Raynaud's. Most arthritis gloves are open fingered so you would even be able to wear them when you play the guitar.

http://www.therapygloves.com/store/product.php?productid=2
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**IBS~Allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~Epidural injections (2 series of 3), OA-Celebrex, Tylonel Arthritis and Voltaren Gel
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


Zazucat
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 176
   Posted 10/20/2009 11:22 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Geetar,

I don't normally post on this forum, but I saw your post and wanted to help out. I'm an occupational therapist specializing in hand therapy, and as a student I did some clinical work with musicians with hand injuries. Your experience isn't uncommon, and there are indeed resources for musicians. I don't know where you live, but many major cities have doctors/specialty centers that will treat performing artists- a great resource is the Performing Arts Medicine Association (www.artsmed.org). Also there is a book geared toward musicians, "Playing Less Hurt", that lists resources for musicians. You'll want to find an orthopedic surgeon experienced in performing arts medicine, and, just as importantly, a hand therapy clinic skilled in the treatment of musicians. You'll be going to occupational therapy for 4-8 weeks and likely wearing a splint for part of that time.

Finger joint replacements are not that unusual. The recovery time can be a couple of months, and you will have to take a break from guitar playing for a time. I'm not an expert on outcomes- you'd need to ask a surgeon who has done many- but I think they vary. You have a younger age and I'm assuming relatively good health on your side.

Cortisone shots are short-term solutions and may lead to breakdown of joints and tissues with repeated injections. Again, I'm not an expert so take this all with a grain of salt and ask your doctor. But I hope this helps a bit. Good luck!


Geetar
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 10/21/2009 6:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Zazucat, Thanks so much for taking the time to write that response. It is very helpful. I will look at those resources and further explore the surgery option. I am willing to take a break from playing if I can get my finger healed. I have done physical therapy with a hand specialist which helped but I am in too bad of shape for just that whuch is why I am considering surgery. So thanks again and I will report back.

Geetar
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 11/17/2009 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Zazucat, Thanks again for taking the time to write that response. Met with the surgeon today and he says I am a good candidate so I am going to research a bit more and discuss with my wife but it looks like I am going to go forward with the surgery. My finger just hurts way too much to live this way and surgeon says the technology has greatly improved. I will try to post updates occasionally.

Geetar
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 12/5/2009 11:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Having joint replacement surgery this week.  Doctor recommended pyrocarbon but insurance company will only cover silastic which doctor says will not last as long. The insurance company will not even let me pay the difference (if I could). Anyway, I cannot take the pain any more so I am going for it.

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22020
   Posted 12/7/2009 7:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Good luck and please let us know if this works for you.
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(6 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**~Allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~Epidural injections (2 series of 3), OA-Tylonel Arthritis
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


Geetar
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 12/21/2009 9:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Well the surgery got cancelled due to insurance issues. Hopefully I can get those resolved as the pain is severe.

Judy2
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 9361
   Posted 12/22/2009 3:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry to hear you're having to continue to suffer, Geetar. Isn't it ironic that some insurance clerk with no medical training often gets to be the one who decides what medical care we need?

Hope you can get the situation resolved soon.

Ricey
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/21/2012 6:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Geetar, How did it go...did insurance pony up? I am having a similar problem with my fretting hand ring finger.

willie70
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/7/2013 11:25 PM (GMT -6)   
geetar


I have the same problem with my ring finger. A lot of pain and swelling. I almost lost that finger stepping
down from the wheel well door for a DC-10. Hooked on a bolt. Anyway, my Rheumatoid arthritis doctor
prescribed "Diflunisal" . This a anti-infammitory medications. (Generic) It also helps with the pain

Ricey
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/2/2013 10:30 PM (GMT -6)   
If you can hold out a bit longer for these to become available in the U.S. they both look promising:
 
 
 
 

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/6/2013 1:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Ricey,
 
The last time Geetar posted was 10/10/2010.  I looked at your links and it may be a long time before these products are approved for the USA as they will have to go through testing in the USA.
 
I did find the links interesting.  Thank you for sharing.
 
Kitt
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.



"The wind blows, the sun rises, the snow falls and the ocean relentlessly pounds the shore. Life rolls on with fresh new possibilities at every turn."

gch
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/7/2014 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi geetar,

I'm very much like you, ex pro guitar player with Heberdens in the first two fingers of both hands. Haven't played for a year now and it's breaking my heart. Have had the cortisone injections but the fingers have given up now. Seeing a consultant surgeon in a couple of months to discuss my options. I really want joint replacements but am at the mercy of the UK health system and budgets.
FYI info Flexiseq doesn't work. The cartilage is destroyed so it can't lubricate the joint.
I know you posted in 2010, just wondered how you got on, as I've just come across this now?
Hope you have had some success and still playing
All the best
Graham
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