Dupuytren's Disease and Trigger Fingers

I am battling problems with my left (fretting) hand. In 2016 I injured my left hand middle finger in a fall and it develop a trigger finger. I tried to treat in conservatively but in 2019 I had to have a surgery to fix it. It worked but never felt quite right. I could feel a bit of a pinch now and then. Now I am developing Dupuytren's disease in that finger although there is no contracture yet, meaning the finger is not being pulled down, but there is a very visible cord in my palm. In addition, I have trigger fingers in my ring and pinky fingers. The Dupuytren's was diagnosed last week, which was devastating news, but I've been struggling with the trigger fingers since October 2023. I've been trying physical therapy but it hasn't been helping so I'm going for a cortisone injection next week. If anyone has experience with either of these conditions I'd love to hear your story and maybe a bit of hope. Playing has been very difficult and learning the repertoire I'd like to play is on hold since I can only play very simple pieces. 

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    • Ian Child
    • Ian_Child
    • 2 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Sorry to hear that. I have Dupuytren's in both hands, the disease does not progress at the same rate in the hands. I had the operation to release the cord in my right hand about 5 years ago and it's been perfect since then. I have also found that it has not progressed in my left hand and i put that down to the daily guitar practice. The cord is very visible in my left hand but i can still flatten the hand without pain. So all is not lost 🙂

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
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      Ian Child Thanks for your reply Ian. I'm sorry to hear you have to deal with this as well. I'm also able to flatten my hand without pain but somtimes I have a pinch or a sharp stab right around the cord where it intersects with my previous trigger finger surgery on the middle finger. It could be that scar tissue and the cord are hitting each other. Idk I'll have to keep discussing with my surgeon. I'm glad to hear the surgery to release the cord went well. My surgeon wants to do the same eventually. It just scares me and I'd like to maybe get NA (needle aponeurotomy) first to see if that works. Did you ever consider that instead of the surgery?

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      • Ian Child
      • Ian_Child
      • 2 wk ago
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      Debbie yes I did speak to the surgeon about the NA approach but she advised me that it had a poor success rate in the long term as the dreaded Celtic Claw comes back. Apparently the only permanent fix is the surgery. It's probably only necessary if you can't lay your fingers down flat. Its quite a vicious op though, about 6 months to full recovery

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
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      Ian Child wow six months is awful. That would be a long time for me because I make my living on the guitar. As long as my hand is working I will wait! Thanks for the info!

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    • Low
    • Low
    • 2 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    I had trigger finger of the right middle finger which would be sore and get stuck making playing problematic. After a steroid injection last year, the trigger finger went back to normal after 2 weeks which was great. However it is coming back again this year and I may need another injection if it  gets worse. I’m trying to avoid surgery for as long as possible. Hope this helps you 

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
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      Low Thanks Low. I had trigger finger release surgery on my left middle finger in 2019. I think the surgery may have caused some scar tissue or did some nerve damage so I would advise being very careful with that. Make sure you have a great hand surgeon. I'm sorry to hear it has come back. I know it is very distressing for us as guitar players. 

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      • Low
      • Low
      • 2 wk ago
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      Debbie Thanks for your advice. Hope you get better.

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
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      Low thanks. It definitely sucks.

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  • Hi Debbie,  I was diagnosed with Dupuytrens about 10 years ago in the chord connected to my RH pinky finger.  I opted for the needle aponeurotony treatment which did release the chord, however I later fell and broke my pinky finger which caused the dupuytren to return. Since the RH pinky does not effect my playing,  I opted to leave as is based on advice of my hand surgeon after months of physical therapy.  It has not changed in five years. One year ago,  I noticed the very beginning of a Contraction in my "m" finger of my right hand, I had NA done and it released the chord and so far so good one year later. 

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Dale Needles thanks for sharing this Dale. I’m glad to hear the NA has worked for you so far. What was the procedure like? Was there any recovery time? Or could you use your hand and play guitar right away? Do you do any other kinds of therapy or stretching, etc?

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    • Debbie The NA procedure took about 30 minutes. They numb your hand and then use these extremely tiny needles to scrape the growths around the tendon in order to release the cord. It is a little uncomfortable but not really painful. If successful, the cord is released and the finger becomes straight. I have to say that it is not perfect and the Dupuytrens can return, but that is also true of hand surgery. Recovery was very fast and I was able to get back to practicing within a few days. There was no physical therapy just some recommended stretching exercises. As I said, so far so good.  

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Dale Needles thank you Dale It helps to hear about the procedure from a fellow guitarist who’s had it. It’s true that it can come back regardless which technique is done so the least invasive would be my choice as well. I’m happy you’re doing well so far. Your story is hopeful. There’s no pulling on my finger yet but the occasional pinching discomfort when I make certain stretches on the guitar. 

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  • Sad to hear of you troubles. I have struggled with tendinitis for decades plus chondromalacia (bruising of cartilage) in my right index finger. Heat therapy has been a huge help. I wear Gerbings electric gloves for 1-2 hours before playing and it help a lot. https://www.gerbing.com/collections/battery-heated-gloves/products/gerbing-s7-mens-battery-heated-gloves-7v-battery?variant=44873734816035

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      John Mardinly hello John, thanks for the link to the gloves and for sharing your experience. I’m glad to hear they help!

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    • Mark
    • Mark.6
    • 2 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Debbie.  I had DC in the tendons of my LH ring and pinky fingers about 6 years ago.  Noticeable but not yet disabling.  I was told at the time that it could progress or it might never get any worse.  Over the course of about a year and a half, the daily stretching exercises I incorporated as part of my pre-practice warm-ups, stopped the progression completely and there has been no recurrence.  In the beginning, the LH stretch was painful, as the stretch was actually, bit by bit, breaking down the cartilage that had formed around the tendons.  But over time the pain subsided and the tendons completely recovered and I’ve had no sign of recurrence since.  Nonetheless, I continue the stretching routine daily.   Best of luck with your recovery efforts.  

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Mark 

      Hi Mark, that is very encouraging news! Mine is also visible but not yet disabling and I was told exactly the same thing. My ortho says let’s “wait and see.” Is yours no longer visible, or can you still see the cord in the palm of your hand?  Can you please share with me your stretching routine? I will definitely do it!

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    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 2 wk ago
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  • I would try Schüssler-Salz Nr.1 Calcium Fluoratum if it was my hand. I dont know if this is available in other countries. Here in Germany we have Pflüger, but it is not proofable by science. So...but it helps me with the snapping fingers, it is less since I started with the cure.

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
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      Stefanie Mosburger-Dalz interesting. I will look into it. Thank you Stefanie.

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    • Mark
    • Mark.6
    • 2 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Debbie,

      You’d never know I had DC to look at the palm of my left hand.   If I rub the tendon that leads to my little finger (where the bulk of the DC was) it feels rather hard, and there’s what looks like a small indentation in my palm about a half inch below where the finger joins the hand, which is likely where the stretching broke up the most cartilage build-up on the tendon.  But I now have, and have had for several years now, complete, unhindered and pain free mobility of the hand and fingers.  Regarding the stretching exercise, I extend my arm straight out in front of me and position the hand and fingers at 90 degrees to the arm (pointed toward the ceiling).  I then place the palm of my other hand behind the fingers and slowly pull the hand toward me.  You should feel some discomfort as that compromised tendon is forced to stretch and pull against the contracture.  I would pull until it hurt and then hold it there for about 30 seconds, release for 15 seconds, then do it again, repeating for a total of 3 reps.  You can also shift the position of the hand from right to left while continuously holding the stretch, as opposed to pointing straight up at the ceiling, as this helps to increase mobility and is great for stretching the tendons in the forearm at the same time.  Note:  after this routine I do the same exercise except on the repeat I point the hand toward the floor.   This won’t help with your DC, but it does do a good job of stretching the tendons in the forearm, which I do as a tendonitis preventative measure.  Best of luck with your recovery!

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      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Mark thank you Mark!

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