Wow. I can sure relate to both of your reasons for developing osteo in your fingers. Besides the playing the piano for 50 years, I did a LOT of fast typing as a legal secretary many years ago. I guess the finger cartilage just wore out and dissolved, leading to the bone on bone situation.
In the 2 years since I posted above, I have found a couple things that have helped me. (BTW, the S7 didn't help, and neither did a joint formula with hyaluronic acid in it. HA caused my tinnitus to be much worse for some reason, so I had to stop.) I do take glucosamine daily, though, and even though my orthopedist said it wouldn't help, I think it does somewhat.
As it turned out, God had other plans for me. The signature of the poster above (Caprice) turned out to be very true in my case: We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell I sorrowfully resigned from the church where I had been serving and just sat in the pew. It felt really strange. But about a month later, through God's leading, I began playing for a smaller church that needed me, and they had a less demanding music program. We have a Yamaha Clavinova CVP-505 and I have it on the softest touch setting. This is doable for me.
The church is so loving and kind. Most people know about the osteo, so they are careful when shaking my hand to not squeeze my fingers, and I truly appreciate this. I have let out a yelp of pain when some well-meaning person grips my hand with force, crunching my knuckles together, so I try to always carry something in my hands (Bible, purse, music books) so I can just smile and say hello.
With less stress on my hands, my osteo pain has subsided significantly, and I am able to play octaves again without pain, if I don't overdo it. I also found BioFreeze (cheapest on amazon) to be the best pain relief for me. I have the pump at home and carry the towelettes in my purse for musical emergencies when I am on the go. It has a very strong odor, but the relief is a blessing!
I do a lot of typing for my fibromyalgia/CFS website and newsletter, but today's computer keyboards are not as stressful on the fingers compared to the IBM selectric typewriter when I was a legal secretary years ago. My mother (91) still has a big black typewriter with two bells at the top and you have to depress the keys about 2 inches to make the key strike the paper! I think her generation got osteoarthritis in the fingers from this and also the hobbies back then were excessive knitting and crocheting, and overuse of the fingers led to cartilage deterioration in the joints and osteo.
My fingers are getting worse (I am now 61), but I am so thankful that I can still play the piano and teach. I am phasing out my guitar students, though, because that is really hard on the joints, and I can no longer can play my autoharp. So I'll go as long as I can musically, but with trust in God, I will be open to His next step.
I have been asked many times to record my piano music, and I think I better do this soon while my skills are still good.View Thread
I just bought a bottle of Synthovial 7 (hyaluronic acid) - a joint moisturizer. Took first dropperful this morning. Will give it a 30 day try. Of course, without any cartilage in right pinkie, there is nothing left to moisturize, but perhaps S7 will save some of the other fingers. Playing the piano is my livelihood, so I have to pull out all the stops to stay functional.View Thread
I just found an even better solution for playing the piano despite my right pinkie having no cartilage (osteoarthritis). Yesteday I bought 2 kinds of tape at Wal-Mart in the bandaid aisle. One is flesh colored and slightly spongy. The other is white athletic tape. I put non-stick gauze around my finger first, then wrap the spongy sticky tape around a few times, then wrap the whole with white athletic sticky tape. This morning I played the Yamaha grand piano at church with minimal pain - I try not to play forte anymore with my RH pinkie if I can avoid it. I try to adapt my playing to using just the 4 other fingers - when at all possible. At the piano school where I teach, I use a Yamaha Clavinova digital, and at home I have a Roland KR-107, which I chose because of the light touch of the keys, since I also have fibromyalgia www.fms-help.com. So far, so good! I have another finger going, so might need to start wrapping that one too. But caution: Don't wrap so tight that it cuts off circulation to the tip of the finger. I dearly miss the flexible action of my pinkie, but at least I can keep playing without excruciating pain.View Thread
I think I found a solution! I cut some non-stick gauze into 1"x4" strips and wrapped it around my pinky with the bad joint. I put 2 thick, flat toothpicks (broken into 1" pieces) on the side of my finger, and then had my husband help me wrap a bandaid tightly around the whole thing. I just practiced my church music for tomorrow, and if I don't play too hard (forte), I can use the pinky, but I am sparing it and trying to use just the 4 fingers. I once saw a youtube video of a young lady born with 2 fingers on each hand. She plays concerts (and not pity concerts), so if she can manage that, I think I can figure out a way to play acceptably. I have to be very careful with octaves, especially on choir music accompaniment, knowing that this joint has no cartilage and I have another bad finger as well. Someone really should come up with nice finger supports for us pianists with osteoarthritis!View Thread
I have exactly the same situation with the pinkie of my right hand, and also another joint on the middle finger. I am 59 and have played the piano for 47 years. I have been a church pianist for 26 years and teach piano at a school of music www.fms-help.com/students.htm. A few days ago, I went to a well-reputed Orthopedic Clinic in our area and the doctor put a shot of cortisone into the pinkie joint. I was so hopeful that would work, but 5 days later, it is still the same - maybe worse. The doctor said no cartilage is left - it's just "bone on bone." The same deterioration is happening to my middle finger as well. The osteoarthritis is painful when I play. The pinkie became damaged through playing octaves so much in church accompaniment music. Meds and supplements that used to help my osteo no longer do. I am deeply saddened to think I will have to give up public performance of piano after all these years, especially since I serve my church. My husband and I tried to devise a taping system or splint for my worse finger, but can't seem to come up with anything. I found another site talking about finger splints, but they are not useful for musicians because they hinder mobility. My doc said they don't do joint replacements on musicians, because they never get the needed mobility back. I am now wondering about a joint fusion and if it would help. Does anyone have a solution for pianists whose fingers, through wear and tear, have developed osteoarthritis? Playing the piano with deteriorating joints is very painful. I also play the organ and might be able to continue that, as there is not much pressure needed, however the joints have to twist in order to make the music sound smooth, since there is no sustain pedal on an organ, as on a piano to connect sounds. This twisting of the joints can't be a good idea either. I am heartsick over giving up my job at church. I might be able to play an occasional offertory, but no more accompanying the choir and orchestra, playing for weekly rehearsals, 3 services, etc.View Thread