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Broken middle finger on my left hand :(

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by rtav, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Hey TBers,

    Yesterday I had a slip and fall outside and in a freak accident broke the low bone on my left hand middle knuckle (I'm right handed and play bass right-handedly). It's a very nasty break and I'm scheduled for surgery to set everything in two days.

    At this point I probably won't be playing for about 6 weeks. :crying:

    Anyone here have any suggestions on things I can do in the meantime to help with my recovery bass-wise? Any caveats?

    Thanks and hold down the low end!
  2. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Boy, that's a tough break. You might still be able to keep your right in shape playing 8th & 16th notes on the open strings, but other than that, I don't what else to suggest.
  3. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    So do you fret or finger with your right hand,if you fret with the right more than likely your finger is gonna be splinted in a straight position so fretting should be ok with the other fingers but it will look like your flipping the bird at everyone while you play:D
  4. sorry to hear that. In my early 20's I broke my left in half (Compound fracture and shatter my pinky knuckle) out of commission for 10 weeks so I feel for you I was crazed by the time the cast came off and it took a long time before I could use my pinky again. Good Luck.
  5. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks everyone. I'm planning on just plucking away with my right hand in open string exercises, but don't think I can do anything with my left hand until the thing has healed completely.

    At least I won't have any mileage on my strings (failing attempt at optimism).
  6. leadfingers

    leadfingers Two decades of lead guitar before finding my way. Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2009
    Greensburg, Indiana
    Sorry to hear about your finger. Never a good thing.
    One piece of advice I would pass on is to let it heal properly and don't rush it.
    I broke my ring finger on my left (fretting) hand when I was running a small heating and air company. I couldn't let it heal like it should, or didn't anyways. It ended up causing a large bump on the middle knuckle of that hand and still won't bend at that spot. It seems to like my pinky finger though, as it bends that way now. :D
    It means that I have a harder time touch typing and I normally only use three fingers to fret. It's not too bad, but if I had it to do over again I'd try to make sure it healed correctly.
  7. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    I snapped a tendon in my right hand (plucking hand middle finger) a few years ago and many years ago I had major reconstructive surgery to my left hand to repair a burn scar.
    You will be back much sooner than you think.
    Like OG said, once you have the splint on after a few days you will very quickly figure out how to play around it.
    But like Leadfingers said, don't rush it either.
    Start playing with the splint as soon as you can, but don't stress the injury. Your body has an almost fail safe way of telling you when you are potentially doing damage.... PAIN.
    If it hurts, stop.
  8. sowilson


    Jul 5, 2013
    Let you finger heal and then work on rehab for your finger and hand. I've been dealing with trigger release issues with my fingers for the last 10 years (surgeries on 6 of them so far) and each time I have surgery it's another couple of months of rehab. Just have to suck it up. In the interim you can work on your other hand as well as get some piano work in (good for working theory).
  9. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    Listen to the doctor's advice on when to try playing again. You're probably not his/her first musician patient. Don't let ambition screw up the healing process.

    Take this time to listen to a lot of music; maybe play along the rhythm with your right hand, unplugged on open strings. Maybe read up on some music theory.
  10. charlie_rtr


    Jan 7, 2014
    Im currently getting over a broken pinky on my fret (left) hand, its been tough, i feel sorry for you.

    I did my best to play with just 3 fingers. Might be worth a try.

    Also get onto exercises from the physio asap that you can use, because your finger loses so much strength when you dont use it for a while.
  11. georgiagoodie

    georgiagoodie It's all fun&games 'til the winged monkeys show up Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    I broke my middle finger (at the middle joint) of my left hand a few years back. (SUCKED!) After surgery, it REALLY HURT for days!! I resorted to scotch, after prescribed meds failed....
    It took me several years to get it back to be usable (still not 100%). You do have three other fingers to use. My middle finger does not get the use it used too. You just adapt, but PLAY ON!
  12. Jeramaya


    Feb 18, 2007
    Madison, WI
    I broke the middle finger on my plucking hand. It took probably 4-6 weeks before I could do therapy, but it was well worth doing it right. The therapy can be painful, but you just have to suck it up. You'll be happy in the end because you'll have better range of motion.

    What I remember them doing was the following: dipping my entire hand in paraffin wax, placing heavy towels on it with the finger slightly bent. After a few minutes, they'd use an ultrasound machine over the break. I may have these two steps backwards. Finally, they'd essentially bend my finger (this was the painful part) and hold it there for several minutes. They gave me various putties to squeeze on my own that I'd have to do a couple of times a day.

    Good luck! Be patient. Find other things to keep your mind busy. You're going to go crazy at times. I know I did. Haha.
  13. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    My sympathies go out to you, I hope you have a speedy recovery but don't rush it! as frustrating as it is you need to let that finger heal properly.

    I broke the ring finger of my left hand (my plucking hand) had a heavy gig schedule so I had the doctors leave my index finger and thumb unbandaged (I don't have a middle finger). I remember I'd get carried away at a gig and, not thinking about it, try to play normally and Hoooo-boy! :crying:

    So, hang in there, take it easy and get healed up.
  14. ThatCoolBassist


    Feb 16, 2012
    Study music theory ;)
  15. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Good advice. Especially the part about drinking Scotch!

    I'm very sorry about your accident! Terrible!

    You WILL eventually regain use of your middle finger but oh man, the reality is that it will never be the same, stiffness and discomfort from now on. But, you should be able to play just as good as before with some time.

    And yeah, you can do what you can with index, ring and pinky.

    Some bassists use only 3 fingers any how. I love watching old Beach Boy videos with Brian Wilson using only 3 fingers on the bass and sounding great.

    Django Reinhardt, from an a bad accident, could only play with 2 fingers and yet was one of the greatest jazz guitarist ever!

    I broke my left hand index finger and I am a single finger plucker. I eventually regained it's use but my knuckle is crooked and enlarged now and when I make a fist, I can't lock my index finger completely down. But, I can still pluck just as good as before.

    You'll be fine after some time goes by. Get well soon!
  16. spacebassed


    Jan 31, 2009
    I had a work related injury back in the day that saw an 1 1/4" staple shot completely through my left hand index finger... I played with the other three while my index finger healed (although I still have nerve damage in it). Use this as an opportunity it increase dexterity and strength in your other fingers. Once your injured finger heals, and you can incorporate it back into your playing, you'll likely be better off than where you started - I was.

    This too!
  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Ouch! Sorry to hear it. :(

    Personally I would make the best of a bad situation by studying (one-hand) piano, singing, ear training, and transcription for 6 weeks.
  18. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I have suffered numerous injuries to my hands, fingers, thumbs, shoulders and knees while playing ice hockey. I broke my middle finger 30 years ago and started playing bass again before it completely healed. I now have about a 15 degree bend in that finger from the middle knuckle up to the finger tip. It bends toward my ring ringer.

    Last year, I tore a ligament in my ring finger at the knuckle closest to the finger tip. I continue to play through the injury and now have a nasty bump on the inside part of the finger and I sometimes experience some minor pain.

    Six weeks is not a long time. I stopped playing for 2 months in 2011 due to having my right shoulder reconstructed and picked right back up where I left off as if I had never stopped.

    If you need surgery, It will be best to not play until your doctor tells you to. If you try to play early you may experience other problems. It really depends on your tolerance for pain.
  19. themarshall


    Jun 26, 2008
    cochrane wi
    Fear not. I've broken my left middle and ring fingers a couple times each. After some time to heal, I was able to play some with them taped together. My knuckles are still screwed up, but I would say near 100% mobility. Don't waste any time thinking about what you can't do & focus on what you can do and how to improve on that.
  20. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Your surgeon should actually tell you that playing is great physical therapy. When my son broke his leg (he is a drummer), the surgeon said to take it easy (after he could put weight on it), but playing would be the best for movement and flexibility therapy. Playing will help get your strength back and help the dexterity and movement back in your finger. It will probably hurt like hell at first, but it will help