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What to do if you messed up your thumb???

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Mon Rominee, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. Long story short, I injured my thumb on a piece of sheet metal. Cut right to the joint where yer thumb "webs" to your pointer finger. I still have thumb-mobility ability, but I can't feel anything. Just numb. The hand surgeon I saw yesterday (the incident happenned on Tuesday) said to "wait and see" basically, as the nerves I damaged could correct themselves...too soon to tell really. But I'm very tactile-oriented, and this is freaking me out...the posibilities and what ifs. Right now I can hold a pick, but it feels wierd, same if I go finger style...I'm a fair bit concerned about my playing future.

    Anyone else dealing with this? And how do you get on with it?
  2. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Nope, that sucks though. Good luck with the healing. My wife destroyed her finger in gymnastices once, nasty nasty pictures of it. She had a great specialist, other than her finger looking crooked, it's works fine and can feel. Make sure you've got a good doc.
  3. Yeah, we have a top-neurological surgeon in Worcester, MA...if I should need his work...thank god he's on my HMO coverage.

    Glad yer Wife fared well in the outcome.
  4. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    It was gross man. Her index finger seriously shattered. The specialist was excited to get the surgery because it was a "challenge"! Put two of your fingers together and that's how large hers was. He gave her a choice: Looks good, no bendy or crooked fonger, everything works. She opted for works. In that you play bass, that's what I would choose depending on how bad your finger is.
  5. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    Sorry to hear that Mon. I am so paranoid about my hands. I know so many people that have screwed up their hands by cutting them or getting crushed by doors or objects.
    I have had one or two close calls, and have thanked my lucky stars that I have avoided any serious injury. Knock on wood.
  6. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH

    I cut the toes of my left foot pretty badly years ago in a lawn-mowing accident.

    Second toe was cut deeply, but was saved. Not normal sense of feel - always feels numb and "lifeless" when touched. Anyway, the good news is that its motion and strength are nearly normal.

    I'd bet your thumb comes around nicely (will probably take time though). May have to make some adjustments to your playing technique.

    I'm a school teacher who works at residential construction in the summer - lots of use of power saws and air hammers. I'm very careful, to say the least, with my fingers.
  7. I got my left arm ALL the way jacked up. I had two severed tendons extremely lacerated muscles and managed to cut through the main nerve bundle in my arm. I had micro-surgery for the nerve damage and had my arm in a soft cast. When the cast came off I got really scared because I had virtually no movement in my left hand and almost no sensation. This was in '98. In about '99 I had regained movement of my thumb, index and middle finger but still no strength. I had become able to play though, with the aid of a specially fit brace, but all I could play was very simple single note lines. Naturally I joined a Nu-metal band since that stuff isn't terribly demanding. Anyway, I still can't extend my middle or pinky fingers and I still only have partial sensation in my hand but I am a much better bassist for the experience. When I could only play a few notes I was forced find best ones I could, rather than playing all of 'em like hyperactive little fellas do. I feel extremely lucky to have found something as meaningful to me as bass playing because it was the reason and the tool to help me rehabilitate.

    Don't let something like a little loss of feeling hold you back, man. I still can't feel much and I can through licks better than I ever could before.
  8. Either use your other hand or use your teeth. Might I suggest the 2nd one?
  9. If I use my teeth, would you suggest flatwounds? I hear roundwounds are murder on toothwear.


    We'll see. I more of a pins-n-needles feeling in my thumb now, as opposed to a dull numbmess. The stitches come out on Wednesday... I have messed around playingwise, and it still feels wierd, but I'm sure I'll manage. I DID have a novell idea for gtting around on it, say if I *lost* my thumb...I think I'll develop it...just in case.

    Thanks guys. :bassist:
  10. Jeffrey A-Bomb

    Jeffrey A-Bomb Drink Coffee & Destroy Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    Silver Spring, MD
    I cut off my pinky tip when I was younger right down to the first joint :eek: It was an odd feeling seeing a part of your anatomy on the floor.. Needless to say, it was sewn back on and apart from scarring and a screwed up fingernail, functions fine. That finger isn't nearly as important as the thumb though.. Good luck!
  11. BCinU


    Jun 24, 2004
    The pinkie finger on my fretting hand (left) was smashed several times as a kid playing basked ball. I now have a twisted, lumpy finger with no sensation at all.

    I really don't use it much when playing. Ironically, I took up bass because I couldn't finger cords on a guitar to my satisfaction. Needless to say, I enjoy playing bass.

    Good luck.
  12. BenderR


    Jun 1, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    A good friend of mine cut his wrist badly about 15 years ago in a household accident and lost both feeling and a tendon. The first doctor he went to said he would never play again (it was his living and all he had ever done) but another doc did the microsurgery bit and got him on the road to recovery. He still has some loss of sensation and for a while he had an occasional zinger-note due to tendon problems. Bottom line, he's recorded several CD since, plays concerts and sounds better than ever.

    My guess is that whatever damage remains you'll find a way to compensate.

    Best Wishes
  13. I completely severed the tendon in the ring finger of my fretting hand in a work accident about thirty years ago.
    I wound up having to have a tendon transplant as ( I was told ) a tendon can't be rejoined successfully in the finger section that got cut.
    They therefore opened up my forearm and took out what they called a "spare" tendon and inserted it through an incision in the palm of my hand, then re-joined it up near the tip of my finger. Gory eh! I tell you what, it was painful too, I wound up with one hundred and eight non-dissolving stiches.
    When I woke up in the hospital after the operation, my hand was so swollen that for a moment I thought they had made a terrible mistake and transplanted my foot to where my hand should be! Fortunately they didn't as I can't imagine playing bass with my foot.

    Anyway, to this day I avoid using this finger when I'm playing except when I'm playing higher up the neck and the finger naturally falls on a fret. It has limited movement and feels funny/clumbsy.
    For about a year or so after the operation I had no feeling in the finger either, but that has slowly come back to near normal, so take heart Mon, if I can get feeling back after all that then there's a good chance you will too. ;)
  14. BenderR


    Jun 1, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    That is exactly what happened to the friend I mentioned above. I agree about the broken glass policy 100%. There was an earlier thread about a DB player that cut up two fingers with a lawn edger. As I recall he healed fairly well but it was a frightening experience for him. I guess we all have to be extra careful.
  15. Thanks for all the kind words guys.

    Well, the stitches have been out for a week. All is "ok", except it appears the cut skin healed to the tendon, so when I extend my reach, it wicked hurts, and you can see the skin being pulled away from the cuticle of my thumbnail....gross and surreal at the same time. Odd how I can feel that, but not the thumb in general... weird weird weird. Ow ow ow!

    I'm "working" it loose, but the numbness and stuff remains.

    I too hit a pumper, and the scar KILLS when you touch it. The doc said any nerves will regenerate, at x-amount of length in x-amount of time, but who knows with all the potential scrarring going on.

    Just call me numb-thumb... at least I can hold a pick or fingerstyle...it just feels wierd.

    I bet I could have a major Flea-style funk-a-thon and be no worse for wear...no pain baby. v:O)~