Common Hand Injuries for Musicians

Common Hand Injuries for Musicians

Posted on 08/22/2022

Do you spend hours practicing and playing your musical instrument every day? Are you a dedicated, creative, and passionate musician? If so, you possess the personality traits that can lead to artistic perfection. Consider the hundreds of hours musical greats like Billy Joel and Jimi Hendrix spent practicing and playing their favorite instruments.


However, you should be aware that musicians are vulnerable to musculoskeletal injuries that can severely affect their livelihoods. It is no wonder many famous musicians insure their hands from damage. Whether you play a musical instrument for fun or professionally, you should pay attention to common hand injuries for musicians.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


You can develop carpal tunnel syndrome even if you are not a professional musician or performer. Repetitive hand and wrist movement and poor posture can create pressure on the median nerve. Stress to this nerve, which runs from your forearm through your wrist, leads to CTS. Some of the symptoms you are likely to experience in your forearms, wrists, and hands include:


  • Tingling

  • Poor motor function

  • Progressive numbness

  • Loss of strength




Tendons are the cords of tissue that connect bones to muscle. Tendonitis is the inflammation of these tendons due to repetitive movement or overuse. Athletes and musicians often suffer from this problem, which can cause severe pain.


Tendonitis can make it virtually impossible to play any musical instrument using the affected hand. Left untreated, it can lead to irreversible damage and chronic pain or discomfort.


Trigger Finger


Trigger finger occurs when inflammation narrows the space between a tendon’s sheath or cover in a finger. That can cause your finger to lock into position. Forceful and prolonged gripping of an instrument can cause this problem.


Thumb Arthritis


Thumb arthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. Thumb base arthritis affects the function of the hands. It is prevalent in guitarists and can cause swelling, pain, and decreased thumb strength and range of motion.


Thumb arthritis tends to affect the basal joint near the fleshy part of the thumb and the wrist. If you develop this condition, the pain you experience when you play an instrument can be challenging to bear. 


Thoracic Outlet Syndrome


TOS causes an aching limb, numbness of the arm and hand, or dislocation of the hand. Playing a string instrument like violin or viola can cause this hand injury. Compression of the nerves or blood vessels between your first rib and collarbone can result in neck and shoulder pain. It can also cause numbness within your fingers.


Flexor Tenosynovitis


You might have this condition if you experience numbness and swelling during or shortly after playing a musical instrument. But if caused by an infection, flexor tenosynovitis can be an emergency that requires immediate treatment.


Cubital Tunnel Syndrome


Many people tend to confuse this condition with carpal tunnel syndrome. However, the pain you experience from cubital tunnel syndrome usually centers on the inside of your elbow. Musicians with this condition often experience a tingling sensation when they bend their elbows while playing an instrument.




If you experience any of the symptoms outlined above, you should contact a hand specialist as soon as possible. Your hand and upper extremity specialist will identify the source of your symptoms and suggest the appropriate treatment option.


For more on hand injuries or to schedule a consultation, call East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity at 510-904-1100 to reach our Oakland, California office.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.