Survey Results: Musicians with Dupuytren

This is a sampling of free text notes from survey respondents detailing Dupuytren-related problems playing musical instruments.

My left hand “finger spread” was becoming more and more limited, making it difficult to finger notes (limiting my range in position). I also started to experience some pain when playing.
Uncommon finger fatigue after playing over an hour.
Just limits my ability to maneuver fingers into proper chords on the fret.
Cannot stretch as well.
At the moment, slight discomfort.
Because it is bending my left hand, not the fingers, so I have to grab the drumstick in a different way, I kind of got used to it now.
Interfering with my fretting hand and also my picking hand speed.
Unable to fully form some chords on the guitar.
Minimal tension/ banding in left index finger, therefore, some limited impact playing barre chords (full finger extension/ lay flat). Right (picking) hand middle finger is most affected which thankfully thus far has had minimal impact.
Limited stretch and finger mobility.
Difficult to do the chords anymore on the guitar.
Left hand pressing strings on electric guitar, my little finger had 90-degree bend at PIP but somehow adapted and could play chords etc… getting sorer.
Joints locked out while reed making for the double reeds.
Inability to comfortably hold a drumstick. 3rd and 4th fingers do not move smoothly and range of motion is limited. Palm of hand is painful when pressed upon.
Currently, it doesn’t affect the valves, since it is mainly in my left hand. I do have some issues moving the slides to fine tune with my left hand, and keeping a firm grip for extended periods of time.
Have had RT although thickening in palm is making finger spread very uncomfortable for fretting on banjo. Have put it away.
Could not play left hand properly, had to tape ring finger back to get it out of the way of the keys.
Contracture of LT thumb web space; unable to reach some keys with thumb.
The main way that Dupuytren’s has affected my ability to play both guitar and piano is the (lack) of ability now to stretch my fingers.
I played the Great Highland Bagpipes and the smaller pub pipes for about 15 years. I quit when I could not longer strike the low A, B and C notes. Also unable to do the Low A birl.
Contractures prohibit proper hand positioning & movement.
Have trouble reaching keys with the little finger on my right hand.
Reaching larger intervals like sixths and octaves in both hands on the piano. Intonation problems fingering the left hand on the cello.
I don’t have the flexibility I use to have or the strength.
I feel my right hand ‘clamping’ onto the bow instead of a gentle grip hold. My left hand ring finger continually touches strings when I try to use middle finger and so I end up playing wrong notes.
Unable to stretch bent finger to keys or wind instruments and organ.
Can’t use my little finger to reach the keys properly.
The bend in my small finger and the continuing contracture makes playing the piano pretty difficult, if not impossible.
Loss of grip with sticks and mallets.
Can no longer play anything due to inability to straighten any fingers or thumbs.
I don’t have the flexibility, durability, or deftness of my left hand to play the guitar like I used to. I used to be able to do some Bluegrass style flat-picking, but I’m too clumsy and inaccurate now.
With piano, my reach has been seriously impacted by the disease. I can barely reach an octave with my right hand anymore and fingering is not as accurate as it used to be.
Left hand has trouble stretching to reach clarinet keys. Right hand isn’t bad enough for treatment. I just had treatment on my left hand, so I will see how much it helps.
I played guitar for 46 years, since I was 10. I can no longer reach around the neck of the guitar at all. I can no longer play drums, as the extreme vibration causes extreme pain after only a short time.
Inability to play chords with my left hand on a keyboard. Can play part of chord but not a full chord.
I cannot stretch to reach certain chords on the guitar with my left hand and I also have problems reaching chords on the keyboard with both hands.
My left little finger is permanently bent – can’t span 8 notes / octave any longer – a common octave is crucial for piano. Prior to Dupuytren’s I could span 10 sometimes 11 notes and used to pride myself on my span.
I had difficulty stretching my fingers to reach all of the keys. My hands ached after playing.
My left hand is unable to work the neck of the guitar.
Reduced flexibility in r/h little finger, radiating pain into rest of hand.
Slowed technique.
On guitar, left hand involvement makes changing chords difficult. Hard to reach some chords, especially if tempo is fast.
On piano, cannot open either hand the space of an octave, plus bent fingers make many things difficult.
Can’t get my hands in the proper positions required to play properly.
Although little finger no longer much bent, sideways movement is still restricted so reducing span, and flexibility is reduced.
Cannot stretch an octave and have trouble with simple exercises.
I currently have significant bending on the ring finger of my left hand and it affects making chords and single note playing. I have lost a lot of spread between my index finger and ring finger.
Main restriction is my span/stretch on the keyboard. In playing by ear, or improvising, the pinkies often miss the note or strike an adjacent note so it’s more difficult to play cleanly. Also the fingers are not as quick and subtle as before and get tired sooner.
I play the bagpipes and some movements like burls are hard due to bend pinky fingers.
The hands are tight – the ability to reach just isn’t there.
Unable to bend fingers enough due to pads on knuckles.
I play piano. I hit the wrong keys because of my bent ring fingers on both hands.
Played a 5 string banjo and guitar at one time. Now my left hand is so contractured that I can no longer fret the keyboard.
Can not bend fingers properly, limited mobility.
Can’t open hand as wide as before, on octave is a difficult stretch. Little finger on left hand feels awkward when reaching for a key. Hands ache after playing.
My left hand fingers are not as expressive as they were prior, they feel clumsy.
My right thumb is able to strum the strings on the guitar, however my fingers on my left hand are curled too tightly to push down the strings of the guitar for the different notes.
Neither my left or my right hand are able to open enough to play the keys on the piano.
LH fifth PIP contraction limits fretting extension, chord variation options, position-change response speed, and fretting accuracy.
Was not able to reach stretch frets with left hand. Was not able to use left fingers to pluck strings.
I can’t comfortably reach an octave.
Pain stretching to reach cords. Aching and sharp pains after.
Lengthy or vigorous bouts of playing leaves my hand very painful and tendon weary.
Hand span is affected most due to both thumb and middle ring and little fingers having bend.
Ended it. Terribly sad.
Limited ability to spread left hand fingers to form various chords on the guitar. I can still play but in a more limited fashion.
Unable to make the finger chords.
Fingers give uneven pressure and not able to stretch as well. The bent fingers also touch keys not meant to be touched.
Left little finger PIP joint bend makes it difficult to stretch that finger laterally (wider) to make some chords.
Loss of movement (hyperextension) and loss of ‘stretch’.
I played guitar and banjo semi-professionally for many years. Since both my hands are affected I can no longer play at all. It’s hard to watch other play.
Use of pinky finger is effected during fretting and stretching. Bad cramping in the palm also.
Decreased reach (octaves, some chords can’t be played. Accommodate by using 4th finger instead of 5th.
My little fingers were first to bend so when playing piano this reduces the number of keys I can stretch across. After surgery, my right little finger has healed with a slight bend which seems permanent, the main effect when keyboard playing is that occasionally I will reach for a far right note and almost “miss” it, the result usually being that I hit two keys at once.
I play classical piano and organ professionally, i.e., for a living. Dupuytren’s limits my ability to play large chords in succession. Hand fatigue/ache.
I had to alter my technique a bit since my ring finger would not fully extend.
I play the pennywhistle which only has 6 holes. Both of my pinkies are contracted making it almost impossible to play. I’ve modified several of them with flute keys and pads with levers that I can push with my bent fingers. I also play guitar and have modified my playing style or have eliminated songs which I can no longer play because of Dups. Holding the Harmonica is only slightly difficult, but I’m still able to play.
(1) Severe pain stopped me from playing normally in the beginning of Dupuytren (nodules). However the pain is less now, I can practice and play but not as long as before. (2) Stiffness occurs especially after resting the hand for some time; it takes time to gently massage it away.
It’s not fatal: I simply cannot use or plant the pinky finger on my picking hand (R) because of Dupuytren’s. I’ve had the needle procedure five times and it manages the condition nicely, but not from a guitar standpoint. I have to play differently. Now, I’m getting it in two places on my left hand as well. Eventually, it will interfere with fretting.
First and fourth finger play out of tune, fail to reach correct position.
Inability to play frets.
Piano – cannot reach chords.
I was a professional concertina player for many years but had to stop playing and change my act because of Dupuytren’s on both hands.
Trouble reaching frets on guitar.
Can’t keep in time after a few min hand hurts and pic slips out out hand and turns on me. I am left handed play right handed my right hand is worse i would think because i use the left for everything.
No longer able to use 4th & 5th fingers in each hand.
Little fingers are so contracted, impossible to use them. Both hand are so deformed and contracted I can no longer reach an octave on keyboard. Thumbs are pulled downward and useless. This disease has destroyed my quality of life.
My little finger and ring finger on my left hand are not as responsive.
My fingering speed lowered and melodic music playing is not possible for menow.
My little finger wouldn’t straighten so I could not play certain chords nor reach certain frets.
Can’t straighten fingers.
Left hand unable to reach adequately with the third and fourth fingers. Sudden low tone register was an early indication of Dupuytren.
Loss hand strength, loss use 4th finger.
Trying to properly hold drumsticks and unable to play congas without being able lay my hand flat.
Surgeries in both hands affects dexterity and quickness of all fingers. Bent and stiff left pinky prevents use in fingering/fretting Guitar/Banjo/Uke. Can’t play guitar, but make do on banjo & uke (4 string).
Two fingers on my right hand bent so much that I could play very little with my right hand and had pain from the effort.
Hand is practically in cement and it has majorly affected my career. I have had to make many adjustments. very frustrating!!!!.
I cannot hold the guitar frets to play the guitar. I play the piano on a limited basis due to hand pain and cramping if I play more than 20-30 minutes.
For guitar… ring finger doesn’t stretch as far as it used to, can’t place ring finger all the way flat, Can’t stretch as far using all fingers (thickened palm areas). Can still have agility, but not as much range of movement.
I had problems placing the chords on the neck of the guitar. My fingers started “missing” the placement. I was used to playing without looking at my fingers, but even when I tried looking, I could not get the placement correct.. I gave up guitar.
Bent 4th and 5th fingers limits use of hand playing piano. Difficult to stretch hand.
Loss of flexibility. No use of my pinky on my right hand. Finger spread in both hands has diminished.
My left little finger is pulled down so that I cannot play an octave on the piano easily. Also this affects the stretch between the ring and little finger needed for advance piano playing. I play pretty much with only the four fingers on my left hand.
I have it in my pinky finger, (left) so it affects my stretch and control. I can’t reach for notes like I used to, some chord positions are no longer possible. There are also days where it just ‘hurts’….
My left little finger is contractured, leaving it unable to reach for notes. It also sometimes drags across the strings.
2 fingers were badly bent, not allowing me to finger properly on the violin.
I have difficulty reaching if my first finger is on the sixth string and fourth finger is on the first.
Can’t play piano anymore. Right hand – middle and pinkie bent. Left hand- ring finger bent. Have had treatments.
Some difficulty fingering with right hand at this point. Still in an early stage.
I can’t straighten my little finger on my left (fretting) hand I’ve pretty much loss the use of that finger which impedes me from fretting a multitude of chords.
Contracted little finger on right hand made it impossible to finger the saxophone after 50 yrs playing!.
I was having trouble forming chords with my left hand as the Dupuytren’s lump on my little finger made it difficult to curl my fingers around. I had surgery which took most of it away. That is when I found out it was Dupuytren.
Pain while playing cello.
I play Native American flute. I feel my stretch between keys being reduced. There are some NA flutes that are too large and too heavy for me to play.
My hand hurts from the pressure. I put cotton in my handbell gloves, that helps.
Because my little fingers are contracted, I can’t reach the keys for certain chords. Also can’t hit the right keys sometimes because of the contracture.
Left hand much more affected than right but has not had any effect. For the piano, bent fingers are an asset. But raising the fourth finger bent would be a problem if there were any difficulty but there isn’t.
Impossible to play the flute with 2 bent fingers (60° and 100°).
I WAS a professional classical guitarist. I no longer had the reach I needed and it was apparent things were only going to get worse. I play uke now. Stupid.
My left little finger is severely affected, so piano is really not possible. However, my main instruments are guitar/banjo, and I have been able to modify fingering to accommodate.
My main instrument (and most loved) is the Irish penny whistle. I can no longer close the open holes properly or move my fingers fast enough for ornamentation.
Difficulty reaching some chords or frets as can’t stretch little finger as far as I used to.
Issues with keys/ frets that are far apart (used to be easy before the disease) Cord between little and ring fingers hampers lateral finger movement Finger movements not as smooth as it used to be – less agility.
Dupuytren in left hand pinky finger reduced my note span on the piano. Dupuytren in right ring finger interfered with playing chords because I couldn’t lift it out of the way. Treatment has improved both situations.
Cannot reach the proper positions… finger/s in the way.
Octave reach impaired.
Can’t use left wedding ring finger properly.
Couldn’t reach the high keys easily.But that didn’t stop me. I use reading music as a brain exercise; not too concerned how it sounds. I play fine now.
Contractor in both hands.middle finger, ring finger, little finger and thumb on both hands.
Ability to grip/manipulate the stick/mallet has changed. Dexterity issues. Flat/cupped hand on congas is no longer an option. Cannot spread fingers as well for keyboard.
The nodules were painful, and new nodules have developed that are painful Also, after 13 operations for Dupuytren’s the scar tissue has built up and restricts my hand span, and finger movement.
Thumb and index finger are most affected. Unable to spread out those digits without causing tendinitis and needing a cortisone injection.
I have contracted little fingers on both hands. Left, for a long time, right, fairly recently. Left little finger had operations and at various times I was able to play piano, but it is severely contracted now and with the contracted right little finger piano playing is effectively ended.
I was fairly good at Bulgarian Bagpipe (quite different from Scottish), but the contracted right little finger ends that. Percussion is not affected much.
The “reach” of my little finger on the fretboard/neck/keyboard is limited.
Reduce span playing piano, difficulty playing barre chords on guitar.
Octave range is compromised, ability to play musical chords is difficult, sometimes have to drop a note out of the chord because I can’t stretch my fingers (the “reach” of a pianist) far enough to play all the notes in a chord.
I stopped playing the oboe because my fingers could no longer manipulate the keys correctly. Some keys/notes I couldn’t play at all. These were not optional notes, and there was no alternative way to play them.
I have trouble playing the piano now –not nearly enough span/reach, and because I can’t bend my fingers the way I should I have to compromise in the notes that I play, e.g. play only one note of an octave because my fingers will not stretch wide enough to play an octave. I used to be able to play two notes past an octave.
Must modify chords on piano/organ.
It has especially affected my reach. I used to have a 10-key span, and can no longer reach that far. It has also affected the kinetic memory I have in my little finger:i.e. my finger knew just where to reach to for a note. That seems to be gone.
Lost the ability to reach a full chord.
Can no longer play open-hole flute, considering purchasing a new flute with more adaptive key set up (off-set G”. Can’t reach “pinky-keys” on the clarinet. Can’t play extensions on the cello, and piano interval reach diminished.
Left small finger contraction makes it difficult to play some guitar chords. Have lost some dexterity in it as well so some chord transitions have become occasionally cumbersome.
Couldn’t finger the bass guitar with bent fingers. Surgery helped but not enough.
Unable to play certain chord formations.
Without frets the finger position is critical to playing a violin. I can maintain proper positioning and intonation as the finger slowly contracts, but after a NA treatment (I’ve had two), the hand mechanics are very different. My muscle memory places my finger where it thinks it should go, but this is off because of the change in mechanics. It takes a few months to relearn. And the process repeats itself.
Reduced reach and accuracy in fingerings due to 30-degree contraction of pinky finger.
I was unable to stretch a full octave…
Piano, Can’t reach keys.
Guitarist. Finger pain limits time I can play.
It is more difficult to hit the strings on the guitar in the way I used to without Dupuytren. There is buzzing and more concentration in attempt to get a clean sound. Distressing and frustrating.


Pages: 1 2


Comments are closed.