Injury advice - Trigger Finger


I’m currently suffering from tendonitis which has been going on for over a year but I’m getting it under control. Something I can’t seem to overcome though is trigger finger! I’ve basically got a little lump on my index finger tendon which is causing a lot of pain, especially when playing the guitar. I’ve recently had a steroid injection 2
Weeks ago but can’t see any improvement. I fear the next step is surgery where they cut one of the tebdon pulleys, I’m really keen to avoid this!
I know it’s a long shot but it would be good to hear from anyone who has suffered from this and how they overcame it.
I’m currently taking Ibuprofen and wearing a splint but nothing is improving. I’ve tried physio too but no joy.


Hey, sorry to hear about this! Have you tried a forum search here for tendonitis? I know you’re not alone with this sort of thing, not sure how much those discussions may help but worth a look.

I can’t speak to this issue from personal experience, but is this something that subsides at all over time if you stop playing entirely? Have you experimented with different pick grips / motions, for example would a thumb + middle finger grip cause less pain while playing?

Only real advice we can give is to seek help from a medical professional, but sounds like you’re on top of that already. Not sure if you’ve seen a doctor specifically with experience working with musicians, but if possible that’d be even better. Good luck, definitely understand wanting to avoid surgery if you can!

I suffered from tendonitis yeara ago.
Lots of rest and NO guitar playing for a year helped. It took a long time to build up my playing again. I also worked out a tecnique that worked for me. If you are interested i can share it.
I did not seek professionalism help then. Today i would have.

I have had a number of hand and wrist issues over the years – tendinitis, trigger finger, ganglion cysts, arthritis, broken fingers – so maybe I can be of help. You didn’t say whether it was your fretting hand or picking, but my suggestions are general.

  1. Balanced, relaxed positioning. This is for EVERY part of your body, as it is all a kinetic chain. Look for and eliminate any strain, discomfort in your wrist, grip, fret pressure, elbow, neck (head balanced, not leaning forward). Maybe go to lighter strings, lower action, acoustic to electric, etc, Add a foot stool, practice standing and sitting. Avoid huge long repetitive movements – I know it is hard when attempting speed goals. But avoid any and all tension!

  2. Change what hurts. That is, try to eliminate or replace what is directly contributing to the pain. Maybe abandon using a pick (for a while) and learn fingerstyle (if your problems lie in the picking hand). Plenty of transferable skills and info in doing so, and you will be better prepared when you finally get healthy. The important thing is to rigorously analyse and change what needs changing so you can heal. And time is your friend.

  3. Exercise. You said you tried physio, but my experience is most therapists know little and offer less. You need to advocate on your own behalf, investigate and research what will help, and keep at it piece by piece. Online resources are vast but you will need to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your Prince. That is, keep an open but skeptical mind in searching for therapy, and in the process you will need to listen to your body. It is another skill you will acquire. Also, it isn’t just hand and finger exercises which will help you, it is also strengthening all of your body which will yield the best results – arms, shoulders, waist, torso, legs – to not put too fine a point on it.

As to the trigger finger – I got the best results on grip improvement and trigger finger improvement when I strengthened my forearms and scapula by engaging in a regimen for shoulders.

Good luck, and keep on playin’!

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I’m a professional angler. After 36 years of extreme overuse of my arms and elbows, I was in constant pain from tendonitis. Dr. Eric Wroten at helped me with a regimen of therapy and shots, and I am happy to say that I am now pain-free. I still fish for a living, but without the intense pain, I experienced for many years.