Not all of my posts are about exercises and stretches. Sometimes, altering your ergonomics is an option all too few musicians know about, be it changing the way your instrument is made or held or, in this case, using special jewelry to prevent instability in the fingers. I’m going to be continuing this series soon with other instrument specific options, let me know if you have some information you think should be getting more recognition!
The jewelry that is more than jewelry
When I was in the Nashville Youth Symphony in high school, a fellow flutist had these beautiful rings I commented on and to my amazement she told me: “oh, I have double jointed fingers. These rings help prevent my fingers from flying backwards if I play too fast.”
So I looked into it and through the years I have recommended these beautiful rings to any student who has joints that hyperextend (extend beyond the normal range of motion) and also to clients/students with arthritis and other maladies. I’ve never seen anything like these products and not only are they highly effective, they look just like jewelry so no one will give it a second thought.
Hyperextension or even “double jointed fingers
Hyperextension of a finger joint beyond the neutral position may result in a painful joint, decreased power when pinching and a delay in being able to bend the finger. Without stabilizing or blocking the hyperextension, the deformity can become progressively worse. In addition to looking very abnormal, severe hyperextension can ultimately result in a loss of function because the joint becomes stuck in the hyper-extended position.
Do you or does your student have what’s called a “hitch hiker’s thumb”?
A “hitchhiker’s thumb” is where the top thumb joint bends farther back than normal, in some cases, parallel with the floor. For a flutist this can present a particular challenge because the thumb is supposed to not push the flute up from below, but rather push the flute out away from the body, which counteracts the pushing inward from the first joint of the left hand index finger. Chin and right hand pinky are used for stability. If you have hyperextension of the thumb, this is next to impossible. They have several beautiful options to
actually fix this and according to their website:
Hyperextension of the end of the thumb beyond the neutral position may result in a painful joint, decreased power when pinching and difficulty picking up or manipulating small objects. Without stabilizing or blocking the hyperextension, the deformity can become progressively worse, ultimately becoming stuck in the hyperextended position, making it impossible to pick up objects or write.
Ever heard of “trigger finger”? This can be absolutely detrimental to musicians, especially string and woodwind players who need the dexterity in their fingers to be the best it can be. Triggering is defined as:
A nodule or inflammation and thickening on the flexor tendon may cause irregular movement of the finger. The finger feels locked in the bent position and when it is straightened, there is a painful snap. Repetitive activities aggravate this condition and pain starts limiting function. Splints may be used to limit bending of the finger for several weeks to allow the inflammation to diminish. This can be a reoccurring problem with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Sound like you? They have some really beautiful pieces to help with this. They have pieces that treat Tenosynovitis in the palm, fingers and thumb.
Guess what? Their rings can be covered by insurance! So if any of this sounds like you, check out their website at:
You can also download their brochure on their website or here: