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 Post subject: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:13 pm 
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My thumbs hyper-extend naturally. I thought about posting a picture, but it really looks kind of gross. At the joint I can bend my thumbs back at a 90 degree angle. Sounds gross? Then you've got the picture.

Other than the coolness factor of having something to show off, I've always been warned it could cause trouble. It does keep me from using thumb keyboards--that's kind of painful. Lately, though, I have been having a lot of unexplained thumb pain. Couldn't figure out what I was doing that was hyper-extending them. Then yesterday I was playing my low G Water Weasel, and, bingo! I realized it was hurting pretty bad. I tried out all my whistles and find that all my whistles Bb and lower cause pain as I hyper-extend my thumbs while at the same time flex the muscles in them to try to hold those big whistles steady.

I tried, but I can't find any way to utilize enough finger strength to hold a large whistle on my thumbs without hyper-extending them.

:-k I don't think I'm explaining this very well, but I think if your hands are small you kind of have to lock your thumbs to have the strength to hold the whistle. My thumbs just happen to not lock until they reach a 90 degree angle. Ouch.

Has anybody ever heard of ANYBODY else having this problem? I may have to try the blue board for shear numbers. Maybe SOMEBODY has dealt with it. I wanted to try here first.

Unless I figure out a way to resolve this, a modest number of well-loved low whistles may be entering the market. :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:40 pm 
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OW! Actually I'd like to see a picture of what is happening when you play the low whistles.

I wonder if perhaps some athletic tape around the joints might help? Or maybe some kind of grip tape on the whistle itself so you can hold it without straining. (It's hard to know without seeing the problem in action.)

Kitty

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:39 pm 
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:oops: Oh, you've got to be kidding me.

Well, aside from the fact that I'm wearing a hideous nail polish Sarah put on me, the thumb is just a disgusting thing.

Hasty shots.


Left thumb holding G whistle.
Image

Right thumb holding G whistle.
Image

Sorry for the blur. I think you can see the problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:21 pm 
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Connie,
That makes me hurt just to look at the picture. Have you tried (or considered) thumbrests? I've found the ones from Susato work pretty well on low D and low F. (But my thumbs don't bend back like that.)


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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:21 pm 
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And why does that not happen with the smaller whistles?

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:31 pm 
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1. Not heavy.
2. No piper's grip.

I could give some thought to the thumb rest idea. I'll experiment some maybe tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:07 pm 
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Couple more pieces of information might help. First, it's not inherently painful to hyper-flex these thumbs. So the part you're seeing where it's bent back, that doesn't hurt. It's the pressing of the whistle against the hyper-flexed thumb that hurts. So I'm not sure a thumb rest would help unless it's a big glommy grip like you put around kids' pencils to relax their grips. It might help to force it out of a flexed position, though. I'd have to try it.

And another factor in the big whistle vs little whistle thing is that the size of the holes is a problem. To cover bigger holes I push harder with my thumbs to splat out the finger pads to seal the holes.

In this one you can actually see the tension right along the joint in the pale line--paleness indicating where I'm pressing too hard.
Image

I pretty much know that these are not good joint practices. I'm just not sure how to accomplish the job without doing this.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:40 pm 
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Connie, a quick suggestion ... put some type of splint across the front of your thumb so that it can't bend to that degree while playing.


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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:20 pm 
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That's what I was thinking with the athletic tape.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:49 pm 
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don't they make some kind of elastic tube for fingers? That'd be more comfortable.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:35 pm 
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I'll try that. I'll try it with tape first, and if that works I'll look for something to slip on and off the thumbs conveniently.

Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:45 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:42 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:21 pm 
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OUCH! If I did that I would really hurt because it would break my thumb at the joint. By all means try tape, a splint, a tube, or anything that will keep your thumbe from extending.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:44 pm 
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Because the whistle is big and heavy, you're probably unconsciously squeezing the whistle harder than you realize. That's causing your thumb to flex more. I find the thumb rests help somewhat.

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:56 am 
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Connie,

Are there any Low-D's that you can play where you might be able to avoid piper's fingering? It sounds like the pressure being exerted from the fingers on top is hurting your thumb.

Another thought is to put something long in your hand that rests closer to the palm from the whistles body - thus avoiding the thumb joints. The first 19th century flutes had something called a "crutch" that reaches from the palm up to the flute body.

One other idea, I buy from Tractor Supply the tape that they wrap around horses ankles for support and I saw it down into 3/4" pieces and called "Drummers Tape" for hand drum players. Get some this tape from Tractor supply (local stores of via internet, it comes in colors - so you can match your outfit) and cut it to about 1.5" wide x 6 in. strips. You can wrap it around your thumb and it self sticks because it is latex rubber - even though it has no adhesive. (don't do this if you're allergic to latex)

BTW - I think this latex rubber can be wrapped around small fingers as well for hard to cover toneholes - but I haven't tried this idea yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:09 am 
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Click here for samples!

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:11 pm 
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While Susan was away in the UK I stole her rosewood alto modern recorder. It is a wonderful instrument as it sounds like a flute and plays three full octaves BUT it is a pig to hold as it is too heavy and hurt my thumb a lot. However I made a simple cord sling for it and it became easy to hold and play. I certainly advise trying this out. John (MTGuru) on C&F also uses slings on low whistles (we both play sax so slings are very natural to us).


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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:05 pm 
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Oh, a sling! I'll have to try that. Do you have a picture of yours?

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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:48 am 
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The susato thumb rests are the first thing I thought of. even if it took two of them to form a nice hook shelf for the whistle to rest on while playing


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 Post subject: Re: Hyper-extended thumbs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:11 am 
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ConnieS wrote:
Oh, a sling! I'll have to try that. Do you have a picture of yours?


Susan just gave away her bassoon sling, which was a perfect length. Here is a cord sling that took literally two mins to make with a cup hook and tape. You are very creative and can come up with many other designs. Having the hook hold the whistle from the bottom works very well and the sling does not get in the way of the fingers.

Susan was kind enough to pose for the picture even though she was unwell at the time.

Image


Image


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