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ARA of the CMC and STT joints
I'm a professional guitarist, age 68 with degeneration of my basal thumb joints on both hands. My left hand started bothering me in 2005 and my right hand started this year. I also have some arthritis in my left pinky tip joint which was exaserbated after a fall which jammed it a year ago. It has since healed, but is slightly bent now. The joint still works with less range of motion, but it doesn't really hinder my playing much yet, as the pain is less now. It may need surgery at some point.
Much of the music I play is fingerstyle (no pick) and very difficult physically to execute on steelstring acoustic guitar, requiring large finger and thumb stretches with barre grip pressure on the fretboard for long periods of time. Barre-ing is when I lay my left index finger across the fretboard with pressure from my thumb on the back of the neck to allow notes to ring while playing other notes over them with the other fingers.
To achieve this soulfully I need full range of motion for my thumbs. Also, grip and pinch strength with no pain to perform up to my standards. And if I get surgery I require quick recovery to resume my playing. I intend on never retiring and maintaining my health so I can perform and record throughout the rest of my life in this body.
Dr. Ed North was my hand surgeon in '05. He said there was no surgery that would give me what I needed and the best alternative at that time was to put up with the condition as long as possible without surgery. He was a great doctor, but he retired a few years ago.
I've since sought help with several other reputable hand surgeons in the Seattle area. None of the procedures that they offer are acceptable for me. I don't want anything artificial in my body to fail, causing more problems. I don't want to lose any existing bone or joint structure. I don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul, ie. The Anchovy. I don't want long recover time. I don't want to have to compromise the quality and emotion in my performance because of pain, loss of strength or range of motion. I'm OCDing because I need to be very sure before I allow myself to go under the knife.
I finally ran across Dr. Tyson Cobb in Davenport, Iowa after much websearch. He ordered fresh xrays, which I had taken in Seattle. After seeing them he encouraged me to consider his ARA of the CMC and STT joints and said I was a good candidate for it.
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