fbpx Skip to main content

Musicians share a common nightmare – finger injury!

Musicians around the world dread the nightmare of suffering from finger injury! This scary thought was made scarier recently when the god of the Acoustic Guitar Tommy Emmanuel posted a horrifying photo of his finger!

Posted by Tommy Emmanuel on Friday, 24 January 2020

Tommy Emmanuel, suffering from a terrible finger injury!

Unless you have been living under the rock, you would have read that our dearest guitar hero Tommy Emmanuel recently suffered a terrifying finger injury. It took us 5 days to compose ourselves enough to pen this article, reassured by the thought that Tommy is receiving proper care and recovering well.

“My playing life flashed before me this morning as I had a stupid fall and ended up on my back, with my finger dislocated sideways!” 

His finger was dislocated off the ring finger’s proximal interphalangeal joint and was left dangling sideways. The only way to fix this was to pull the dislocated finger outwards and relocate it back in place with a swift and decisive action. If the patient cannot endure the pain in the course of correcting the finger, local anesthesia is necessary. Gulp! Afterwards, the finger will swell and pain will follow because of damage done to the tissues.

Is this the end of Guitar playing for Tommy?

Tommy Emmanuel FB comment

Thankfully, our boom-chicking superhero shows no signs of slowing down! With his show dates packed to the brim for Scotland and England till early February and dates around the world till early June, we can only hope his fingers get adequate rest to prevent complications. Singapore has enjoyed his marvelous performances since 2010 but hardly enough to whet our appetites! So Tommy, if you are reading this, please get well soon and visit us again!

What are common types of finger injuries?

Unless you remain perfectly still every single moment of your life, your fingers are always at risk of getting injured! Here are some activities that are more prone to cause finger injuries. Should you refrain from these activities? Maybe, then again maybe not.

  • Rock Climbing – Requires immense gripping strength and often climbers suffer from inflammation of finger joints.
  • Basketball – Or any ball activities that use your hand. Basketballers frequently suffer from finger jam when the ball crashes into their fingers instead of their palm.
  • Volleyball – Commonly causes fractures because the fingers suffer a great amount of impact during the game.
  • Boxing – Fingers are placed under a high level of impact during a punch when done wrongly or without the correct gear. In this case, not only the opponent is feeling the pain.

Of course, the list can go on. What if you are not an active person, does that mean you are safe from finger injury? Well no… Tommy Emmanuel injured his in a fall. Jimmy Fallon suffered a different kind of finger injury, ring avulsion, also due to falling down. His ring caught his countertop when he was falling, in the process pulling his finger off. In most cases, the remedy for this kind of injury is to amputate that finger.

“Don’t Google it but ring avulsion is a real thing. So basically what it is is my ring got caught on the countertop as I was going down. And stuck there and pulled my finger off… … this happens a lot and the odds… usually they’re just cut your finger off.”

Can playing an instrument wrongly injure the finger?

YES! There are many bad habits out there that cause long-term finger injuries. Most of them are silent killers. It means you are likely to be suffering from it by the time you read about your bad habits in this article!

weird fingers

We call them weird fingers in our teaching slide because we want students to be constantly reminding their friends and themselves that these fingers are weird on the guitar. Once students cultivate the habit of always curling fretting fingers, they will get a good tone and protect their fingers in the process.


In conclusion, musicians are at constant risk of losing their careers to finger injury, unless you are a singer. While there may be many amazing musicians out there with various types of body ‘deformities’, we certainly encourage everyone to take good care of themselves. This way, we can all enjoy playing an instrument for many years to come!

Vinnie Mah

Author Vinnie Mah

More posts by Vinnie Mah

Leave a Reply