I have a problem with pain in my right middle finger. It basically prohibits me from playing electric bass (it's my plucking hand).

When I pluck for too long, or simply wag the finger in the air, it feels as if there is a clamp squeezing right on one side of the middle knuckle. Further, when I wag my right middle finger and my left middle finger in the air, the left (good) finger can move a lot longer and a lot faster than the right finger--the bad finger simply slows down and starts hurting.

I noticed when I started playing at age 12 that I could not pluck continously as fast as other bassists; over the next 13 years, the problem has been getting worse and more painful.

I went to two separate orthopedic doctors about this, both hand specialists. Both were rather baffled. The two diagnoses suggested were synovitis (inflammation of the lubricating fluid around the joint) or irritation from a bone spur (abnormal growth of excess bone).

I had corticosteroid injections and physical therapy to check if the problem was synovitis. Neither helped. The X-rays checking for bone spurs were inconclusive. The orthopedic doctors suggested I press hard against the area of the finger where the pain occurs and see if it hurts compared to doing the same to other fingers; if so, that would indicate a bone spur. I noticed no difference. I declined surgery to check for and, if found, remove bone spurs.

I had an MRI at one point. It showed nothing unusual. I have also tried methods to remove tension--the Alexander Technique, Rolfing, massage, meditation, etc. Nothing. I am convinced the problem is not psychological.

Nerves have not been tested. I don't know what kind of doctor would do that. I am asking the forum if anyone knows what kind of doctor I might consult either for nerve problems or for any other type of check.

This has caused me to switch career paths. Now I can't even play bass as I would like to for a hobby. Help!