pianists and injuries, piano

The way I fell spared me: Kaiser Orthopedics

Dr. Gon, a veteran fracture and soft tissue injury specialist, showed me my x-rays today, officially ruling out fractures of my right hand, wrist, arm and elbow, while he explained how my whole arm bruised at three critical junctures, caused the intense pain I experienced from the initial trauma of my fall. He tested my extended reach which was good, and pressed on the elbow radial that remains the hottest point of bruising. However, the fact that I fell without throwing my wrists forward, prevented fractures, he insisted. The left side, though having knee and hand scrapes, was completely spared bruising, most likely because the bag of over-ripe persimmons clasped in my left hand, provided a soft cushioned defense against my body’s weighty impact that shifted over to my right side.

Dr. Gon also emphasized that my upper body workouts and muscular development were additional factors in preventing bone fractures. Basically, my bones are not brittle.

What he sent me away with:
“Keep icing as directed, especially the elbow region, and don’t use the sling except for sparing intervals.”

The splint had already been okayed for removal when radiology established no fractures. (It was pro forma to splint and immobilize the arm for at least 48-72 hours following my fall)

Dr. Gon approved my Gravitron and Pull-up gym routines, as surprising at that might sound.

at the gym with cloth wrap crop

The extreme rotations that are part of certain fitness regimens, or lifting weights beyond 5 lbs. are not recommended, but my workouts never enlisted weights in the first place or what would include arm or wrist rotations. Same applied to push-ups that I don’t include in my daily routines because of stress to my wrists.

Dr. Gon also gave a thumbs up to my piano playing, moderated to what would not twist my right elbow beyond a personally tolerable point. So far, I’m modulating rotations, but feel quite comfortable in the mode I have adjusted too. (The fingers are flying without impediment)

The school of thought, it appears, is not to immobilize the arm/hand when there are no fractures, but to re-establish or gradate movements as soon as possible. (He anticipated that in “2 to three weeks,” I would be bruise free)

Yesterday I taught three SKYPE students using both hands, without a sign of discomfort and was surprised that I could apply downward weight transfer on the right side. (though I was moderating pressure to conform with my comfort zone)

This is a night and day improvement from Saturday evening and Sunday, when the pain alone was immobilizing.

It has to be some kind of miracle, therefore, that my body continues to heal nicely, which thankfully removes me from the League of Left Handers, though for about 48 hours I was braced for challenges of practicing, and typing with one hand; dressing; combing my hair; and navigating simple tasks that I took for granted when I had the use of of both hands.

Finally, I cannot overemphasize the gratitude I owe to all my amazing friends from far and wide, who sent their thoughts and prayers my way, and naturally, I register a Big Thank You to Dr. Gon for his amazing care and advice.

His last words, “BE MINDFUL when you walk!”

So when braving cracked and pitted Berkeley sidewalks my eyes now veer DOWN though with this singular focus, bicyclists might bump me off from behind. (Why on earth do they ride among pedestrians?) Same for skate boarders, scooter enthusiasts, and marathon runners. WATCH OUT! You need eyes in back of your head!

About Martin Gon, MD


“I have been an orthopedist with Kaiser Permanente, treating fractures and soft tissue injuries since 1986. I truly enjoy the diversity of patients in my practice as well as the spectrum of the very young to the very old. I feel that my role is to help optimize the function of the individual patient to let him/her be the best that he/she can be. The importance of patient participation in their rehabilitation process is crucial to the success of treatment, and cannot be emphasized enough. Part of my practice includes the teaching and training medicine/pediatrics residents in taking care of orthopedic problems (I have been doing this for over 10 years!), and I would like to take this time to thank my patients for their patience and wisdom. My special interests are in the biomechanics/pathology of injuries, both sports and non-sports related, and frozen shoulders.

“My parting advice for keeping the body and joints happy from an orthopedist’s perspective?…Stay active all through your life and S-T-R-E-T-C-H!! ”

Medical Education UC Davis School of Medicine,
Davis, CA
Internship Los Angeles County/University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA
Residency UC Davis School of Medicine,
Davis, CA


11 thoughts on “The way I fell spared me: Kaiser Orthopedics”

  1. Excellent news that you’re no longer a left-hander. Just viewed more and learned more from your tutorial on the Chopin E minor prelude of three years ago. Happy Thanksgiving!


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