Eckart Altenmüller, a leading physician from Hamburg diagnosed Robert Schumann with focal dystonia nearly 200 years after the composer contracted it. By studying diary entires and letters, Altenmüller is convinced Schumann's early desire to be a virtuoso perfomer led him to contract focal dystonia.
There have been various medical explanations that suggest there was an underlying condition that affected his middle finger and eventually made it impossible for him to continue to the level required of him. However, Altenmüller argues that only FD fits with Schuman’s symptoms. Schuman experienced little or no pain despite the deterioration in his finger, he was only affected in his instrumental playing and his personality matched that of someone typically at risk of FD.
Robert Schumann’s Focal Dystonia
See how focal dystonia affects different musicians