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Torn Tendon? How long to heal?
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shurafa


Aug 12, 2007, 9:04 PM
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Torn Tendon? How long to heal?
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I have been climbing off and on for the past 3 years or so. I got back into the sport hard core about a month ago and have been climbing regularly. I had been feeling a bit of stress on my right ring finger tendon. I was climbing on Friday on a steep bouldering route that had a two finger pocket at the crux of the route. I decoded to go for it and felt a pop. I immediately stopped climbing and iced it.

I dont know how serious this sort of injury is as it has never happened to me before. It still hurts to make a fist however I can still make most movements without any pain at all. It only hurts when I have to use my ring finger specifically (like a two finger pocket)

How do you treat this sort of injury? Does it heal 100
% and how long does it take?


shurafa


Aug 12, 2007, 9:29 PM
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Ok so i read a bunch of threads on the forum. looks like it is def a minor tendon pull/tear.

I will rest it until there is no pain when pulling on the single finger.

I also read a bunch about glucosamine to help it heal. does this realy work and how much should you take?

is there a general thread for this sort of info? I did not see one. seems like a very common injury and would be a good sticky.


monkeychild


Aug 13, 2007, 7:33 AM
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Re: [shurafa] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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I did the same thing a few months ago. The best thing you can do for it is ice it untill all the swelling is gone (even if you can't see it) which should take a couple days. Then maybe try heat and lightly stretch it, but if it hurts, stop right away.
Glucosamine seemed to help my finger... it takes a little while to have any effect though.
And stop climbing until there is no pain at all, and then another couple weeks. When you do start climbing, start on easy stuff, tape up, and stop if it hurts. The last thing you want to do is reinjure it.


zeke_sf


Aug 13, 2007, 7:58 AM
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Re: [shurafa] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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I pulled my right ring finger tendon in the gym (not a pocket) near the end of January. Now, 6 months later, I'm considering getting back into sport climbing at the gym (I will NOT gym boulder at all). I'd still say my finger is probably 90%, so get ready for some waiting. I've taken a couple months off completely and for the past 4 months have been gradually coming back. Initially, complete rest along with anti-inflammatories and lots of ice will help. Then, you can start pushing it more when your finger starts feeling better (for me, a month or two). I've also taped around the right wrist and done some x-style taping to suppot the ring finger itself. I don't know how much of this is voodoo style treatment though....You might want to try some trad climbing, as in my experience (and at least one other friend's) jamming cracks, etc. is much less strenuous on your tendon. I've actually been able to push my trad leading level and am finally getting on 5.11 sport climbs outside again. When you start coming back to climbing, be honest with yourself about the pain, and don't repetitively work hard moves as that will probably reinjure you.

I do not have experience with glucosamine, but why not try it? Also, you may want to look for some advice/medical treatment that will help you determine whether you have a pulley tear or a tendon pull. I've read that the pulls take longer to heal but are less prone to reinjury, so that could make a difference in how you behave. Good luck!


erick


Aug 23, 2007, 6:12 PM
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Re: [zeke_sf] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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I just popped the tendons in my left middle and ring fingers. On a finger board.

That's what i get for not warming up...

After 3 days though, it's feeling mighty good already. Considering that i could hardly move those fingers the day after, i must say i'm impressed with how fast it's healing (or at least seems to be).

It'll be hard to stay off of it for a while. *sigh* but i'd be stupid not to let it fully heal b4 getting back out there...


macblaze


Aug 23, 2007, 6:49 PM
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My physio recommended (after the swelling went down) to alternate soaking your hand in cold and hot water to help increase circulation to the injured area. Hands are hard to properly ice/warm so this two sink method works pretty good.

I'll add another warning. I popped my middle finger just before last Xmas and after letting it heal awhile (4-5 weeks) I went back to climbing after taping that sucker so I basically couldn't use it on anything but jugs. This unfortunately transfered the stress to my ring finger and it became an area of significant problems. Thankfully I spent he summer climbing easy stuff and trad (as mentioned above) and they seem to be much better and I'm hoping healed for the winter gym season.


tucsonalex


Aug 23, 2007, 6:53 PM
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Re: [erick] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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I've suffered two torn tendon pullies in my climbing career, this is the type of injury that you can't just "climb through". Depending on the severity of the tear you're looking at 2-4 months of NO climbing at all, and possibly up to a year before you are back at 100%. I sugest reading the information on Aimee's (aimeerose) site http://www.climbinginjuries.com, which will help you determine the severity of the injury and what to do to revcover. I have also heard some good reviews about this book: One Move Too Many...How to Understand the Injuries and Overuse Syndromes of Rock Climbing http://www.rei.com/product/714874 which has information on all types climbing injuries, treatment and prevention.

Good luck in your recovery.


zeke_sf


Aug 24, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Re: [tucsonalex] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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tucsonalex wrote:
I've suffered two torn tendon pullies in my climbing career, this is the type of injury that you can't just "climb through". Depending on the severity of the tear you're looking at 2-4 months of NO climbing at all, and possibly up to a year before you are back at 100%. I sugest reading the information on Aimee's (aimeerose) site http://www.climbinginjuries.com, which will help you determine the severity of the injury and what to do to revcover. I have also heard some good reviews about this book: One Move Too Many...How to Understand the Injuries and Overuse Syndromes of Rock Climbing http://www.rei.com/product/714874 which has information on all types climbing injuries, treatment and prevention.

Good luck in your recovery.

I'm afraid tucsonalex is probably on the money for the recovery time. I've been climbing harder and harder, but my hand just isn't the same yet. I would not be surprised if it is a year before it feels completely normal again.


shurafa


Aug 24, 2007, 7:22 PM
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Re: [tucsonalex] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
tucsonalex wrote:
I've suffered two torn tendon pullies in my climbing career, this is the type of injury that you can't just "climb through". Depending on the severity of the tear you're looking at 2-4 months of NO climbing at all, and possibly up to a year before you are back at 100%. I sugest reading the information on Aimee's (aimeerose) site http://www.climbinginjuries.com, which will help you determine the severity of the injury and what to do to revcover. I have also heard some good reviews about this book: One Move Too Many...How to Understand the Injuries and Overuse Syndromes of Rock Climbing http://www.rei.com/product/714874 which has information on all types climbing injuries, treatment and prevention.

Good luck in your recovery.

Thank you sooo much for your replies. After reading the link and tons of reasearch. I would have to say that I have a mild Grade 2 injury.

It has been two weeks since my injury. I now have no pain when extending my fingers. I am going to try climbing one day next week. Probably do some really easy bouldering and some traversing.

The hardest thing about this injury is that I can do 95% of moves without any pain at all. Its those 5% that scare me as I am paranoid I am going to reinjure it.


erick


Aug 25, 2007, 12:46 PM
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Re: [shurafa] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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well, that article did say that it is good to exercise your injured fingers, and that it is in fact important to do so. That putty is essentially the same thing as doing some *easy* climbing (low angle, almost all feet/legs). But like it says, if there's any pain, STOP. Don't push it...cause i'd wager it wouldn't be worth it once it pops a second time.

for myself, i'm glad to hear from other people who've encountered the same injury, cause otherwise i think i would probably have ended up trying to climb again too soon and end up reinjuring it.

those articles were excellent sources, tucsonalex -- many thanks.


E


shurafa


Sep 14, 2007, 9:31 AM
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Progress Report: One Month later and my progress has seemed to plateau. I still can put very little negative pressure on my ring finger pulley without acute pain. I figured the finger would have started getting stronger by now.

On a more positive note. I have started doing very light climbing with zero pain. Due to the nature of the injury there seems to only be stress on it when I am pulling on a pocket or any other hold that does not allow me to use my index and middle finger. Luckily this does not happen very often.

My goal for the next couple of weeks is to keep climbing easy routes but to start to climb more regularly.


shurafa


Oct 2, 2007, 4:12 PM
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Progress Report: Six weeks later. I still cannot put much negative pressure on my finger without pain. I have a feeling its going to be like that for a long long time. (my hunch is it will be six till its strong and over a year till its fully healed). On the bright side while it is healing slowly it is definitely healing.

I have also started doing more rigerous climbing. I am climbing close to my grade level. Toproping I can climb on anything that is not a pocket or certain underclings. Toproping seems to be the easiest on my injury. As far as bouldering goes its a bit trickier. I still cannot do pockets at all with my ring finger. However that are often random problems that put negative pressure on my ring finger. I am just taking it problem by problem If I feel any pain I just do a different problem.

Not being able to climb has been killing me. I am glad to be back on the wall finally!!!

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to try and get back on a routine of going several times per week. I am also going to try and push it a little and see how that goes.

Once again thanks for all the help. This forum was a life saver for me. I hope my notes are useful to others as well.


shurafa


Nov 5, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Progress Report: 11 Weeks. Have been climbing regularly for the past few weeks. I did a marathon session on Sat spending 10 hours climbing and route setting.

The strength is starting to return. The finger is still relatively week however it is not completely useless anymore. Most of the time I do not feel any adverse effects from the injury while climbing. However on certain moves I do feel a strain.

I still think it will be many months before I am 100%. However I am psyched to be climbing regularly again!

I have noticed a weird clicking going on in my wrist when putting negative pressure on either my ring or middle fingers. It does not hurt however it does not happen on my good wrist at all. I am going to keep an eye on this as I am not sure what it is exactly.


onceahardman


Nov 5, 2007, 4:33 PM
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Re: [shurafa] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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what do you mean by "negative pressure?"

physically, negative pressure means a vacuum, or relative vacuum.


shurafa


Nov 5, 2007, 4:41 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] Torn Tendon? How long to heal? [In reply to]
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That was the best way I could think to describe the pain.

Let me clarify:

If I put my hand on a table palm up and then try and close my fist while holding back the fingers with the other hand. Sort of like how a doctor would test you if you have a tendon injury. It is the hand closing movement with resistance that causes discomfort.

I can probably pull with 50% of my strength relative to my other fingers before I feel acute pain.


onceahardman


Nov 5, 2007, 7:20 PM
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ok, got it. resisted finger flexion causes pain. the muscles which perform finger flexion are in your forearm, and the amount of strain causing the primary injury may have also damaged the tendon farther down, where it crosses the wrist.

there is no easy answer to your question, but try to focus on the improvement. dont just focus on the pain that remains.

i would gently strengthen it, using manual resistance, at a sub-painful level. it should continue improving.


shurafa


Feb 7, 2011, 3:45 PM
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3.5 years later this is still my weakest finger. Its probably at about 75%. I also periodically reinjure it since it is still sensitive to certain moves.

I did some rehab but not as much as I probably should have.


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