Forums: Climbing Information: Injury Treatment and Prevention:
stiff, sore knuckles
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Injury Treatment and Prevention

Premier Sponsor:

 


brachialis


Oct 12, 2008, 9:42 PM
Post #1 of 10 (9105 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 3, 2008
Posts: 40

stiff, sore knuckles
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'm 25 and have been climbing fairly often and at a reasonably high level for a little over five years now. I find that frequent climbing for me tends to result not in tendon soreness/ injury but in stiff, sore knuckles. Though I very rarely use a closed crimp grip, I spend about 2 - 3 times as much time climbing on on edges and pockets as open-hand slopers (less the effect of personal preference than what the local rock/ gym offers)

A veteran climber (30+ years experience) suggested to me that under certain grips, segments of the fingers are slightly pulled apart, allowing fluid to enter the joint while under load and thereby create stiff, sore knuckles. While it seems plausible, is this theory correct? While I know I could mitigate this by climbing less often, I'm not so certain that altering grip technique is an option: if relying on relatively open-hand grip positions contributes to this problem and harder crimping would mitigate it, I'd prefer to maintain my current technique, as the soreness/ stiffness is far better than a torn pulley tendon. So, any theories of how to treat the symptoms?


wmfork


Oct 12, 2008, 11:01 PM
Post #2 of 10 (9091 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 3, 2006
Posts: 348

Re: [brachialis] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I hear ya. I've got pretty swollen knuckles that I'm contemplating stop climbing for a couple of months. The latest rock&ice has an article with a stretching video link:
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=IMO__OrzM_U

Good luck.


brachialis


Oct 12, 2008, 11:10 PM
Post #3 of 10 (9087 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 3, 2008
Posts: 40

Re: [wmfork] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thanks for the link. The stretch seems mainly for the collateral ligaments? Or maybe it's effective for the whole joint - not sure. In any case, I'll give it a go, except for a couple fingers on my left hand, where earlier in the year I tore the collaterals doing some finger stacks :)


asiaclimber


Oct 13, 2008, 12:55 AM
Post #4 of 10 (9067 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 21, 2007
Posts: 214

Re: [brachialis] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arthritis/AR00030
this worked wonders for me. I am only 27 and have the same issue.


onceahardman


Oct 13, 2008, 7:05 AM
Post #5 of 10 (9027 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 3, 2007
Posts: 2459

Re: [brachialis] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
A veteran climber (30+ years experience) suggested to me that under certain grips, segments of the fingers are slightly pulled apart, allowing fluid to enter the joint while under load and thereby create stiff, sore knuckles. While it seems plausible, is this theory correct?

Nearly all the joints in the body are synovial joints, that is, they are surrounded by a joint capsule, or synovium. The synovium is a bag of connective tissue, which defines the limits of the joint. (Everything inside is joint, everything outside is the rest of the body). Aside from adding stability, the synovium also makes synovial fluid, which provides nutrition to the avascular joint surfaces. (avascular= no blood supply).

So, there is already fluid within a normal joint.

Increased fluid inside the synovium is called joint effusion, which is a clear sign of inflammation of the joint.

Inflammation of a joint = arthritis. You are exercising beyond your joints' capacity for repair. Your body will respond by forming scar tissue and calcium deposits called osteophytes, or bone spurs.

Rest.


(This post was edited by onceahardman on Oct 13, 2008, 10:30 AM)


rsd212


Apr 14, 2011, 11:47 AM
Post #6 of 10 (7227 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 12, 2008
Posts: 95

Re: [onceahardman] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'm just getting back into climbing after another (non-climbing) injury and my knuckles are very stiff after an evening of steep gym bouldering. This thread describes it perfectly, but I find the quickest and most satisfying relief is to crack my knuckles. I've been a chronic knuckle-cracker as far as I've remembered, and the morning after a good day of climbing I find I can pop pretty loudly every 15 minutes or so. Am I doing more damage here? Some quick googling is inconclusive - there doesn't seem to be a direct knuckle crack to arthritis link, but some sources say grip strength can be reduced (which is obviously a concern of mine...)


flesh


Apr 21, 2011, 2:20 PM
Post #7 of 10 (7100 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 11, 2011
Posts: 413

Re: [rsd212] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Find a way to only crimp 10% of your climbing no more than twice a month. If you get creative, you'll find a way to do it. Or keep doing it, those sore knuckles will end up in partially torn knuckles. No fun. Sounds like you don't have bionic connective tissue like most of the elite.

I use to pay the local routesetter at my gym 20 dollars for every slopy/pinch problem he would set for me at the grade of my choosing. He was very happy about this arrangement.


cmceown


Apr 27, 2011, 10:26 PM
Post #8 of 10 (6988 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 28, 2010
Posts: 6

Re: [brachialis] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I find I have a similar problem if I climb several days in a row - gets to the stage where I can't clench a fist without forcing my hand closed with the other hand.

A really simple way to alleviate the stiffness (and consequently the soreness) is to run your fingers under very warm water - sounds ridiculously simple but solves the problem for me in about 30 seconds.

I also do a lot of stretching of my finger joints (when warm) to improve range of motion and rub them with Emu oil which is meant to have anti-inflammatory properties.


LimaBeans


May 4, 2011, 3:27 PM
Post #9 of 10 (6852 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 15, 2010
Posts: 11

Re: [brachialis] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Had the exact same issue, and acupuncture helped immensely.


saint_john


May 6, 2011, 7:23 AM
Post #10 of 10 (6802 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 4, 2010
Posts: 494

Re: [LimaBeans] stiff, sore knuckles [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

rest. it's the best medicine.


Forums : Climbing Information : Injury Treatment and Prevention

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook