Forums: Climbing Information: Injury Treatment and Prevention:
My Flexor Digitorum Profundus Healing Log
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Injury Treatment and Prevention

Premier Sponsor:

 


chalkhamster


Nov 25, 2010, 12:35 PM
Post #1 of 12 (5694 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Posts: 15

My Flexor Digitorum Profundus Healing Log
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey everyone, I'm more or less a lurker on here, but had my first serious climbing injury back in late October. I've been climbing for almost three years with nothing more than a minor case of elbow tendonitis. What I've written below is the account of my healing process; I'm not making suggestions on how you should treat a flexor injury, and by all means, if you can afford to visit a doctor, you should probably do so.

On the day of my injury I was working on a boulder problem with a dynamic first move to a three finger half pad crimp. After a couple of tries I stuck the hold and immediately felt an "electrical surge" through my left arm coupled with an audible and tangible pop. Obviously, it was a tendon injury. I sat down and stopped climbing for about half an hour and was able to pinpoint the location, the ring finger on my left hand. Any pressure on my fingertip resulted in a surge of pain through my left forearm. I then made the foolish and risky decision to keep climbing on it. (We were bouldering in an area that normally has restricted access, and many of the problems were FA's put up that day). I had very little swelling, but the arm definitely felt weak and there was a dull ache that began almost immediately after the injury.

We came back to the house that night and I began icing and taking Advil. The next day it hurt to even hold a glass of water with my left hand. After some research I concluded my injury was the flexor digitorum profundus, seeing as the pain was most severe when applying pressure to the distal phalanges.

A friend of mine recommended a homeopathic salve that had helped him with a recent shoulder injury. I figured that for $8, it couldn't hurt right? I started using a comfrey salve on Day 2, three times a day, still icing and taking Advil.

I build furniture for a living and was worried about the healing process, seeing as it requires a lot of finger pressure to hold a board steady when pushing it through the table saw or cutting a piece of crown on a miter saw. I tried to baby the finger as much as possible at work, but it was nothing that I was going to take time off of work for.

Day 5: I stopped taking Advil and stopped with the once a day icing, continuing to use the salve three times a day. The swelling seems to have disappeared around day 3 or 4, and normal activities ceased to be painful.

Day 12: I headed the YMCA to work out, focusing on cardio and core conditioning, but even doing some lat pull downs and dead hanging on a pull up bar while doing some leg lifts.

Day 16/17: We had completely stripped our wall at the Y, so I spent the weekend putting up new routes and boulder problems. This left me hanging on holds from time to time up on the wall (but I was grabbing jugs and more or less hanging in my harness). I did however, try a couple of easy boulder problems that I had put up without any pain.

Day 24: Headed to the Red for the weekend (we had made plans for this back in August), originally intending not to climb at all, but only watch. Yeah right... I wound up leading up to 5.10, babying the arm, climbing six pitches throughout the day. I did feel a slight pain on a slopey undercling pinch near the top of a 5.10b, as I concentrated on maintaining body tension while I highstepped on some crappy smears. The pain subsided as soon as I let go of this hold. No pain or soreness the next day.

Day 28: Still using the comfrey salve. I went to the climbing gym, climbed about half a dozen pitches and some easy boulder problems, and then lifted weights. No pain during the workout, although I may have slightly overstressed the arm, seeing as it just felt weak in the following couple of days.

Day 35 (today): Last Thanksgiving I went bouldering on Black Friday. Obviously that will not be happening this year. The couple of times I was able to climb this past month were extremely therapeutic, just getting to engage in climbing movement felt amazing! However, It would be wonderful to be cranking at full force in a few months, so I'm going to back off on climbing, sticking with the core and weightlifting workouts for now.

John.


(This post was edited by chalkhamster on Nov 25, 2010, 4:03 PM)


jbro_135


Nov 25, 2010, 3:32 PM
Post #2 of 12 (5676 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 14, 2009
Posts: 662

Re: [chalkhamster] My Flexor Digitorum Profundus Healing Log [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

you should really stop climbing and give it some time to heal completely


(This post was edited by jbro_135 on Nov 25, 2010, 3:33 PM)


onceahardman


Nov 26, 2010, 2:44 PM
Post #3 of 12 (5629 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 3, 2007
Posts: 2473

Re: [chalkhamster] My Flexor Digitorum Profundus Healing Log [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:
Obviously, it was a tendon injury.

Why is this so obvious?


marc801


Nov 26, 2010, 4:05 PM
Post #4 of 12 (5622 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 1, 2005
Posts: 2747

Re: [chalkhamster] My Flexor Digitorum Profundus Healing Log [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

chalkhamster wrote:
A friend of mine recommended a homeopathic salve that had helped him with a recent shoulder injury. I figured that for $8, it couldn't hurt right? I started using a comfrey salve on Day 2, three times a day, still icing and taking Advil.
That's bloody hilarious! An external salve for a ruptured tendon! Homeopathic (= bull shit quackery) no less!!!

Tell you what. Why don't you send me $1000 and I'll chant incantations to heal your injury. It couldn't hurt, right?


chalkhamster


Nov 26, 2010, 4:24 PM
Post #5 of 12 (5618 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Posts: 15

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

onceahardman wrote:
In reply to:
Obviously, it was a tendon injury.

Why is this so obvious?

Well I should have said "I think..." I spent a good four hours two days in a row pouring over this and other forums and websites and came to the above conclusion. Am I right? I don't know. I have only tried to make an educated guess, seeing as I don't have the money to visit a doctor. If you have a hunch that it might be something else, I'm all ears.



marc801 wrote:
chalkhamster wrote:
A friend of mine recommended a homeopathic salve that had helped him with a recent shoulder injury. I figured that for $8, it couldn't hurt right? I started using a comfrey salve on Day 2, three times a day, still icing and taking Advil.
That's bloody hilarious! An external salve for a ruptured tendon! Homeopathic (= bull shit quackery) no less!!!

Tell you what. Why don't you send me $1000 and I'll chant incantations to heal your injury. It couldn't hurt, right?

There's a big difference between $10 and $1000. Thanks for your offer though. As I mentioned above, a doctor's visit is not in my budget, nor money for treatment.

The wiki page on comfrey actually has some interesting things to say. If nothing else, massaging the arm with salve at least promotes fresh blood flow.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfrey


marc801


Nov 26, 2010, 5:53 PM
Post #6 of 12 (5606 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 1, 2005
Posts: 2747

Re: [chalkhamster] Re: [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

chalkhamster wrote:
The wiki page on comfrey actually has some interesting things to say.
I'll say. It's basically a low grade poison.

chalkhamster wrote:
If nothing else, massaging the arm with salve at least promotes fresh blood flow.
It's the massaging, not the salve, that promotes blood flow. You could massage with olive oil and get identical results.


onceahardman


Nov 27, 2010, 5:51 AM
Post #7 of 12 (5566 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 3, 2007
Posts: 2473

Re: [chalkhamster] Re: [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

chalkhamster wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
In reply to:
Obviously, it was a tendon injury.

Why is this so obvious?

Well I should have said "I think..." I spent a good four hours two days in a row pouring over this and other forums and websites and came to the above conclusion. Am I right? I don't know. I have only tried to make an educated guess, seeing as I don't have the money to visit a doctor. If you have a hunch that it might be something else, I'm all ears.


Aside from the pain, the primary sign of a torn tendon will be loss of function of the muscle/tendon unit involved. If you are still climbing 5.10, and doing some easy bouldering, you would have certainly noticed that you no longer have active flexion of the distal phalanx of the 4th digit.

If the tendon was completely torn, no cream, lotion, or potion will re-connect it. The tendon will retract, and cannot re-approximate without surgical intervention.

Since you still likely have function of the 4th FDP, and you felt pain in the forearm, I'd suspect a strain/partial tear of the musculotendinous junction of FDP. These heal pretty well, since there is a much better blood supply.

You may also have strained a pulley or two during the time the peak force was applied. It's a good clinical sign that you are improving, but I strongly doubt the magic potion did anything at all.

Rest, but keep it moving. Consider "buddy taping" to your middle finger at work.


Lokie


Nov 28, 2010, 4:11 PM
Post #8 of 12 (5513 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 4, 2007
Posts: 19

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

Yeah, I've got to agree with the poster above me. I had a partial tear of my FDP, and it took over 6 months before I could put any weight on it. It was over a year before I felt like it had completely healed.


chalkhamster


Nov 30, 2010, 5:11 PM
Post #9 of 12 (5468 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Posts: 15

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

onceahardman wrote:
You may also have strained a pulley or two during the time the peak force was applied.

If this had occured, wouldn't I feel this as well? The pain that has occured has been almost entirely concentrated in the forearm area. I've never had a pulley tear, but I was under the impression that you would feel it in the finger joints.

onceahardman wrote:
Rest, but keep it moving. Consider "buddy taping" to your middle finger at work.

By rest, I'm guessing this includes avoiding activities other than climbing as well, such as weight lifting? I know that sounds like a stupid question and my logic may be flawed, but initially my main worry was reinjuring a tendon, not muscle tissue. However, if I have a tear at the musculotendinous junction, it would seem any activity that could potentially stress or tear muscle tissue in my arms should be avoided?


onceahardman


Nov 30, 2010, 5:57 PM
Post #10 of 12 (5464 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 3, 2007
Posts: 2473

Re: [chalkhamster] Re: [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

chalkhamster wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
You may also have strained a pulley or two during the time the peak force was applied.

If this had occured, wouldn't I feel this as well? The pain that has occured has been almost entirely concentrated in the forearm area. I've never had a pulley tear, but I was under the impression that you would feel it in the finger joints.

Yes. You would feel it in the finger. The key word for me was, you feel the pain almost entirely in the forearm. If that really means entirely, then OK, just forget the possible minor pulley strain.

Rest from climbing. Never heard of a FDP injury from general weightlifting. Buddy taping can help you avoid doing something stupid.


chalkhamster


Jan 1, 2011, 7:30 PM
Post #11 of 12 (5263 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Posts: 15

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

Update: I'm approaching the 10 week mark now and not too much has changed. I've been climbing once since mid November and that was about two weeks ago. I went out for a few hours and did some easy bouldering and was pain free until I tried a V4ish problem and felt some slight pain from a sloper when trying to pull myself off the ground. I backed off from working that problem and made a few attempts on a neighboring, easier problem and called it a day. There was no lingering pain from climbing and the pain that I felt was alleviated when I released the handhold.

Oddly enough, I have noticed a brief, slight twinge of pain from time to time doing the most simplest of tasks (pulling keys out of my pocket, holding a beer with my left hand while popping the cap, sliding a kitchen cabinet door that we have in our kitchen, etc.). Movement would have to be the culprit, seeing as the amount of force needed to complete these activities is minimal. For comparison, I move a 60ish pound mitre saw around at work from time to time, move lots of heavy lumber, and work on cars frequently where I am required to use a lot of force breaking a bolt loose and haven't felt pain from these activities. Go figure.

I'm going to work on seeing a Doctor and getting an MRI and am going hold off on climbing until I get that done or for at least another month.

I suppose thats about it for now.


Hudson


Apr 13, 2011, 8:04 PM
Post #12 of 12 (4921 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 17, 2010
Posts: 2

Re: [chalkhamster] Re: [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

This sounds a lot like what happened to me. This is long but you might find it useful:
http://climbinginjuries.com/forums/read.php?8,516


Forums : Climbing Information : Injury Treatment and Prevention

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$17.95 (10% off)
$53.96 (10% off)
$4.95 (10% off)
$1.58 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook