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RoryMcMahon


Aug 29, 2011, 11:52 AM
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Finger injuries
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Hey guys, I just started bouldering about 2 months ago, a couple weeks in, two of my joints started to hurt due to crimping. I stopped climbing for a couple weeks and then continued climbing with tape. They don't seem to bother me much while a climb as long as I avoid pockets and crimping, when I'm not climbing they still are a little stiff though. Is there any sort of exercises I can do to help me get through the recovery process? I really want to avoid not climbing, I've been trying to focus on overhang routes with lots of jugs, and also routes with more open hand holds.


flesh


Aug 30, 2011, 10:55 AM
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Re: [RoryMcMahon] Finger injuries [In reply to]
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RoryMcMahon wrote:
Hey guys, I just started bouldering about 2 months ago, a couple weeks in, two of my joints started to hurt due to crimping. I stopped climbing for a couple weeks and then continued climbing with tape. They don't seem to bother me much while a climb as long as I avoid pockets and crimping, when I'm not climbing they still are a little stiff though. Is there any sort of exercises I can do to help me get through the recovery process? I really want to avoid not climbing, I've been trying to focus on overhang routes with lots of jugs, and also routes with more open hand holds.

Well, if they aren't hurting much when you don't crimp, don't crimp. It's probably normal for them to hurt a little bit as long as when your push on them the pain isn't acute, or acute when climbing.

Psychologically, you face a basic challenge most climbers will face. You dearly want to improve but you need to balance it with avoiding injury. IMO, the greatest challenge most will face when it comes to improvement is just that. If there was one thing I would do different over the years it would be to avoid injury at ALL costs. Do whatever it takes to prevent injury.

If you have to take off a month, do it. If you have to only climb once a week, do it. If you have to limit crimping to 5% of your climbing, do it. If you can't boulder without getting injured, don't.

Every time you get a bad injury, it sets you back. You may need to take offa month or in some cases years, to heal. Then it will take months for you to get back to your high point. Next, you'll spend months improving beyond your highpoint. Then you get injured again and it starts all over again.

Have the discipline and vision necessary to learn from my mistakes. If you goal is to get better asap, you'll need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid injury and balance this with pushing yourself.

For example, I'm going to FONT for a month in october. I know that I can't crimp much without injury. I also know that in FONT It will be more difficult to convince myself not to crimp. I'll be sucked in by other trying a classic line that may have some crimps on it. To prepare for this, for the next 1.5 months, I'm making an extra effort to climb only open handed. I have a project at the gym that's all cobbles, slopers and pinches. I'm hangboarding only open handed. Only openhanding crimps. This will allow my fingers to heal and be a bit more prepared to handle the beating I'll deliver. Also, in the last week or so before I go I'll be taking two days off between climbing days and lowering the volume of climbing as well.

You've got to make a concious effort to avoid injury. Work on convincing yourself that you'll make the most improvement by being disciplined. If your struggling with it, having a hard time believing that less is more sometimes, trust those of us who have been there and learn from our mistakes.

Good luck, if your like most people, you won't have what it takes to to prevent injury and you'll pay the price by hitting a plateau for years and getting frustrated and quitting and go to some new sport where you'll do the same thing.


ceebo


Aug 30, 2011, 11:36 AM
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On the other hand, perhaps a climber can really handle 5 sessions per week when they think they can only do 3. That would be just as bad as a injurys imo.


RoryMcMahon


Aug 30, 2011, 8:25 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I do want to avoid injuries at all cost, I don't want to be old and have my arms and hands full of arthritis and scar tissue. I also want to get as good as I can at the sport, and maybe some day do it competitively. After a couple weeks of climbing I was able to do some V4s and a V5, is it possible that I'm progressing too fast for what my body can handle?


ghisino


Aug 31, 2011, 3:30 AM
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Re: [RoryMcMahon] Finger injuries [In reply to]
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as you are new to the sport...

-in most tech-heavy sport the bulk of the first years is mileage at a relatively low intensity, with a lot of focus on technique drills.
During this phase you'd want to increase your weekly volume more than the intensity.
Basically, if it feels fun and feels easy, climb it, the more the better.
Approach things as a kid would : play, play, play.

The objectives of this phase are :
-build a physical base on which you'll be able to train hard, but safely later on
-get the basics of technique especially in terms of full-body awareness (balance, tension, momentum)
-build your taste. Really having fun at climbing is a partially learning skill, and it is better to learn it sooner than later.

BUT

-climbing is a high-impact sport. you generally can't handle the same workload (in terms of hours) that a swimmer would, for instance.



so you need to learn the difference between "stiff" fingers and pain, and to learn which kind of climbing has the higher training value for the less impact.

pain managing tips

-if it hurts while climbing, not good, stop.

-if it keeps hurting awhen resting, even without touching it, ice it as soon as you can, tape the finger for the first 3 days so that you can't bend it.
Ice for 10' 3 times a day, don't take NSAID unless the pain is unbearable.
Then try to move your finger over a full range of motion and if it does not hurt stop icing and taping, but keep resting until the week is over, then have a gentle climbing test (with taping)

-if it hurts only if you apply a firm pressure on some part of your finger, but the pain disappears once you are warmed up, you can climb very carefully at a low intensity. This is usually a marker for a minor injury/chronic inflammation, the key is not making it worse.



low-impact climbing.

Geneally speaking, "rounded", fatty shapes are the most finger friendly.
A rounded jug is more friendly than a radically incut one for instance.
Cobbles of sizes going form a tennis ball to a softball, slopers, fat pinches are great too.

in any case pay attention to how your fingers feel some hours after a training session. This will tell you if you've been working on comfy enough holds.


what you do not need to worry about
knuckles feeling "swollen" in the morning, after a evening training session. It is a perfectly normal self-healing reaction and if it goes away within 30 minutes of getting out of bed, it is not a sign of injury.



how/when to start climbing harder (ie things that require serious effort on a subjective level)

after one-two years.


RoryMcMahon


Aug 31, 2011, 12:02 PM
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Re: [ghisino] Finger injuries [In reply to]
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It seems like for a while I should just focus on my technique and training instead of trying to progress on routes as fast as I can. Would it be bad to do hangboard exercises before my tendons are completely healed? I know it takes a long time for tendons to build so I want to start asap, but I also want them to heal asap.


johnwesely


Aug 31, 2011, 1:25 PM
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RoryMcMahon wrote:
It seems like for a while I should just focus on my technique and training instead of trying to progress on routes as fast as I can. Would it be bad to do hangboard exercises before my tendons are completely healed? I know it takes a long time for tendons to build so I want to start asap, but I also want them to heal asap.

It would be bad.


spikeddem


Aug 31, 2011, 2:09 PM
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RoryMcMahon wrote:
It seems like for a while I should just focus on my technique and training instead of trying to progress on routes as fast as I can. Would it be bad to do hangboard exercises before my tendons are completely healed? I know it takes a long time for tendons to build so I want to start asap, but I also want them to heal asap.

How did you go from saying you should focus on technique to asking about hangboarding?


adelphos


Aug 31, 2011, 4:57 PM
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Dude, take a break and let your fingers heal. Go a week past the pain before hitting it hard again. Those injuries aren't like muscle injuries, you can't really train through them. The added workouts are likely causing additional injury and could create a chronic condition.

Climbing is a lifetime sport so take your time. What's your rush?


RoryMcMahon


Aug 31, 2011, 5:56 PM
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It's just addicting, I don't want to stop. On the other hand I do need to let it heal completely. My month pass is up setember 10th so I might see a doctor and rest for a while.

When I said focus on technique, it was followed by "and training" I'm nowhere where I need to be strength wise. My foreams and upperback aren't where I want them too be.

Ill be sure to wait on the tendon training until everythings healthy, the last thing I want is a chronic injury.


Rufsen


Aug 31, 2011, 11:32 PM
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Re: [RoryMcMahon] Finger injuries [In reply to]
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RoryMcMahon wrote:
It's just addicting, I don't want to stop. On the other hand I do need to let it heal completely. My month pass is up setember 10th so I might see a doctor and rest for a while.

When I said focus on technique, it was followed by "and training" I'm nowhere where I need to be strength wise. My foreams and upperback aren't where I want them too be.

Ill be sure to wait on the tendon training until everythings healthy, the last thing I want is a chronic injury.

I'we had quite a few pulley injuries. My fingers are just not made for hard crimping i guess.

The last time i had one i took a week completely off. And then spent 3-4 weeks climbing easy routes. Stuff i can onsight 90 % of the time.

It was completely healed in a month.

The first injury i had took over six months to heal because i kept trying hard stuff too early.

You wont get too weak after a month of easy climbing, you will get weak after six.


ghisino


Sep 1, 2011, 2:38 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Finger injuries [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
RoryMcMahon wrote:
It seems like for a while I should just focus on my technique and training instead of trying to progress on routes as fast as I can. Would it be bad to do hangboard exercises before my tendons are completely healed? I know it takes a long time for tendons to build so I want to start asap, but I also want them to heal asap.

It would be bad.

i do not agree.

don't get me wrong, i wouldn't advise him to go and pull as hard as he can.

but when the healing process is almost done and the fingers need to be progressively loaded again a wise and very careful use of the fingerboard might be better than climbing, depending on which climber he is.

the key is to be able to push on the ground with both feet and use them to fine tune the load, starting form a full-standing position where you basically just touch the holds without even pulling.
And remembering that it's rehab, not training. It is supposed to be gentle stuff.

especially useful if he is not yet able to climb "in full control" even on easy ground, for whatever reason.
(eg if a foot slip is always likely to occur, even on bigger footholds. Now, foot slip=shock load on the finger=injuried again)


ghisino


Sep 1, 2011, 2:50 AM
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Re: [RoryMcMahon] Finger injuries [In reply to]
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RoryMcMahon wrote:
My foreams and upperback aren't where I want them too be.

if you are new to the sport (less than 2 years in it) this approach is a recipe for disaster dude.


first you neet to grow stronger pulleys and tendons. That is best done with tons of low-intensity work and that's what i mean when i say that "you need to build a physical base"

you need to because your hands are not made for climbing. You are a human, you are built for walking. You are not a monkey.


if you build your pulling muscles from the start, without being patient for those fuckin 2 years of "boring easy climbing", you have two scenarios :
a) you're lucky to have a fair share of monkey genes, or you've done another hand-intense activity before (lots of masturbation with both hands?) and so your pulleys and other soft tissues are already at the required level.
Bingo, in 2 years you'll be crushing, at least on the finger and campus boards (and also on actual climbing if you have a real talent for learning body movement)

b)you get injuried, possibly very badly all at once, possibly many small repeated injuries.


then you can decide that you don't plan to stay in the sport for very long so want to give it your best shot over the next three, four years before moving to another thing.

Perfectly legit, just let me tell you that i've been training long enough to see several dudes get into climbing and making the bet...
The odds are something like 1 real champion and a couple of campus freak shows who climb like a pile of shit every 10 climbers that go for that "i want it all i want it now" approach to the sport.
That means that 7 out of 10 either lose interest very quickly (broken egos?) or get injuried.

I am being honest and i have nothing to lose or win in giving you such advice. I have no interest whatsoever in "holding you back" and nobody has.


the other approach of 2 easy years can make you leave the sport out ove boredom but won't prevent later success if you stay in it, and most importantly, is a bet with greater odds in your favor, because you're at least fixing the "not built for climbing" issue.
I have been climbing at the same exact level i've started at for 5 years and that did not hold me from making fast progress as soon as i started training hard. ***
Do you get that the rocket-fast improvement has been made possible by the fundmentals that those 5 years had laid down, in terms of technique, "feel", experience, and fingers' resistance to improper use such as, uhm, rock climbing?



You have elements for an informed decision. Just make it and stop whining.



















***(from 5.10 to 5.12 in 6 months of bouldering gym. 13a in 3 years. But 9 years after my first gym ride my best redpoint is "only" 13b...which should tell you what kind of learning curve you should expect, and should also tell you that no matter what level you can potentially reach, if your biggest drive is seeking a performance improvement over time, one day you will get seriously frustrated)


(This post was edited by ghisino on Sep 1, 2011, 3:20 AM)


johnwesely


Sep 1, 2011, 3:34 AM
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ghisino wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
RoryMcMahon wrote:
It seems like for a while I should just focus on my technique and training instead of trying to progress on routes as fast as I can. Would it be bad to do hangboard exercises before my tendons are completely healed? I know it takes a long time for tendons to build so I want to start asap, but I also want them to heal asap.

It would be bad.

i do not agree.

don't get me wrong, i wouldn't advise him to go and pull as hard as he can.

but when the healing process is almost done and the fingers need to be progressively loaded again a wise and very careful use of the fingerboard might be better than climbing, depending on which climber he is.

the key is to be able to push on the ground with both feet and use them to fine tune the load, starting form a full-standing position where you basically just touch the holds without even pulling.
And remembering that it's rehab, not training. It is supposed to be gentle stuff.

especially useful if he is not yet able to climb "in full control" even on easy ground, for whatever reason.
(eg if a foot slip is always likely to occur, even on bigger footholds. Now, foot slip=shock load on the finger=injuried again)

I just think that if is self control and body awareness is such that he is injured after two months, he might not be a prime candidate for fingerboard rehab.


flesh


Sep 1, 2011, 10:29 AM
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RoryMcMahon wrote:
It's just addicting, I don't want to stop. On the other hand I do need to let it heal completely. My month pass is up setember 10th so I might see a doctor and rest for a while.

When I said focus on technique, it was followed by "and training" I'm nowhere where I need to be strength wise. My foreams and upperback aren't where I want them too be.

Ill be sure to wait on the tendon training until everythings healthy, the last thing I want is a chronic injury.

Listen to the story your telling yourself, "It's addicting
, I don't want to stop".

Clearly, you're very motivated, you'll never be a great climber without this motivation. The problem is, if you can't learn to stay motivated while slowing down and to heal. Then you aren't truly motivated for the right reason, you're motivated because of the ego kick you get when you tell people or when they find out how quickly you've improved. I would never do this, lol.

When you are addicted to something, you can't see clearly what others can who have been in your shoes. You have the blinders on and you feel like you have to do something to get better all the time. Maybe you've found something you excel at and it's bringing alot of self confidence, this is hard to resist. It feels so good, but is it all good?

What will determine how good you get won't be how much time you spend climbing, or how hard you train, this helps, but, it's more important you adopt a philosophy about climbing that will promote and facilitate long term growth and success. It's not just about time and motivation, but about accurate thinking and what you choose to spend your time doing at a given moment in time. You need a reflexive system constantly adapting to the present moments needs.

The state you are in currently requires you make constant progress. This is probably created by a stong fear of failure. You feel like if you slow down something bad will happen. Someone will no longer be impressed, maybe it's you?

Ask yourself, why are people who climb at a high level and have much more experience than me suggesting that you take your time? Why are they suggesting that you look at what will allow you to progress the most in the next ten years instead of right now? Why am I spending the time to write this to you right now?

It really sucks your pass is going to run out soon, if you can't overcome this reason for doing what's best for you, your already a lost cause.


gunkiemike


Sep 1, 2011, 10:40 AM
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RoryMcMahon wrote:
After a couple weeks of climbing I was able to do some V4s and a V5, is it possible that I'm progressing too fast for what my body can handle?

DING DING. We have a winner!!


RoryMcMahon


Sep 1, 2011, 11:16 PM
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First off, I just want to say thanks to everyone who contributed valuable information. Thats the reason I posted on this forum, there are people on here who know a lot more than I do and I felt I could learn something.

I don't know where everyone is getting the misconception that I won't be ok letting my injury heal. I already took two weeks off and said I would be taking a couple more weeks off soon to let them fully heal.

I do plan on not pushing the limit so much with climbing so I can make my hands more "monkey like" without getting injured. When I said I was going to devote the year more to training and technique, I didn't mean just muscles. The problem is I can't train my tendons know, so I may as well get a head start with my pulling muscles. This doesn't mean I'm going to go climb crazy routes just because my muscles allow me too. I've always had issues with building muscle, so I figure I need all the time I can get.

I'm not sure where I am "whining." If you get that from the line where I said it's addicting and I don't want to stop, thats not what I was trying to do at all. Quite frankly, it is addicting and I don't want to stop. That doesn't mean I won't stop if need be. I think most of you can agree that climbing is an addicting sport.

I think when my fingers are healthy enough, I will do fingerboard rehab. I can tell you guys have a false image of the type of person I am. Yes, I get very focus and try and do whatever I can to improve. That also means I am very careful with injuries because I know what they can do long term. I plan on doing everything I can to get my fingers back to healthy form. Right now, that is how I progress with my climbing.

I am a very motivated climber, and I am at a state where I feel I need constant progress. However, I do not feel that if I slow down something bad will happen. As I stated above, slowing down is my progress. I do not climb for an ego kick or to boost my self confidence. In fact, I prefer to climb with people who are better than me and make me look bad so I can learn something from them, and so I never feel satisfied with the level I am at. I feel kind of awkward climbing with people below my level because I feel like I am kind of showing off when I can do a route they can't. It's just not what climbing is about for me, I am competitive and want to be the best, but I want to be the best for myself, not for others views of me.

I do not have a fear of failure because I know I control if I fail or not. I know if I keep myself healthy and keep working towards my goal, I won't fail.

I hope I cleared up some misconceptions, not trying to argue with anyone, I was just getting the vibe that you guys thought I was a different kind of person and climber than I was. Thanks to everyone for your input, it helps me a lot to now have a clearer picture of what I need to do to progress as a climber.

On a side note, I apologize if this should have gone in the injuries forum. Initially I was just wondering what sort of training would help me get my fingers back to a healthy point, and also I just didn't see the injuries forum.


ghisino


Sep 2, 2011, 4:01 AM
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dude, if you're not the kind of climber we thought you are, good on you!

if several people in this post have thought more or less the same thing, it is not just because of how you presented yourself but also (or maybe mainly) because your words fitted a stereotype.

of course we are all individuals, but that stereotype of an enthusiast newbie who is very passionate, but passionate for the "wrong reasons" has an element of truth in it.


Newbies often tend to fall on opposite ends of the spectrum, when it comes to their approach to this sport, and very few have a balanced one from the start.

As odd as it sounds, i think that "healty" motivations are more of a learned skill, rather than something natural.

So, newbie stereotypes.
On one side we have the one we've been applying to you. This kind of newbie needs to be braked before (s)he crashes into a wall.
(note. it dosen't have to be training. in trad-heavy cultures it might be climbers going for death routes long before they know how to deal with danger)

On the other one it seems that some newbies have such a hard time at stepping out of their comfort zone that they take every excuse they can not to do it. (i am an extreme example. 5 years of this attitude, before facing a decision : either change my approach or quit climbing)
These ones need to be pushed, as they tend to make their drama even bigger over time.


good luck finding your balance...


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