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ShreddedFingers


Mar 13, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Unique Finger Injury?
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So basically, I started noticing a lot of discomfort in my index, middle, and ring fingers in both hands. Middle finger in both being the worst. But all were in a good bit of pain.

In the hopes to give as much pertinent info as possible, I was never able to crack my knuckles until this started happening. Now I can crack them pretty regularly, and doing so sometimes relieves tention / pain. (Pretty sure this is bad).

I started taping my fingers in hopes it would help, and I think it did, but the last day I climbed before I took a hiatus (about a month ago) I believe I got a stress fracture in one of my knuckles, it became pretty swollen and hurt, but not so much that it was incredibly more painful than the others.

They seem to be getting better, but I play a lot of guitar and I think that made it worse in the beginning and has slowed the recovery process. Especially in my left hand (fretting hand).

I've researched a lot, but haven't found anything that specifically matches my symptoms. More finds that were kind of close, but not enough.

I'm itching to climb, but don't know what to do because I'm not sure what's wrong with me. I don't believe it to be pulleys or stress fractures in every knuckle, and I think it's very strange that the pain is in 6 out of 8 fingers.

As always, I appreciate any and all help. Thanks guys.

TL;DR - 6 out of my 8 fingers hurt, but don't seem to be standard climbing finger injury. What should I do?


bowldr42


Mar 15, 2012, 8:43 AM
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Re: [ShreddedFingers] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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Wink

Man up and go climbing with your friends this week. .

Also, trash the guitar, if you already have a girlfriend then the guitar is only holding you back!


ceebo


Mar 15, 2012, 6:05 PM
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I climb mostly with 20lb vest now. I get the same joint issues as you but not warningly painfull. Try glucosamine, be very carefull to ease weight gentyly on fingers. Perhps limit yourself to vert/slab climbing to further reduce stress.


ShreddedFingers


Mar 20, 2012, 10:49 AM
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Re: [ShreddedFingers] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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Thanks guys.

Adorable that my friend made an account just so I would start climbing with him again. But I've been off for a month and a half now, and though I'm dying to climb I want to make sure I don't screw myself for the entire spring / summer.

I'll try Glucosamine pills Ceebo, thanks.

Would a joint issue be the general consensus? I don't believe it's Tendinitis, the only symptom I can really give is I get finger pain, and to relieve it I crack the finger by torquing it side to side at whichever knuckle area hurts. But that will only work for so long....

OnceAHardman, do you have any thoughts? Your posts seem to have a solid medical backing pretty often.


roguecrimson


Mar 20, 2012, 4:39 PM
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Re: [ShreddedFingers] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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ShreddedFingers wrote:
Thanks guys.

Adorable that my friend made an account just so I would start climbing with him again. But I've been off for a month and a half now, and though I'm dying to climb I want to make sure I don't screw myself for the entire spring / summer.

I'll try Glucosamine pills Ceebo, thanks.

Would a joint issue be the general consensus? I don't believe it's Tendinitis, the only symptom I can really give is I get finger pain, and to relieve it I crack the finger by torquing it side to side at whichever knuckle area hurts. But that will only work for so long....

OnceAHardman, do you have any thoughts? Your posts seem to have a solid medical backing pretty often.

When you keep using a finger in bad ways, it hurts and then you go blind !


(This post was edited by roguecrimson on Mar 20, 2012, 4:51 PM)


ShreddedFingers


Mar 20, 2012, 6:25 PM
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Re: [roguecrimson] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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Thanks.

What I don't understand is why it happened suddenly. Climbing anywhere from 1 to 4 days a week, 2 to 4 hours a session, for 2 years. Then, 2 months ago, my knuckles/fingers start hurting.

Also, being as specific as you were, what did you need to edit?


onceahardman


Mar 21, 2012, 2:45 PM
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Re: [ShreddedFingers] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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ShreddedFingers wrote:
So basically, I started noticing a lot of discomfort in my index, middle, and ring fingers in both hands. Middle finger in both being the worst. But all were in a good bit of pain.

In the hopes to give as much pertinent info as possible, I was never able to crack my knuckles until this started happening. Now I can crack them pretty regularly, and doing so sometimes relieves tention / pain. (Pretty sure this is bad).

I started taping my fingers in hopes it would help, and I think it did, but the last day I climbed before I took a hiatus (about a month ago) I believe I got a stress fracture in one of my knuckles, it became pretty swollen and hurt, but not so much that it was incredibly more painful than the others.

They seem to be getting better, but I play a lot of guitar and I think that made it worse in the beginning and has slowed the recovery process. Especially in my left hand (fretting hand).

I've researched a lot, but haven't found anything that specifically matches my symptoms. More finds that were kind of close, but not enough.

I'm itching to climb, but don't know what to do because I'm not sure what's wrong with me. I don't believe it to be pulleys or stress fractures in every knuckle, and I think it's very strange that the pain is in 6 out of 8 fingers.

As always, I appreciate any and all help. Thanks guys.

TL;DR - 6 out of my 8 fingers hurt, but don't seem to be standard climbing finger injury. What should I do?

OK Shred, thanks for asking. I'm glad to provide helpful information.

I don't know what TL;DR means.

You don't say how long you have climbed, and whether you climb indoors or outdoors. I'll go out on a limb and predict (postdict?) that you have been climbing less than a year, and climb mostly on plastic.

In short, this sounds like you have pulled on too many small holds in too short a time, with insufficient rest in between. You didn't get it in your pinkies (5th digits) because most climbers don't bear very much weight through them. The first 3 fingers (technically digits 2, 3, and 4) are used the most, and are subject to the most force. The thumb may be used a lot too, but the "hardware" of the thumb is quite a bit more stout than the fingers.

This sounds like you have applied too much force, and have loaded the passive restraints of the fingers beyond their tensile strength. Passive restraints include ligaments and joint capsule, as opposed to active restraints, which include contractile elements, i.e., muscle and tendon. Technically, this sounds like a ligament sprain, probably low-grade (grade I).

Treatment-wise, if you were in my clinic, I'd have you do lots of active range of motion (AROM), and ice, with relative rest from tensile forces (this means rest from climbing.) Pay attention to how long it takes the pain you have at rest to go away. Then wait that period of time again, before you start climbing. Tape is fine, and can be helpful, but must be re-applied frequently, due to stretch.

Glucosamine has very very limited and contradictory evidence supporting it, and no support for its use for a ligament injury. Waste of money, IMO.

EDIT: for lousy proofreading, and: There is no evidence that cracking knucklescauses arthritis, but I'd still instictively avoid it. Also, try climbing on rock more. You'll have more fun and fewer finger injuries.


(This post was edited by onceahardman on Mar 21, 2012, 3:00 PM)


ShreddedFingers


Mar 22, 2012, 1:52 PM
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Great! Thanks OnceaHardman, I had a good feeling you'd be able to offer some help here. I appreciate it.

TL;DR is just slang for Too Long; Didn't Read, so I gave a quick summary. Sometimes I fear I'm not as concise as I should be in my posts.

Anyways, my mistake on not giving that info. I've been climbing for almost 3 years I'd guess? Seriously for about 2. You are correct I mostly climbed in the gym, at least in the beginning. As I got more into it though I began frequenting the Red River Gorge, at least when whether permitted. During those 'serious' two years, I'd say I was climbing anywhere between once to four times a week. Anywhere from 2 to 4 or 5 hours a session.

Small holds in a short amount of time makes sense. It's just weird that it seemed to onset so suddenly.

I've taken about a month and half off, and they feel better. But I wonder if I start climbing again if the problem would be immediately back again. During that time I rarely did much AROM and no icing. I did play a lot of guitar, which I think made the recovery process longer, but not a lot of choice there.

As far as knuckle cracking, I agree with you. But sometimes pain builds up, as if out of no where, and cracking which ever corresponding knuckle is the only relief. Also half of the time, I can make a flat hand then shape it into a fist which will cause the top knuckle of my left middle finger to crack. My left hand is my fretting hand (more finger stress) and I wonder if there is any correlation there.

Again, I really appreciate your help with this, certainly is giving me a better understanding.

Maybe I should see a hand specialist and start icing, even though it's been a good bit of time since my last climb?


johnwesely


Mar 22, 2012, 2:32 PM
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Onceahardman, I have always wanted to run this past you, but I didn't really think it warranted its own thread. Whenever I injure a pulley, I am unable to pop my knuckle on that finger until the finger is at least partially healed. The closer to 100% the injury is, the more likely I will be able to pop the knuckle easily and often. Why is this?


congaclimber


Mar 22, 2012, 3:57 PM
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The glucosamine will definitely help just make sure you take it with chondroitin otherwise your body wont metabolize the glucosamine. good luck!


onceahardman


Mar 22, 2012, 4:25 PM
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johnwesely wrote:
Onceahardman, I have always wanted to run this past you, but I didn't really think it warranted its own thread. Whenever I injure a pulley, I am unable to pop my knuckle on that finger until the finger is at least partially healed. The closer to 100% the injury is, the more likely I will be able to pop the knuckle easily and often. Why is this?

Don't know. But once upon a time, I was a recurrent shoulder dislocator. It would then be very sore for a few days, and then as it started improving, it would crack frequently with movement. This told me it was getting better. But I don't know why.


onceahardman


Mar 22, 2012, 4:27 PM
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congaclimber wrote:
The glucosamine will definitely help just make sure you take it with chondroitin otherwise your body wont metabolize the glucosamine. good luck!

Please prove it before you try to part people with money.


johnwesely


Mar 22, 2012, 7:18 PM
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onceahardman wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
Onceahardman, I have always wanted to run this past you, but I didn't really think it warranted its own thread. Whenever I injure a pulley, I am unable to pop my knuckle on that finger until the finger is at least partially healed. The closer to 100% the injury is, the more likely I will be able to pop the knuckle easily and often. Why is this?

Don't know. But once upon a time, I was a recurrent shoulder dislocator. It would then be very sore for a few days, and then as it started improving, it would crack frequently with movement. This told me it was getting better. But I don't know why.

It would be really interesting to know why. I have never heard anyone else say anything about it, and the ability to pop coincides with when I am ready to start adding resistance. When it pops like normal, I am ready to start climbing.


ShreddedFingers


Mar 22, 2012, 9:19 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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I wonder if my knuckles are similar in a way? Possibly cracking knuckles could mean healing is taking place?

Maybe glucosamine is worth trying if it's free? My parents said they had some that I might grab when I visit for my birthday this weekend.


flesh


Mar 23, 2012, 6:23 PM
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If your crimping alot, climb open handed stuff. Solves alot of problems. You can open hand crimps as well. You just won't climb as hard.


ShreddedFingers


Apr 3, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Thanks Flesh. I was thinking that, unfortunate as it may be, to attempt to avoid crimps for a while. Conversely, I was considering working on lots of slope routes / problems, because I've heard they're the best holds for your fingers?

I went climbing last Saturday for the first time in about two months. I taped all six fingers, and they don't feel any worse than they did before Saturday. But I really tried to limit my climbing nothing above a 10+ or V4. Hopefully that's a good thing?

I'm not having much luck trying to get a doctors appointment in the near future, but hopefully I'll be able to see one soon enough. I really appreciate all of your help, and I'll do my best to keep you all posted.

Thanks. -Shred

Edit: In regards to taping, I've been taping around the base of the finger, the doing a cross pattern (with the same piece of tape) above the middle knuckle. I just found out about the H method, any thoughts on whether I should give that a try or something different all together?


(This post was edited by ShreddedFingers on Apr 3, 2012, 1:32 PM)


amarius


Apr 3, 2012, 4:57 PM
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Re: [ShreddedFingers] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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"Rock and Ice" has "Ask Dr. J" feature.
Here is the good doctor's musings on the topic of taping.


jorgegonzalez


Apr 4, 2012, 3:09 PM
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I'm an older climber, 56, and heavier, 230 pounds, so I have experienced a lot of problems with my fingers. Three weeks ago my horse pulled away from me and hurt the same fingers on my left hand, leaving the middle one a little crooked.

Anyway, i always tape in between the knuckles, tear the tape in half, about five inches, and it really gives support.

The other thing is avoid steep climbs requiring you to hang on small holds. Its pretty logical, the stress is bound to have a negative effect. Finally, for "pulley" type finger injuries, God invented slab climbs. Ease yourself back on those.


onceahardman


Apr 4, 2012, 4:13 PM
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amarius wrote:
"Rock and Ice" has "Ask Dr. J" feature.
Here is the good doctor's musings on the topic of taping.

Thanks for contributing the Dr J feature. It was interesting. It's consistent with most of what I've written here, but I think taping can be quite a bit more effective than he seems to think-IF you are smart and diligent. You need to re-tape before every repetition. Every pitch. There are some fancy (and very expensive) tapes out there, and they might not stretch quite as quickly.

But bottom line? Stop crimping if you want to avoid injuring (or re-injuring) a pulley.

Fellow old-schoolers might remember a guy named Henry Barber. Legend has it that he went to a zoo to observe how monkeys climb. (Monkeys can free solo onsight many 5.12s pretty easily). Barber observed that monkeys never crimp. They always use an open grip. While it initially feels less secure, if you train it, you will come to realize it works very well. And your pulleys will thank you.


jamesnater


Apr 20, 2012, 1:38 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] Unique Finger Injury? [In reply to]
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I am glad I read this thread and got that link to the Rock and Ice articles. After clicking around I found an article where the climber's symptoms were exactly what I have right now.

http://www.rockandice.com/...e/362-swolen-members

Basically I have a very faint, dull pain at my middle finger's first joint past the knuckle (the one you use to knock on a door) when I extend my fingers straight, flexing in the opposite direction of making a fist. It also occurs when making a fist. When making a fist it feels stiff like I am forcing it to move at a range it's not capable of, although I can still make a fist.

I climb indoors and outdoors, but everything is always wet in WA (not necessarily raining), so I'm usually climbing indoors. I've been climbing since Mid-Sept 2011. And I've been pulling on really small holds lately, however I've only been using open hand crimps. Bouldering-wise I've been mostly on 30 degree walls climbing between V4-V6. It doesn't seem to affect my climbing ability, pain or ROM-wise. But I definitely seem to always feel the stiffness, even now as I type this. And it's worse on my right hand than my left. I'm left-handed, if that info is helpful. I've taken a full week off of climbing and it showed very little improvement. If I remember correctly, it didn't feel stiff until I made a fist.

What kind of exercises would improve the ROM in the middle finger? Are there any supplements or is there a diet I can try to improve the ROM? I'd like to take care of this before it becomes a problem.


redlude97


Apr 20, 2012, 2:10 PM
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jamesnater wrote:
I am glad I read this thread and got that link to the Rock and Ice articles. After clicking around I found an article where the climber's symptoms were exactly what I have right now.

http://www.rockandice.com/...e/362-swolen-members

Basically I have a very faint, dull pain at my middle finger's first joint past the knuckle (the one you use to knock on a door) when I extend my fingers straight, flexing in the opposite direction of making a fist. It also occurs when making a fist. When making a fist it feels stiff like I am forcing it to move at a range it's not capable of, although I can still make a fist.

I climb indoors and outdoors, but everything is always wet in WA (not necessarily raining), so I'm usually climbing indoors. I've been climbing since Mid-Sept 2011. And I've been pulling on really small holds lately, however I've only been using open hand crimps. Bouldering-wise I've been mostly on 30 degree walls climbing between V4-V6. It doesn't seem to affect my climbing ability, pain or ROM-wise. But I definitely seem to always feel the stiffness, even now as I type this. And it's worse on my right hand than my left. I'm left-handed, if that info is helpful. I've taken a full week off of climbing and it showed very little improvement. If I remember correctly, it didn't feel stiff until I made a fist.

What kind of exercises would improve the ROM in the middle finger? Are there any supplements or is there a diet I can try to improve the ROM? I'd like to take care of this before it becomes a problem.
Based on this article http://www.rockandice.com/...57-fingers-arthritis
I started to do the exercises shown in the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMO__OrzM_U They seem to help with some increased ROM even though it hurts at first. I also do contrast baths after hard bouldering sessions to flush out the joints


(This post was edited by redlude97 on Apr 20, 2012, 2:11 PM)


jamesnater


May 4, 2012, 1:05 PM
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After a couple weeks of doing those joint stretches, the stiffness has improved a little. Well, enough for me to stop worrying about it. Thanks!


redlude97


May 4, 2012, 2:42 PM
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jamesnater wrote:
After a couple weeks of doing those joint stretches, the stiffness has improved a little. Well, enough for me to stop worrying about it. Thanks!
Glad to hear, I was skeptical too at first


curt


May 4, 2012, 7:08 PM
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onceahardman wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
Onceahardman, I have always wanted to run this past you, but I didn't really think it warranted its own thread. Whenever I injure a pulley, I am unable to pop my knuckle on that finger until the finger is at least partially healed. The closer to 100% the injury is, the more likely I will be able to pop the knuckle easily and often. Why is this?

Don't know. But once upon a time, I was a recurrent shoulder dislocator. It would then be very sore for a few days, and then as it started improving, it would crack frequently with movement. This told me it was getting better. But I don't know why.

My guess (with the fingers anyway) is that swelling in/near the finger joint is preventing enough movement of the joint for the finger to "pop." When the swelling goes down it reverts back to normal.

Also (and only another guess) is that the OP has actually experienced a pulley injury.

Curt


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