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A2 pulley weakness
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crackmeup


Dec 5, 2012, 8:44 AM
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A2 pulley weakness
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For the past few months I've had an intermittent discomfort in the A2 pulley of my left middle finger. I can feel mild pain if I crimp hard (which I normally avoid), or if I deadpoint to a small edge. Sometimes I don't feel it for weeks, then one move makes it appear again. At that point I stop climbing (or move to a problem with slopers) and everything is fine. There's no swelling, no loss of ROM, no other pain.

I'd like to make this go away for good so I could work on certain problems with less chance of injury. I've tried rest, icing, self-massage, Theraputty, stretching, only climbing easy stuff for a while, etc. Some people suggested dead hangs with an open hand grip from edges that don't cause pain. Would this work? Any other ideas?


onceahardman


Dec 5, 2012, 2:35 PM
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Re: [crackmeup] A2 pulley weakness [In reply to]
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crackmeup wrote:
For the past few months I've had an intermittent discomfort in the A2 pulley of my left middle finger. I can feel mild pain if I crimp hard (which I normally avoid), or if I deadpoint to a small edge. Sometimes I don't feel it for weeks, then one move makes it appear again. At that point I stop climbing (or move to a problem with slopers) and everything is fine. There's no swelling, no loss of ROM, no other pain.

I'd like to make this go away for good so I could work on certain problems with less chance of injury. I've tried rest, icing, self-massage, Theraputty, stretching, only climbing easy stuff for a while, etc. Some people suggested dead hangs with an open hand grip from edges that don't cause pain. Would this work? Any other ideas?

Crimping puts forces on fingers for which they are not biomechanically well designed. If you want to continue crimping, you will always be at greater risk for pulley injuries than the population at large. This injury is almost unknown outside of the climbing community.

Your best bet is to use open grip on everything. It will become more natural over time.

Watch how monkeys climb. They never ever crimp. And they can onsight solo 5.12 pretty handily.


crackmeup


Dec 5, 2012, 2:55 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] A2 pulley weakness [In reply to]
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onceahardman wrote:
If you want to continue crimping, you will always be at greater risk for pulley injuries than the population at large. This injury is almost unknown outside of the climbing community.

Your best bet is to use open grip on everything. It will become more natural over time.

Thanks. I read Dave MacLeod's book, and I use the open hand grip almost always. If I find that a move requires arching my fingers and putting my thumb on top, I look for different beta or move on. Still, moves that require deadpointing to a relatively small hold can make my pulley hurt even if I catch the hold with my hand fully open. For that reason most of the "hard" problems I try these days involve slopers. Maybe I just have to resign myself to not try certain problems, but I was hoping that I could do exercises to reduce the likelyhood of getting hurt.

It's easy to do only slopey/friendly climbs in the gym; there are only so many different holds. However, there is an infinite variety outdoors.


mheyman


Dec 9, 2012, 6:53 AM
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Re: [crackmeup] A2 pulley weakness [In reply to]
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crackmeup wrote:
For the past few months I've had an intermittent discomfort in the A2 pulley of my left middle finger. I can feel mild pain if I crimp hard (which I normally avoid), or if I deadpoint to a small edge . . . Sometimes I don't feel it for weeks, then one move makes it appear again. At that point I stop climbing (or move to a problem with slopers) and everything is fine. There's no swelling, no loss of ROM, no other pain.

I'd like to make this go away for good so I could work on certain problems with less chance of injury. I've tried rest, icing, self-massage, Theraputty, stretching, only climbing easy stuff for a while, etc. Some people suggested dead hangs with an open hand grip from edges that don't cause pain. Would this work? Any other ideas?

My experience has taught me that many climbers sustain hand injuries and many are careful with their hands for that reason. Deadpoints can increase the load you body must sustain, and doing them poorly certainly will. It shouldn’t be too surprising that some climbers will have problems with them.

So:
If you are an intermediate or better climber then you are learning how careful you must be with your hands. Everyone is different.
While moving dynamically is a large part of climbing well, If you are a beginner then watch the better climbers easily static moves that you might deadpoint and learn from them.


crackmeup


Dec 9, 2012, 2:53 PM
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Re: [mheyman] A2 pulley weakness [In reply to]
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mheyman wrote:
My experience has taught me that many climbers sustain hand injuries and many are careful with their hands for that reason.

Maybe I simply need to avoid certain problems. I'm 43 years old, and I usually climb with much younger people. They are less likely to get injured, and when they do they recover more quickly.

Over the past few weeks I've been going outdoors by myself and focusing on problems with slopers. Since then I have not experienced any pain. It may be that if I want to keep bouldering relatively hard, I must specialize on slopey, pumpy traverses from now on. Perhaps it's too late to project problems with tiny pockets and crimps near my limit.


mheyman


Dec 10, 2012, 3:44 PM
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Re: [crackmeup] A2 pulley weakness [In reply to]
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crackmeup: if it make you feel any better I'm 53 and like you climb with plenty of younger folk, and I happen to be nursing a hand injury. i hurt it repeatedly moving water ballast bags in my boat last summer for water sports. Didn't hurt much or often and it didn't bother my climbing so I ignored it. Later in the fall I was riding my dirt bike, dropped, and picked it up. That night it got swollen and its been along time since it felt normal. Thought it was getting better but last Friday I did something to it again. Previously I'd never sustained a hand injuy due to sheer force (not trauma) that was not climbing related - and didn't recognize the hazard at the time. Shure wish I had, cause I could easily have stopped.

Any I don't know anything about how you climb, but pretty much everyone needs to be careful with deadpoint and dynos. I see plenty of young people sustain injuries, most of on the way to learing to be careful with their hands. Most of them do heal faster then us older folk too, but hands heal slowly regardless.

In particular overshooting deadpoint and dynos will almost always result in higher forces than making a move statically. If you are bouldering thin overhanging stuff avoiding dynamic will often onvole high finger forces.


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