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Fingertips won't toughen up
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LukeW


Apr 12, 2013, 1:03 PM
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Fingertips won't toughen up
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Hey there, I've been climbing for about 8 months now (3 month break in the middle) and in both extended periods of climbing my fingertips have refused to callus up. All that happens is the pads become shredded and raw and It's like starting all over again. I've asked everyone in the gym and they've never seen anything like it.

My technique is fine, using the feet, static movement, not too much cranking on holds. The leading theory is an allergy to the chalk but I've got some Endo Chalk with no additives and that still hasn't helped. I've been using cortisone and climbon every day for a few weeks and I've seen minor progress. To clarify, I've only been climbing seriously for about 3 months, 3-4 times a week.

http://imgur.com/UhVH0AF <---This is how they look every day after climbing.


skelldify


Apr 12, 2013, 1:15 PM
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Re: [LukeW] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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Could be using ClimbOn too often. It might be making your fingers too soft. I noticed my tips toughened up a lot when I stopped using on the day before I climb.


shotwell


Apr 12, 2013, 1:17 PM
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Re: [LukeW] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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LukeW wrote:
Hey there, I've been climbing for about 8 months now (3 month break in the middle) and in both extended periods of climbing my fingertips have refused to callus up. All that happens is the pads become shredded and raw and It's like starting all over again. I've asked everyone in the gym and they've never seen anything like it.

My technique is fine, using the feet, static movement, not too much cranking on holds. The leading theory is an allergy to the chalk but I've got some Endo Chalk with no additives and that still hasn't helped. I've been using cortisone and climbon every day for a few weeks and I've seen minor progress. To clarify, I've only been climbing seriously for about 3 months, 3-4 times a week.

http://imgur.com/UhVH0AF <---This is how they look every day after climbing.

Well, it could be an allergy to something not related to climbing such as hand soap or lotion. My hands shred out if I put on anything with lavender in it (which a lot of hand salves have.)

Additionally, your hands could sweat excessively and soften the skin. Is this the case?


LukeW


Apr 14, 2013, 11:12 AM
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Re: [shotwell] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Well, it could be an allergy to something not related to climbing such as hand soap or lotion. My hands shred out if I put on anything with lavender in it (which a lot of hand salves have.)

I'm not so sure, whenever I'm not climbing the skin grows back. For instance, today I can't even feel the keyboard my fingers feel so good. But when I go to the gym they'll get shredded. Could it be a technique issue? I've noticed when I let go of holds my hands tend to drag on them.


edge


Apr 14, 2013, 2:30 PM
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Re: [LukeW] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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Are you climbing exclusively in the gym? If so, you might ask them what they use to clean their holds. Frequently gyms use muriatic acid which if not adequately rinsed off could be leading to your problem, as could other cleaning agents that you may have sensitivity to.


granite_grrl


Apr 15, 2013, 8:10 AM
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Re: [skelldify] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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skelldify wrote:
Could be using ClimbOn too often. It might be making your fingers too soft. I noticed my tips toughened up a lot when I stopped using on the day before I climb.

There's a balance to be found when using these climbing salves. Used too often they can make your hand more prone to getting torn up. But I do find they help significantly when I use then after a day of climbing (ie - my hands have already been dried out with chalk and pretty beat up).

I've used a few different types of salves and in my opinion there is none that's really noticably better than any of the others, but I do find a salve sorks better than a regular moisturizer.


lena_chita
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Apr 15, 2013, 8:33 AM
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Re: [skelldify] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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skelldify wrote:
Could be using ClimbOn too often. It might be making your fingers too soft. I noticed my tips toughened up a lot when I stopped using on the day before I climb.

Why would you put grease on your hands BEFORE you climb, in any case?

The best time to use ClimbOn, Jtree salve, etc., is AFTER you finish climbing for the day, and wash your hands to remove chalk and grime.

To the OP:

While I agree, the skin on your hands look torn, I have seen it happen to such extent, or even more.

Your skin does look super-soft, at least in the photo. So I would suggest that you don't use moisturizing hand creams, if you are currently using them, and use oily/waxy balms, such as ClimbOn, Burt's Bees Badger Balm, etc. only after climbing.

Try other chalk alternatives, such as TiteGrip or liquid chalk. And also, avoid exposing your hands to water for ~30 min to an hour or so before you climb.


markcarlson


Apr 15, 2013, 9:26 AM
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Re: [LukeW] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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My hands have looked like that on a number of occasions after climbing. I currently use Climb On and other moisturizers several times a day (it's very dry here.)

I'm not sure it will help, as there could be a number of causes, but here are a few things I've noticed that contribute to the problem when it happens to me:

- Not climbing on a consistent schedule. If I take a week or more off of climbing, my pads will likely peel a few days after climbing again.
- Climbing steep stuff with big jugs or any big, grippy holds. My tips rarely get shredded in the gym by anything else.
- Skin is too hydrated before climbing. Since I live in the prairies, this is more of a problem when climbing in a humid environment (Squamish,) esp. after a few days of rain.
- Diet. I just figured this one out a few months ago, and had been a problem for the past 15 years of my life! The only two things I've changed in my diet is to not eat so much at night before bed, and to drink a little more when I eat. I used to get really bad itchy bumps on my fingers in the morning, which would cause all sorts of peeling on my hands... not any more!

Also, you may want to spend some time in the shower (or after) every day or two with a pumice stone. It takes a few minutes, but I find it helps when recovering from a bad case of tip shredding! Start out with a very light and short pumice session at first, focusing more on the edges of the tears and anywhere there are more layers of skin. Don't forget to moisturize immediately after!

Finally, I find that it takes my fingertips two to three weeks to recover from a shredding that bad. Between 3 to 10 days after they get shredded, they go "glassy", which isn't quite the same as being callused. After 10 days, the skin transitions back to its normal, pliable self, but is much more robust. I continue to climb the whole time, even with very raw skin.


LukeW


Apr 23, 2013, 10:18 AM
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Re: [edge] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Muric Acid

Huh, yeah i'll check that out! Thanks for the tip.


(This post was edited by LukeW on Apr 23, 2013, 10:18 AM)


LukeW


Apr 23, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Re: [markcarlson] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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markcarlson wrote:
My hands have looked like that on a number of occasions after climbing. I currently use Climb On and other moisturizers several times a day (it's very dry here.)

I'm not sure it will help, as there could be a number of causes, but here are a few things I've noticed that contribute to the problem when it happens to me:


- Diet. I just figured this one out a few months ago, and had been a problem for the past 15 years of my life! The only two things I've changed in my diet is to not eat so much at night before bed, and to drink a little more when I eat. I used to get really bad itchy bumps on my fingers in the morning, which would cause all sorts of peeling on my hands... not any more!

- Not climbing on a consistent schedule. If I take a week or more off of climbing, my pads will likely peel a few days after climbing again.
- Climbing steep stuff with big jugs or any big, grippy holds. My tips rarely get shredded in the gym by anything else.
- Skin is too hydrated before climbing. Since I live in the prairies, this is more of a problem when climbing in a humid environment (Squamish,) esp. after a few days of rain.

It's almost as if my hands are the opposite. I climb 3-4 times a week and the second my hands touch the holds they start to peel. I was even just trying on a pair of shoes and the contact with the rubber caused them to dry out! I use cortisone creme and climbon nearly every day to keep them moisturized and after a few days they start to look normal. But then they start peeling the second I touch the wall again.

I haven't taken more than 4 days off in the past 3 months, so I'm taking a week off just to see what happens. I can't climb daily because my fingers just start to hurt so much.

In reply to:
Finally, I find that it takes my fingertips two to three weeks to recover from a shredding that bad. Between 3 to 10 days after they get shredded, they go "glassy", which isn't quite the same as being callused. After 10 days, the skin transitions back to its normal, pliable self, but is much more robust. I continue to climb the whole time, even with very raw skin.

I really wish I could climb all the time like that. My fingertips are feeling glassy today after a day off of climbing, i'll give it a few more days and see. Thanks for all the advice! I'll definitely start drinking more water.


(This post was edited by LukeW on Apr 23, 2013, 10:56 AM)


altelis


May 15, 2013, 1:34 PM
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cortisone is NOT a moisturizer. unless you are treating something very specific, and under the guidance of a doc, i would strongly recommend against daily use of cortisone cream.

i would start by STOPPING the cortisone for a few WEEKS and see what happens...


LukeW


May 15, 2013, 1:37 PM
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The cortisone was prescribed by a Dermatologist, but I stopped using a few weeks ago due to lack of progress. Oddly enough, my fingers have started to get better.

I've been using endo chalk (no drying agents), top roping more and bouldering harder but less frequently and avoiding coming into contact with too much water.


benjaminlh


Jun 15, 2013, 1:06 PM
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Have you tried using sportstape? I hade the same problem when playing hand ball and sportstape made the difference.


Scourge


Jun 17, 2013, 10:37 AM
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Re: [benjaminlh] Fingertips won't toughen up [In reply to]
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climb real rock. sandstone slopers will do the trick quick


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