Rock climbing

How to keep your fingers healthy for climbing

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The average climber thinks less about finger health than the United States government thinks about health in general, which is saying something. It’s only when there’s a “pop” that we pay attention, how low the sky is falling…unless you’re halfway there, in which case you’re probably pretending for a few more minutes than your finger is fine. (A patient of mine broke two fingers in a crack at Indian Creek simply from pulling too hard, but since he only had 30 feet of tight crack to go for his best crack on sight, he opted to suck and walk! Well done, old man.)

However, pay a little attention to your numbers and your risk of acute or chronic injury is greatly reduced. Here are some tips to keep your shooters shooting.

1. Regularly stretch your fingers.

Twist each joint like a corkscrew and bend it sideways at the same time. This is not propulsive surgery – if you can feel the joint stretching, the joint is being stretched. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat several times.

2. Does not heat on the pockets.

Instead, try slamming your head into a car door. Although our fingers can work independently, they are not designed to do so under high loads. First, warm up by using all fingers in unison (no finger separation; this includes dropping the little finger when opening with the first three fingers). Warming up the muscles and connective tissues that move and stabilize each finger will, through better elasticity, reduce the risk of injury when you begin to grab holds or pockets with just one or two or three fingers.

3. Adjust the way you catch the pockets.

When you fire as hard as your barrel pockets, you tend to curl the unloaded fingers towards the palm in an attempt to generate more force (which you probably do). The harder you pull on the neighboring fingers, especially if you are not used to it, the more likely you are to injure the small muscles of your palm, namely the lumbrical and interosseous muscles, and/or tear the musculoendonous junction in the middle of the forearm. . You can do two things to lessen the risk of this injury. 1) Do not wrap your fingers forcefully in your palm, but leave them in a more relaxed position. 2) Stretch the connective tissues that are under tension when you separate your fingers. Using a hanging board (feet on the ground), load each finger separately while pulling the other fingers towards your palm. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat several times for each finger or combination of fingers you commonly use. BE CAREFUL!

Read this: The proven way to improve finger strength.

4. Training your fingers is one way to prevent injury.

Systematic and progressive training is the best way to prevent finger injuries of all kinds, including pulley breaks and stress fractures. That said, expect them, sometimes things don’t go as planned. How you deal with your wounds is the key to healing.

5. If you change something, do your homework.

Understanding what you injured is essential if you want to have a chance to recover while continuing to climb or train. Whole-hearted rest is fine if there’s something else that lights your fire — a new romantic partner, the start of ski season, or that new BrainFart social media platform — but usually it’s not necessary. A few days off is prudent, but since many adjustments set in very quickly, it’s good to start rehabilitating and climbing lightly soon enough. If the pain persists after a few days, it may not be an adjustment, in which case you should see a climbing injury specialist.

Read this: Flappers, bruises, ragged skin? Pro climber Chris Shulte’s skincare tips