Learn a simple treatment for healing finger injuries from climbing.
If your fingers are hurting and cramping after climbing, you’ve perhaps already figured out (from a simple Internet search) that you’ve injured the annular flexor pulleys in the soft tissue space between the first and second knuckles.
The treatment for annular flexor pulley injury, assuming that it’s not severe or that nothing is literally torn (no swelling or bruising) is very simple.
I discovered it for myself after experiencing annular flexor pulley injury from too much “crimping” after not having climbed for years.
I happened upon a site that wanted me to pay a fee with my credit card to gain access to information about physical therapy for this kind of injury. No way was I going to do that.
However, the site did mention, in the teaser, that the physical therapy involved eccentric motion.
That gave it away for me; every good personal trainer knows what eccentric (pronounced E-centric) means.
Based on that, I developed the following simple program for effectively healing this common finger injury in climbers.
Hold a hand grip tool (like the one below) in the injured hand, all four fingers on the handle.
With the other hand, close it shut. In other words, your injured fingers do not perform the “positive” or “concentric” phase of the resistance.
However, they DO perform the release (“negative” or “eccentric” phase).
Perform the release SLOWLY. The act of slowly opening the gripper should take 5-7 seconds.
– Push closed again with the other hand.
– Do three sets, eight reps each. If the fingers of both hands are injured, switch hands between sets. Do this three times a day.
– As the annular flexor pulleys begin healing, go up to 10 reps, then 12. After a few weeks you can drop to two sets a day. As you feel that the annular flexor pulleys are nearing complete healing, drop to one set a day.
Conclude all sessions by soaking hands in hot water, almost too hot to maintain submersion, for 20 minutes.
Keep the water hot, so if you’re using a bowl, you’ll probably need to refill it before the 20 minutes are up, depending on its size and ability to maintain heat.
Before coming upon that website, I had initially used the hand grips only concentrically and releasing at the standard tempo, but this only brought out the uncomfortable cramping and did no good.
This is the irony, because the hand grip tool is the very treatment device that should heal your problem, because within two or three days of applying the slow eccentric-only technique (plus the hot water), I finally began feeling improvement.
The hot water must get some credit, but I believe that the eccentric exercise was much more instrumental in treating the finger injury, which completely resolved.