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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:22 pm 
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Real Name: Niel Mostert
I started feeling some mild pain and stiffness in both the first joints of my middle fingers. No prob I thought, I'll rest it a bit. Took about 4 weeks of until all pain was gone and joints had full range of motion again.

Started climbing again slowly, all symptoms returned. I noticed that it doesn't hurt when I climb or affect my performance at all, but it hurts like hell after a session and especially the next day, so obviously something's wrong. Kept this up for a few months, then decided to rest it again and let it heal properly.

Took 5 weeks off, started with gentle stretching when all pain and stiffness was gone after 3 weeks, started very easy climbing after about another 2 weeks. All pain and stiffness returned immediatley after first session.

Help! I've been taking MSM, glucosamine, etc. throughout the resting period but it doesn't seem to work. None of the climbers I know have had this injury. Has anyone else suffered from this, and know what it is and how to fix it?

I'll send you a box of wine for advice that works!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:28 pm 
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You can send me a box of 2005 Laborie Pinotage so long... :afro: My first prognosis is that you tendons suffer from the lesser known ECC withdrawal symptoms . Seeing or hearing news of new ascents in this region will just prolong the symptoms .
Either send what you need to send in the EC or give up climbing completely . It will not go away unless you tear a tendon on the beloved EC projects you have left unfinished . :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:53 pm 
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Real Name: Danny Pinkas
I'd strongly recommend that you go see a reputable hand specialist. I had finger problems a couple of years ago and played the "head in the sand" game until it became unbearable. It was eventually diagnosed as Osteo-arthritis and I have since learnt to manage climbing with it. By far the worst aspect of an injury is not knowing what the problem is.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:13 pm 
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doc's the way to go.

i injured my rhomboid major and took off 4 weeks... same thing... climbed and it still hurt. so i took off another 4 weeks with no affect. went to the physio and was told "it's the scar tissue that's hurting now"... months later I can still feel it but it's much better. massage helped. but for the most part, if i stretch it's fine. if i'm lazy and don't... it hurts... sometimes days later.

fingers are a little dif. tho (tendons, bones, muscles) so go see the doc.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:59 pm 
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Although not officially diagnosed, I have the same problem as Danny - Osteo-Arthritis. It's in my family. It's something that doesn't go away and, if you can't discipline yourself a bit on the amount of climbing you do, it gets seriously sore. No good to climb on fingers that hurt that much.

So, find out what the hell's causing the pain and (Like Danny said) manage your climbing accordingly.

and a tip on along the same lines: don't use tendon tape when you're not injured, except for when the tape will actually prevent your skin from ripping, etc. and USE tendon tape WHEN injured.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:33 am 
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Danny, how do they diagnose osteoarthritis ? Is there a test? Think I may have this problem.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:05 pm 
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Real Name: Danny Pinkas
Snort would be the expert on this, but mine was diagnosed through a simple x-ray. Initially it seemed like a death sentence, but I have learnt to climb with it, and have done my hardest climbs, including very crimpy routes, post diagnosis.
Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:02 am 
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Real Name: Niel Mostert
Thanks everyone for the advice, I'm going to try and see a hand specialist soon. I'll post the diagnoses on this thread,maybe it'll help someone else with the same problem. It's like Danny said: the worst is not knowing what's wrong!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:46 pm 
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Danny, I've read up a lot about the use of Vitamin B3 in the treatment of Osteo-Arthritis, and apparently slows the process down and helps one to regain one's mobility in the affected joints. Although i must say, this is one vitamin that is so fun to drink in high dosages - it gives you hot flushes like you wouldn't believe, when you drink about 100mg or more at a time.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:57 pm 
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I've been suffering something along these lines recently, probably from excessive crimping. There was an interesting article in Rock and Ice about it that states, while I can't remember in much detail, to do the following:
(1) Climb open handed as much as possible, and don't close-crimp anything. Evan Weircx recommended that you actually tape your fingers to not allow you to close-crimp.
(2) Eat foods rich in omega-3 (I think) fatty acids, like avocado and organic peanut butter
(3) A set of specific stretches, which i can't find on the net to link to.
(4) Take glucosamine-chondroitin and ibuprofen.
(5) Promote blood flow through icing (Dave McLeod recommends approx 30 mins of icing, which apparently really works) and massage/arnica.

Hope that helps - PM me for more info and I'll try to scan the article.

dom

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the fresh prince of darkness


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:51 am 
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hey Jimmy

Sounds like I have a similar finger injury but possibly not as severe. Just wanted to know if you found out anything about it and have some advice for me.
I have pain at the base of my middle finger that is pretty sore when I press it but otherwise not that bad.
It doesnt really hurt when i climb (even crimping) but is moderately sore after the climb and the day after climbing especially when I wake up.
The pain goes away after 2 days of rest but comes back after one session of easy climbing, even after 2 weeks of rest.

After reading up about it, it sounds like i have a partial tear of the A2 pully. some sources recommend complete rest but I dont think that is working. Dave MacCloed wrote a cool article (http://www.davemacleod.com/articles/pullyinjuries.html) which recommends rest until the inflammation subsides then a combination of easy painfree open handed climbing, deep massage, cold (but not very cold) therapy, stretching and taping to prevent you from full crimping.

i am going to try this approach

any other advice from people who have had similar injuries would be appreciated

Jimbo


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:36 pm 
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Real Name: Niel Mostert
Hi Jimbo

After trying pretty much everything (time off, deep massage, hot/cold therapy/anti-inflammatories/MSM/Glucosamine/taping/lotsa whiskey) I sucked it up and went to see Nikki Parker, a physio. I was completely convinced that it was either a partial pulley tear - I read up on it on the Net - or that I somehow injured the cartilage.

She's a climber herself and diagnosed it as injuries to the small muscles on the sides of the joints, a symptom of too much crimping, which was pretty much true.

She made me take a few months off and I had to do certain finger exercises and have some therapy sessions with her. As it got better I could go back to easy climbing and could increase the intensity as the fingers healed. It eventually took about 5 months before I could get back into proper climbing, but only because I'd lived with the injuries for about a year before getting help, otherwise it would have been sooner.

I've been climbing again now for about 3 months and although I didn't quite start out again where I left off in terms of ability, I was surprised that I got back into it again pretty quickly, possibly due to the specific exercises she prescribed.

Anyway, to cut a long story short - don't bother with anything else, go see a specialist asap and get it sorted out. It sucks having to possibly take time off but it sucks a lot more walking around with an injury that won't heal properly and that holds you back. You can phone Nikki on 084 240 2827.

Good Luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Hi Jimbo,
Yes, you definitely seem to have a partial tear of the A2 pulley. I've had a few of those and i'm nurturing one now. my remedies:
-Take it easy,
-Don't crimp, climb open handed. I know this sucks.
-Tape for restraining range of motion, not for support since this will only irritate the injured finger more.
-Stay away from plastic. The always available thumb-pinch on plastic knobs loads the A2.
-Glucosamine and a shitload of salmon. If it doesn't help it will make you fart which is always fun!

I went through a whole climbing holiday on Kalymnos with this injury, stayed away from really hard crimpy stuff, but had loads of fun onsighting.

I've had three or four of these. they always seem to hit you when you are at your fittest and pushing your grades. My latest has a fun story about stubbornness and a mono to it. (basically i knew i was screwing up my finger...pride)
Most of the time it will take two to three months to get rid of alltogether. Climb really steep and non-crimpy stuff!

The first injury in this thread is new to me. sounds like a tough one.

Joost


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:21 pm 
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Hey guys, thanks for the reply. Yeah I am also pretty sure its a strain on the A2 pully. i have also had this a couple of times before but cant really remember how i got rid of it. I am gonna climb easy stuff open handed for a few weeks because I believe that complete rest is not always the answer. and if that doesnt work i'll try the physio/rest option Thanks for Nicci's number - I now have it on my phone.

everyone raves about being strong on open handed holds so it may not be a bad thing that I train that way for a while. they say you fatigue less climbing open handed but I have yet to experience that .

I have also been taping my finger to restrict movement by forming a figure of 8 around the back of the knuckle . This really seemed to help a lot. basically I taped a loop around the base of my finger then cross over the back of the knuckle, loop around your middle digit and back across the knuckle, then finish with a loop around the base of your finger again. keeps your finger pretty straight which is what you need. Andy davies wrote an article about this in sa mountain mag I think but I couldnt find the issue.

I'll look into getting some glucosamine and be sure to stock up on salmon. - for omega 3 and 6 i presume??

Jimbo


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:17 pm 
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Yah, stock up on whisky too! That always seems to get me through times of injury :thumleft:
Open handed climbing is nice but nothing beats pure crimp strength!
If you can't climb, be strong.

good luck,
joost


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:00 pm 
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Gavin Earle
Having recovered from a few pulley type injuries before here is my 2cents:
1. get the best medical opinion you can afford ie orthopod who climbs.
2. for me total rest of up to 3months did not help at all. Every time I resumed climbing the pain and inflammation returned. I tried this a few times!
3. what worked for me was no more than a week total rest and then a VERY gentle gradual buildup, from almost nothing to where I left off, over about 3 months. I started with traverses at the gym with both feet on the ground! I made sure to always keep it light enough to be completely pain-free. No dyno's or lunges just very gentle controlled climbing never to the point of failure from any reason. No crimps till very strong again - in fact I started on jugs and worked the holds smaller and smaller over weeks to months. This time was not wasted as I managed to do endurance training.
4. I used NSAIDs initially but tapered them off completely as soon as possible (about after a week)
hope this helps?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:03 am 
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Talk about two cents, here is mine.
I have trashed all the pulleys on all of my fingers over the last 30 years of climbing, yes even my pinkie. Some not so bad and some so bad that I couldn't even pick my nose for a year. From the joint getting worse and worse to hearing the damage happen with a loud ripping sound coming from my finger. My last injury foxed me the most, started off slowly on the middle finger on top just behind the nail and slightly off centre. Most of the time it's "been here done this wont be a problem", but fingers are small and delicate and probably not really designed for what we are doing to them, we must realize this first. So....
1. Rest, I've been off for two months now, yes that is what it takes and any doctor will say the same, my longest break was a year, sorry no good news there. Use anti-inflammatories and ice, ice and more ice. Massaging close to the pain barrier will force blood into the area and a slight stretch will start to realign torn tissue and then ICE!
2. Massage the finger and fingers before you start climbing, get them nice and warm. There is very little blood in the fingers and in the working parts so force it there. Ice after climbing.
3. Tape properly, sounds like Jimbo is doing it right.
4. Climbing open handed comes with it's own problems. Climbing over loads the joint one way or another, open hand just pulls the joints apart stretching the ligaments that holds things together and the stability of the finger is then a problem. A very good friend of mine thought this would be a good idea and only trained open handed and payed the price.
5. Stop when you feel the pain and ice and take a break. If it is a tear then you will be off for a long time if not then take thing slow and listen to the finger. I have heard of guys climbing through the pain and it goes away, I've tried that and payed the price.
6. See what is doing the damage. How do you train and what routes are you on. Plastic is where most injuries occur, use finger friendly holds and do not make the position of the hold to the hand the problem and watch out for over loading one of the fingers more than the others on a hold. On a finger board do not train you fingers and arms at the same time, I see far too many climbers doing pull ups on small edges. Train them separately, fingers on small edge and arms on big jugs.
7. Start slowly and take your time to get back to where you were. Your arms build up strength 4 times quicker than your fingers and recover far quicker too.
The chain is only as strong as the weakest link and I am afraid the fingers are the weakest link here. When you are fit you climb more and take less rest. The fingers are not muscular therefor they need more time to catch up with the arms, give them that time and you wont have to take off for one or two months at a later stage. There is no quick fix I am afraid.

Stuart.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:52 pm 
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thanks again for the advice. Stuart, it is interesting what you said about climbing open handed causing ligament stretch and instability. I hadn't heard of this before. So how do you avoid ligament stretch - mix open handed climbing up with crimp training? (once my finger is fixed!)

Jimbo


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:08 pm 
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Real Name: Andrew Kyriacou
Stumbled on this, it may help someone else prevent this type of injury.

http://www.chockstone.org/TechTips/FingerTaping.htm h


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