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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:41 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Marissa Meyer
Hey guys,

I'm relatively new to this forum and a beginner climber (about two months now). I'm totally loving it and I'm so happy to be part of this amazing climbing community!

Anyway since I started climbing end of Nov last year I've started waking up to really stiff finger joints in the morning. Specifically the index and middle finger's middle and front joints. I've been googling and reading up like crazy about what the cause might be and how to heal it, but depressingly all that seems to match my symptoms is arthritis :( !!

Can this be!? I'm only 31. The funny thing is its only stiff in the morning upon waking up. I can open my hands completely, but cannot make a fist because the stiffness causes a pain right in the joint when I try to bend it and it feels like a lot of pressure. When I put my hand in warm water its like it melts away in like 5-10s and I have full mobility and no pain. Also if I simply squeeze with two fingers on the side of the stiff joint, the stiffness and pain is gone. Its so weird!

Do any of you guys have something similar or know what it might be? It seems to be related to the onset of my climbing, but even if I don't climb for a week and a half the symptoms are still there every morning. I only climb on average twice a week and not very hard. I'm a rookie so I do grades 14-17 at this stage. Would appreciate any help. :thumright


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:26 pm
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Location: Middelburg
Real Name: Frank de Souza
Have you seen a doctor? Tendon injuries shouldn't be taken lightly. They take long to heal and without proper rest, who knows. Also, as a biginner we tend to over grip on holds, so you might have injured tendons during your first few climbing outings. You don't climb that often so it really sounds fishy. I would go see a doctor. Then at least you'll get a proper opinion and not have some idiot named Frank sitting behind a PC giving you his 2c worth.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Real Name: Marissa Meyer
Thanks Frank, I totally agree. I should probably have it checked out and am planning to because it doesn't seem to be getting better, but I just thought perhaps it's something common and someone would be able to relate to the symptoms and advise whether it's best to see a physio, a rheumatologist, chiro, GP or who? I actually climbed a couple of routes today at Lakeside and it doesn't limit me or hurt really when I climb, but as soon as I stop for a long period or sleep it seems to get really stiff. There's no noticeable swelling or redness either. It's just like the joints stiffen up. Anyways thanks for the advise.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:49 pm
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I've been climbing about 6 yrs now and I have experienced a very similar problem to you. Creaky, stiff fingers after climbing sessions, particularly the next morning and used to loosen up significantly after a hot bath. It felt exactly as I would imagine arthritis would feel.

When it was at its worst, I was climbing very frequently, probably 4-5 days of training, mostly bouldering indoors (i.e. on plastic). Eventually I altered my training pattern so I spent less time working my fingers and more time doing other things, e.g. core. I tried to find the balance where although my finger would still be stiff, it wasn't degenerating any further.

The other thing that helped was warming my hands up properly before a session with lots of easy climbing and stretching the fingers after climbing. Stretch in both directions, i.e. pull each of them back gently and hold for 10s, then closing into a fist and hold, seemed to help quite a lot for me.

The good news is that in the last year or so the stiffness has gone away completely; my fingers seem to have adapted finally. The bad news (for you perhaps, I don't mind) is that the adaptation is pretty damn obvious - the slim pianist like fingers I once had are now significantly thicker, with obviously oversized knuckles.

I have no idea whether or not there is a long term risk of arthritis.

Hope that helps.
Ian


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Posts: 596
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
I've been climbing on and off for 25 years, and still get sore hands after a heavy training session the night before. As long as they ease up and stop hurting before the next session i wouldn;t worry too much. Be aware of intense pain in any localised spots - learn to differentiate aches and stiffness caused by training from pain caused by onset of injury and act accordingly.


Last edited by Chris F on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:07 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Gavin Earle
Would like to hear SNORT's input on this one.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:18 am
Posts: 39
Real Name: Dawie Oberholzer
I have been getting massive pain in both my elbow joints after a climb, but my worst pain is the next day.

I can bearley lift my arms up, any weight on it is unbearable this will sore for 2-3 days and then repeat itself after the weekend climbing, is there any recomendation except the commen, ice pack?

Thanks

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:50 pm
Posts: 39
Icing my fingers after climbing used to help get rid of the stiffness that you are describing. Just get a bowl fill it with ice and keep your fingers in it for 5min.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Posts: 596
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
GoProCrazy wrote:
I can bearley lift my arms up, any weight on it is unbearable this will sore for 2-3 days and then repeat itself after the weekend climbing, is there any recomendation except the commen, ice pack?

Thanks


Sounds like tennis elbow. Ice will mask the symptoms, but not the causes.

Read the "dodgy elbows" article here.

http://www.athlon.com.au/articles.htm

In fact read them all. Written by a climber who really knows his shit when it comes to climbing injuries.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:41 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Marissa Meyer
Thanks for the replies guys. Ian_944 your post certainly gave me hope. I have slender fingers too and I'm starting to think they are just taking a bit of strain trying to adapt. What I've also seen now is that when they are sore and stiff when I wake up and I try and make a fist it's obviously really painful as mentioned, BUT when I use my other hand to bend the one hand's fingers statically the pain seems to not really be there which gives me an indication that it might not be the joint as such but the surrounding tendons/ligaments. I have bought myself a USN POWERBALL (http://www.powerballs.com/rehab.php?m=Benefits) which I've been told does wonders rehabilitating and strenghtening muscles/tendons in the hand, wrist and forearms as well as shoulder. Dawie you might actually want to have a look at it too?? So far so good. I am keeping a keen eye on it. If it doesn't seem to be getting better in the next month or so, I'm going to definitly have to fork out the money and consult a physio. For now hoping it will clear up soon with the exercise :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:18 am
Posts: 39
Real Name: Dawie Oberholzer
Hi thanks Guys

I went to se a specialist that works with nuclear medicine, she found the result in my elbow joint was the cause of severe muscle and legament strain (to hard to quik to fast) i have now been for physio and taking a recovery drug (not real drugs)

My little research shows that with most sport you can develop tendant/joint problems even stress fracture beacause of the to hard to quik to fast, made me think why it is important to not skip grades on the climb to quikly and end up loosing more than you win.

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