Stiff finger joints when I wake up

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DaffyDuck
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Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby DaffyDuck » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:39 pm

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

deSouzaFrank
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby deSouzaFrank » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:39 pm

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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DaffyDuck
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby DaffyDuck » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:08 pm

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.

Ian_944
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Ian_944 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:49 pm

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

Chris F
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Chris F » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:23 pm

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.

Dragon
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Dragon » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:38 pm

Would like to hear SNORT's input on this one.

GoProCrazy
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby GoProCrazy » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:55 pm

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
take the leap, its worth the adventure

Garron
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Garron » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:09 pm

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.

Chris F
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Chris F » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:36 pm

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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DaffyDuck
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby DaffyDuck » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:20 am

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:

GoProCrazy
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby GoProCrazy » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:43 am

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.
take the leap, its worth the adventure

Guardian
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Guardian » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:29 pm

Like to add here that it is not only "too hard too fast" that is a problem in sport.
Slowly getting stronger over a long time is able to give you the joint problems if you aren't working on muscle imbalance and elasticity.
Those two words sounded like crap to me until I got a knee injury from quad muscles being too strong and tight compared to my hamstrings. Same thing causes hip problems.
The same goes for climbing, work antagonistic muscles and make sure to stretch.
Joint problems are rarely caused by the joint but rather by the system of pulleys, ligaments and muscles not working in the line they should. imo

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Baldrick
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Baldrick » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:39 am

Try PowerFingers
Product developed for climbers and anyone using their fingers extensively.
www.thepowerfingers.com

ziggx
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby ziggx » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:17 pm

I had the same problem when i started. My finger joints and ligaments were swolen and i had difficulty even closing my hands properly.

Using some type of soft squeeze ball or something that is not difficult to do like 100 reps every day really helped me adapt quickly.I kept it in the car and just used it every morning on the way to work.

Also i found that using a supplement called serapeptase for a couple months really helped with healing repetitive strain injuries. Google it, it's great stuff with out the side effects that normal antiinflammatories inflict.

Ive been climbing for two years now and my fingers are mostly fully adapted and dont give me hassels any longer (touch wood)
Just waiting for the rest of my body to catch up now :lol:

Deon
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Deon » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:13 am

I had the same problem when I started climbing. I think it is more common for people who start climbing at a later age like 25+. Also I am not one of those 50kg midgets who climb like geckos..
What worked for me was to warm up on really easy stuff (like really easy) until you are properly warmed up. Then move to harder stuff gradually during the training session. If you start climbing at your limit from the start you will injure your tendons and that will take months to get better.
Good luck.

Chris F
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby Chris F » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:41 pm

I often massage my fingers to stimulate healing and improve circulation. Might be placebo effect, but seems to help.

SNORT
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Re: Stiff finger joints when I wake up

Postby SNORT » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:18 pm

Tell me about it! I can only climb twice a week.

My fingers started hurting in 1993. Yes that's 22 year ago. In Yosemite. After climbing all day my hands would go dead and keep me awake. Still happens and slowly getting worse. Always gets better over time.


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