The most common injury to a finger associated with rock climbing is damage to the flexor tendon pulleys. When a rock climber repeatedly holds their body weight on the tips of a couple of fingers, it places an abnormal amount of strain through the flexor tendon (the muscles that bend you fingers), which in turn places stress on the pulley mechanisms (which are designed to stabilise the tendons and give them more mechanical advantage/strength).
You have 5 annular pulleys in the finger. The A2 pulley is the most commonly injured pulley. You can sustain a partial tear or a full tear and in more severe cases the flexor tendon can bowstring.
Splinting and taping techniques will help to support the pulley whilst healing but can be used ongoing to prevent re-injury. Contact one of our hand therapists today, earlier treatment will enable you to return to climbing quicker.
Other treatment techniques your therapist will educate you on include graded strengthening, taking breaks, graded return to climbing, warm up exercises prior to climbing, modifications to technique, reducing pain and reducing inflammation.
Taping methods or using ring splints can help to support the pulleys and prevent injury. Your therapist can work out what type of tape/taping method and splints will work best for you.
If you have any questions regarding an injury to the hands, wrist, or arms or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.