/ sore knuckles

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Sleepy_trucker - on 06 Feb 2013
I think this is either a newby thing or maybe because I'm both a newby and not as young as many who are new (I'm 30).

Anyway, Climbing twice a week indoors, for 2-3hrs a time, I've ended up with sore knuckles (actually, I'm not even sure its the knuckle!). I've a dull pain in all of my fingers (not thumbs) more along the backs of them, especially just after gripping something - is this normal? will it improve over time? Should I give it a break or is it one of the few things that's actually better to ignore? It doesn't hurt much at all, but I felt it better to ask people who've probably experienced the same than blindly carry on and make matters worse.
GeoffRadcliffe - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Sleepy_trucker: It does not sound normal. Have you seen a sports physio?

A lot more info needed:
Does it hurt all the time, even a day or two after climbing? Does it hurt more when you climb?
Are you using mainly big holds (3 finger joints) or a mixture of small and big holds (first and second joint). When did the pain start and how long have you been climbing? Also, have you recently increased the intensity of your climbing? Are you doing any other sort of strength training?

If you have recently increased the intensity (e.g harder routes/problems, longer sessions) and you started to get the pain soon after then you could try and lower the intensity for a while and see if the pain disappears.
Sleepy_trucker - on 07 Feb 2013
Sorry, didn't think about the detail. I haven't seen anyone so far - it's nothing really which is why I asked here. I guess I was looking to see if it was sort of normal and ok to carry on (with care).

The "ache" is there most of the time but barely noticeable, I do notice it while gripping things (steering wheel for example) and more so when I let go of something I've been gripping hard but still nowhere near enough to whince about. To be honest, I wonder if it's arthritis or similar.

I climbed for about 6mths, had a year out for no particular reason and started again a month or so ago - I worked with a powerball and grip master a little for a few months before coming back though probably not enough to see any real gains.

I have upped the intensity but I'm doing a lot of traversing working on technique - so big holds and concentrating more on footwork and body position which, if anything, has given my hands an easier time. However, the pain has come about since I've been doing more.
Route Adjuster on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Sleepy_trucker:

It is fairly common to overgrip, especially on small holds and when new to climbing. Look at how you hold onto the holds, try to use an open grip rather than folded fingers crimping grip - this will make a big difference although it can take a while to learn the technique. You will find that you revert to overcrimping on harder, steeper climbs so perhaps drop a grade or two to practice the technique. Also, use your feet more to take the weight and stress off the fingers.

Also, taping up the knuckles / joints that are worst affected can help too, the restriction that the tape provides can act as a reminder to open your grip too.
Sleepy_trucker - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Route Adjuster:

Thanks, I'll look at my grip when I go again - I went this morning but the place was packed with a party or something so I didn't bother, Monday's likely to be the next chance I get so my hands'll get a breather I guess.

I've been putting a lot of thought into footwork recently, following the book; "The self coached climber" by Dan Hague and Douglas Hunter. I'm working with the silent feet, backwards traverse and same side in traverse exercises (I've no idea if these are well known or not), the general thing is keeping hips in to the wall, moving the arm closest to the wall and controlling my centre of gravity - so the hands have been a little neglected up to now and you may be on to something.

Tape - I tend to avoid this sort of thing because I generally find I'm better off without but that's not to say I'm not willing to try. I have some micropore tape (the papery sort), will it do the job? Any advice where to tape?
GeoffRadcliffe - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Sleepy_trucker: If you are going to use tape for your hands, use Strappal. However, I am not convinced that you need to tape. As someone else said, try and climb open-handed and use a variety of hand holds, varying in size. Also try using big slopers open-handed. These will build strength without a big risk of injury to your hands.

Build up slowly. If you suddenly increase the amount you do and you start getting pain (which persists afterwards) then you are probably doing too much. Ease back and try and vary what you do. Pain is a warning sign. Ignoring it is a bit like ignoring the oil pressure warning light on a car. Learning to interpret pain is a skill. Pain during an activity can be okay, pain afterwards is generally not. What starts with a dull ache can soon become a chronic injury which can be difficult to treat.
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Sleepy_trucker - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to GeoffRadcliffe:
Thanks again, all taken on board - I'll go play for a bit and hopefully not need to post an update....

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