/ Pulley injury susceptibility. Fingerboard rehab?

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Mr Fuller on 10 Sep 2012
I've been rock climbing for about 2 years and have had three minor A2 pulley injuries in that time (two on my middle finger on right hand, one on middle finger of left hand). Iíll rest for a couple of months, return slowly, and then within another month I will be at full strength again. When fit I go bouldering indoors about once or twice a week, and it seems that within a couple of weeks of upping the frequency to three times a week I start getting injured (Iím not bouldering hard; about f6a-6c+). I have never had a pulley injury from climbing/bouldering outside. Wary of pulley injuries, I almost never full-crimp anything, open-handing instead. One thing Iíve noticed is that my middle fingers are significantly longer than the fingers either side, meaning that if hanging on a small edge, my middle fingers tend to bend quite a bit more than the others, increasing the stress on them. Could this make me more susceptible to these injuries? I do a lot of other sports and rarely get other recurring injuries and canít think of any other particular reason why my fingers seem vulnerable. Is it just technique?

As an aside, how good an idea is strengthening my fingers on a fingerboard? I know theyíve a reputation for causing injuries if used incorrectly, so could these make things worse?
jkarran - on 10 Sep 2012
In reply to Mr Fuller:

> Is it just technique?

Quite possibly. I used to get loads of finger 'tweaks' but touch-wood I've not had a bad one for years despite being fatter and climbing harder than ever. Chances are I've just learned the warning signs over the years and being a bit less obsessed than I once was I rest any niggles as and when they need it.

> As an aside, how good an idea is strengthening my fingers on a fingerboard? I know theyíve a reputation for causing injuries if used incorrectly, so could these make things worse?

Used carefully there's no reason why a finger board should hurt you worse than bouldering, in many ways it's more controlled. The problem I have with them is getting a decent warm-up and getting the intensity right (I'm weak and realistically require assistance). My other problem is the recovery time from a fingerboard session is unpredictable, sometimes it eats into climbing opportunities which is just plain stupid.

jk
Mr Fuller on 11 Sep 2012
In reply to jkarran: Thanks for that. Yeah a bit of technique work and getting a fingerboard, so that I can keep up a modicum of strength when I'm too busy to climb properly, might be a good idea.
Bob Kemp - on 11 Sep 2012
In reply to Mr Fuller:
You could try strengthening your fingers a bit by using Theraputty before hitting the fingerboard exercises.
nniff - on 11 Sep 2012
In reply to Mr Fuller:

I've had trouble with my fingers for years. they do say that preventative taping is a bad thing and inhbits the development of stronger pulleys etc, but I beg to differ. i have had far fewer problems since i've started taping preventatively (many years ago now).

The key things are warming up and knowing when to stop pulling. It's never worth it - if it feels twangy, jump off and avoid those holds where one finger at a time moves off the hold, overstressing the others.

The best warm up device I've found so far are Eggsercisers. They don't get smelly like putty for a start, and support your fingers and pulleys.
Paul Crusher R - on 12 Sep 2012
In reply to Mr Fuller: Its a bit of a misconception that fingerboards will cause an injury. Injuries usually caused by people jumping on them and trying to give it 100%. The old watch me try and do a pull up on the monos.... snap! Approached in a controlled and thought out manner they can be great tools for re gaining lost strength after injury... far safer than throwing oneself around at a wall snatching for unpredicatble holds.
Mr Fuller on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Mr Fuller: Cheers all, that's some good advice. I'll work on finger strength in a controlled manner and maybe lay off the challenging bouldering until I've got more of a reserve of strength.

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