/ Hands of a climber

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Minneconjou Sioux - on 25 Nov 2012

I don't know about Colin Kirkus's but mine are f**ked.

Between strained tendons, arthritic joints, cuts and blisters I think I'll have a hard time holding a cup of tea by the time I'm 60.
kevin stephens - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

work on your footwork?
Minneconjou Sioux - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:

What, with my knees?
adstapleton - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

when i first started climbing my hands would be in agony for days afterwards.

Nowadays, they're mostly fine - a satisfying stiffness for a few days after, but nothing crippling. I put this change down to being a better climber and generally having stronger grip nowadays. The logic being that a weak or loose grip means there'll be some undesirable movement of the fingertips when clamping a hold, this will translate to soreness at the contact points and maybe excessive strain in the joints themselves.

I guess the grip got stronger by just climbing more....
Timmd on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:Do your joints ache or just click a lot?

In One Move Too Many it shows xrays of really knackered finger joints wwhere the climbers report no pain being experienced.

You could be lucky and be one of those kinds of climbers?

Mine click a lot and feel weird but they don't hurt at all.
Timmd on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:In one of the xrays the finger joint barely still exists as a finger joint and the climber said it didn't trouble them, but they don't know if this is due to a high pain tolerance or not.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Timmd:

TBH it's the knuckle of my middle finger and the first joint of same.

My joints are wierd and can bend backwards. This manifests itself as an occasional loss of grip where the joint has gone beyond the 90 degrees.
needvert on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I find climbing helps undo the damage of sitting at a computer far to long.

To be honest, on average I reckon the climbers I've met have had more overall useful hands than the non-climbers. Sure, we've all had injuries, and they never heal perfectly, but even so their hands are still more capable than the norm.

My surgeon once commented to me how much damage I had done to my wrist over the years [before I'd started climbing] that no one had suspected until he went in to fix a tear [done climbing]. He said, for whatever reason, some joints can be heavily damaged and people feel no pain, while others like the knee aren't so tolerant.

Minneconjou Sioux - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to needvert:

I think computers have f**ked my wrists, my back and most definitely my eyes but not my fingers.

Perhaps they have?
sarahlizzy - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I'm a 39 year old with multiple Dupuytrens nodules, including the rarer form on the back of one of my knuckles.

My specialist reckoned it would have happened eventually anyway, but thinks climbing has provoked its early onset.

I still have full finger mobility, thankfully, although my right palm is getting a bit tight. I see collagenase in my future, lots of it.
The Pylon King on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
>
> I don't know about Colin Kirkus's but mine are f**ked.

LOL!
pebbles - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
> (In reply to kevin stephens)
> What, with my knees?

why, are they brittle?

hamsforlegs - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
> [...]
>
> why, are they brittle?

Naughty.
Heike - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

It's really funny when I compare my hands with my sisters who is 9 years old then me, she has supersoft, thin fingers with nice light and even skin and manicured nails, mine are big fat things with skin like leather. Urrgh! Hey but it's worth it, I reckon!
Madden - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: I know my hands took a battering a while back... I started to get trigger finger, which is apparently rare in men altogether, never mind 18 year-olds like myself. I cooled off on the overhanging boulders for a while, and concentrated on footwork, and now my hands seem to have recovered (no more trigger finger anyway!). That said they're now the one part of my body that lets me down first on hard climbs.
Michael Ryan - on 27 Nov 2012
I like climbing - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
When you finish climbing try submerging your hands in ice for 10 minutes. I have a feeling that everyone should do this.
Offwidth - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

Come on Mick he's 89 and has more new routes than G Gibson.
ripper - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to sarahlizzy: yes, I have what I assume are nodules on several of my knuckles too. GP took one look and said 'osteoarthritis, there's no treatment but some people find glucosamine helps' and that was that. Hasn't affected my climbing yet either but I guess it's bound too, sooner or later... interested to hear that you have a specialist - any benefit?
sarahlizzy - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to sarahlizzy) yes, I have what I assume are nodules on several of my knuckles too. GP took one look and said 'osteoarthritis, there's no treatment but some people find glucosamine helps' and that was that. Hasn't affected my climbing yet either but I guess it's bound too, sooner or later... interested to hear that you have a specialist - any benefit?

Said specialist is a bit of an accident really. I had what my GP thought was a persistent ganglion cyst in my hand. Sent me to see a hand specialist and he stuck a needle in it. When it didn't go down he tried to excise it under local anaesthetic. After opening me up, he didn't see a cyst but noted that the swelling was incipient Dupuytren's disease.

Unfortunately, disturbing it caused it to flare up massively and spread to the adjacent finger.

AIUI, if you have or are prone to Dupuytren's (70% of the UK population are), glucosamine is the worst thing to take, as it can cause it to flare up.

They can now treat contracture non-surgically through collagenase injections, and that gives me hope I'll retain full functionality going forward. Whet terrifies me is that the same mutation can cause a similar condition on the foot, and that early onset cases such as mine are more likely to develop it in other areas. Treatment for plantar fibramatosis (for that is what Dupuytren's is) in the foot is nowhere near as successful as in the hand.

Feet are fine for now, as is my left hand (damage is currently confined to the right one), touch-wood.

All I'd say, based on my experience, is don't have Dipuytren;s surgery unless you absolutely need it. It is fickle and prone to flareups if disturbed.
miho on 28 Nov 2012
Not climbing but another sports (rowing) where hands have a lot of work to do:

http://www.rudern.de/nachricht/news/2012/07/26/stern-diese-haende-greifen-nach-gold/

Mike
gingerwolf - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to sarahlizzy:
AIUI, if you have or are prone to Dupuytren's (70% of the UK population are), glucosamine is the worst thing to take, as it can cause it to flare up.

interesting, is there clinical evidence behind this? If so, do you know any of it?
Not critisising, I'm just interested :)
Thanks
Tom
flopsicle - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: I don't know about climbers hands. Prior to climbing I spent years horse breaking which had taken a toll on my digits! I've had 3 evultion fractures, 2 on the same thumb, 1 on a very random top joint of my ring finger! 2 fractures from twisting (very owie!), and a smashed thumb middle knuckle - same thumb as the evultion fractures.

My best friend's a nurse who swore I'd end up with crippled hands due to never having stopped work when splinted etc but at 41 I've just started climbing again and apart from a joint I've never broken (swells a bit) all my digits seem tickateeboo!

I love my hands, they're characterful and full of a life lived.
johncook - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: I have arthritis in three of my finger joints. Supposedly untreatable. Small pocket holds squash my finger joints together and then they hurt like hell, but big rounded open handed holds don't hurt at all, so, I pick routes with pockets for some reason.
One bit of medical advice I was given after explaining my problem was, "Fiddle more and pull less!" I am currently working on several variations of obeying this advice!
sarahlizzy - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to gingerwolf:
> (In reply to sarahlizzy)
> AIUI, if you have or are prone to Dupuytren's (70% of the UK population are), glucosamine is the worst thing to take, as it can cause it to flare up.
>
> interesting, is there clinical evidence behind this? If so, do you know any of it?
> Not critisising, I'm just interested :)

I don't know that any studies have been done. There are widespread reports of people whose Dupuytrens flared up in response to taking it though. See, e.g. http://www.dupuytren-online.info/dupuytren_stages_therapies.html
paget - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
In the last twelve months.
1 ganglion cyst in my palm, popped with pressure from a sigg bottle top.
1 broken finger, climbed on for 4 weeks before the pain got too much, 4 weeks rest.
1 damaged tendon due to the break, cortisone injection has sorted that bad boy out. Had two sessions bouldering since and all seems well.
Lesson learnt is that the most painful was the tendon injury, wouldn't of happened if I'd stopped climbing with the pain caused by the break, instead of climbing through it.
If you have severe pain, dont be a stubborn arse like me and go get it checked out (I'm not just talking a bit of joint ache, that comes with the turf), can save you time in the long run.
ripper - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to sarahlizzy: sorry, crossed wires - the lumps in my knuckles appear to be Heberden's nodes, not Dupuytren's ones. I've just been reading up on Dupuytrens a little bit and have to say I wouldn't fancy swapping places with you.... best of luck with it.
sarahlizzy - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to ripper:

Thanks. It's treatable, at least, and they're much better at treating it and retaining full function than they used to be.
ads.ukclimbing.com
nigel pearson - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH: They look pretty good for his age and number of climbs done.

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