Hiya - I have a real problem training for long periods because after a couple of hours my fingers get really sore - not tired, but the skin on my fingertips and joints starts burning and stays sore and inflamed for several hours afterwards. It means that although I'm not pumped out, I simply can't hold on any more, and have to stop. Any idea on how to toughen it up / reduce the pain?
In reply to climbingrose:
A friend of mine used to repeatedly thrust his hands alternatively into a bucket of sand. For hours apparently. I've never done this so can't vouch for it's effectiveness but he does have strong fingers and tough skin. Bit like a Rhino actually.
In reply to jonny2vests: sorry, poor wording. Its not the joints themselves, but the skin on the finger joints (ie not the fingertips.) I climb about three times a week on average at the local wall, but its frustrating that i can't climb as hard or long as my buddies.
You are not alone, plenty of people have the same problem don't worry. I find that it is largely down to dry skin, try to use as little chalk as possible and moisturise after climbing, every night before bed and try and be kind to your skin wherever you can. Also try and avoid juggy routes, the more skin you have in contact with the holds the more your skin will get irritated.
It is possible to manage the problem but you need to put some effort in.
use summat like that climb on balm stuff.. i don't tend to use it throughout the winter when indoor climbing, tend to just moisturise a bit, but use it religiously when climbing on rock
think the more you climb the tougher your skin gets and the longer oyu'll be able to climb... but sometimes repetition doing the same sort of problems /routes makes skin soreness difficult to avoid after 2-3 hours
In reply to climbingrose: i use to get exactly the same problem, is their any chance ur wall has got lots of new holds/u have only started climbing twice a week lately ?
but what i would recomend is to put climb on after every climb and just man up and keep climbing ! ur skin will addapt pritty soon. however if it dosnt and they get really bad just have a rest week and then try again.
ah I knew I couldn't be alone! I suffer from exactly the same thing.
The "just do it more and your skin will toughen" line is actually a bunch of BS in my experience. Even climbing 3-4 times a week for several years I still have the same problem. It basically means I'm never training at my optimum because my skin becomes too sore to climb long before my muscles get tired. Also totally impossible to climb two days consecutively.
I've heard it said the amputee "stump cream" is a solution but it seems a bit drastic...however, at this point im really starting to consider it.
What do you already do to keep your skin in good condition?
Assuming what you describe is only skin pain, not joint pain. It sounds to me like you need to do two things, look after your skin as best you can while climbing and look after it between sessions. In practice that's keeping your hands still on the holds while under load, quitting while you're ahead, moisturising between sessions and removing/thinning pads of hard skin before they get the chance to tear off.
In reply to Kemics: me too - i've been climbing for quite a few years, and been climbing regularly three times a week for that time. but the skin just doesn't seem to toughen up. not heard of stump cream ...
In reply to jkarran: hi - yes generally the skin on my hands in in pretty good nick - maybe a little dry generally, but i use moisturiser - maybe need to change the brand. I do have climb on, but forget to use it regularly (indeed i've mislaid my latest purchase and haven't got round to replacing it) so maybe i need to get into that habit.
Thanks everyone - this is really useful, and good to know i'm not alone!
In reply to climbingrose: I climb pretty much 2-4 times a week, after my session, my finger tips, palms etc are very tender and sore, I use 'Climb On' which is a Beeswax, you simply apply it onto your finger tips etc, and let it dry in, its great stuff, it might help :P - it works wonders for me but, everybody is different .
When i'm training on my overhanging wall i tend to get sore skin on any finger, not directly the joint but the bit of finger either side of it. If i tape it, it holds everything together. What i usually do is a couple of moves, identify which finger sections are giving my jip and put tape over them. It varies every time, probably related to specific arm and hand strength on any given night.
Also - as the strength in your hands and arms improves, your hand skin will hurt less. It hurts because of very slight movement between the hold and your hand, a result of reduced friction because your grip is not mundo hardcore. When you get stronger, you'll grip harder and your hands will hurt less.
In reply to climbingrose:
Had this on Saturday after the longest bouldering session for a few months: towards the end I kept spacing out the climbs to give my fingers time to slighly recover then that wasn't good enough and had to stop!
But by then I had given my arms a good work out. Went back on Sunday to do more, but this time my arms gave out before my finger skin!