/ Wide pinch grip joint pain in knuckle joints

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partz - on 11 Apr 2018

Hi guys

I've tried researching this already but Im struggling. In short, over the last 3 months I've developed a pain in the base of the thumb joint, and the base joint of my middle finger of my left hand - all other joints feel fine.

The pain is only present on wide pinches - such as pressing the power button on my mobile phone (similar to this link, but holding the top and bottom of the phone, not the sides: My crimp strength is the same, my sloper strength may have deteriorated a bit but not a massive amount.

My friend ruled out arthritis as the pain only occurs during movement of the tendons - applying external forces to the joints causes no pain.

Can anyone suggest a cause, a method towards diagnosis or even a solution/rehab? I've been climbing 10+ years and its the first time I've encountered this....

Thanks in advance!


ElArt - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to partz:

I’m not a Dr or anything to do with the medical trade but I’ve had pulley injuries localised at the base of fingers on both hands (1 on L, 2 on R.   This developed at the end of Jan after a lot of training indoors at the same wall doing the same routines.  

Have you tried Icing your hand regularly to stimulate recovery (not proven apparently)?

What training were you doing and where?

Are you doing anything different like riding a bike (carpal tunnel syndrome?) or using rings or press up bars to train? Could it have developed in the wrist?

Have you changed something at work?

Have you been to a different rock type or crag, worked a particular crux?

My hands are slowly getting better with almost nil climbing indoors and v little outside and after 8 weeks they’re still easily re-injured.  Apparently pulley injuries can cause permanent complications where the appropriate rest and recovery isn’t taken (and I’m 47) so I’d be careful.

I’m trying antagonist rubber finger flexors but too soon to comment on if they work. The joints do feel better after exercise though. 

You can try H-taping or taping up the joints to immobilise the fingers so you can keep climbing but it didn’t work for me.

Again I’m no Doc but the old phrase “If it hurts don’t do it “ springs to mind.

Good luck. 

Bill (in recovery)

sarachen - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to partz:

Possibly an overuse injury? Have you taken a break for a few weeks to see what happens?

partz - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to partz:

Thanks both for the replies. I've skipped training this week to see if I can see an improvement. The rubber ring idea Bill might be good for me after a bit of resting the joint to help build up strength again.

As far as I am aware I hadn't done anything to cause it - maybe a reach through 2 finger pocket move, but I didn't remember feeling pain after that.

I found that pushing the first phalanx to one side with my other hand causes the pain too... a new avenue of research has opened up it seems!

If I find out what caused it I'll update the thread.


Thanks again


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