Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
finger amputation recovery?
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 1.  
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By shred-tahoe-gnar
Aug 12, 2012
hey guys,
i recently lost the tips of my middle and ring fingers on my left hand in a work accident. Fortunately i got lucky, it could have been alot worse!
I'm trying to find out what to expect for recovery related to climbing, like if it will effect anything in the long run, how long it will take to get back to climbing, what to expect when i return,ect... if any fellow climbers have been in the same boat and have any advise it'd be awesome

Thanks!

FLAG
By Nick K
From Somerville, MA
Aug 12, 2012
How much of the tips?

I've known a few people over the years who've lost various fingers / parts of fingers at work, and long term recovery and return to totally normal activities has seemed more dependent on the person than what the actual injury was.

You did pick a tough set of fingers to damage, most people I know lost index fingers, which seems easier to get used to (see Tommy Caldwell) than I think the two middle fingers would be.

The active folks I know all returned to their normal activities in weeks to months it seems. I sliced the very tip off my left ring finger a few years back, it took about 3 weeks before I could climb on it again, and probably a month or two before it stopped being really painful to use.

A year and a half ago I severed the extensor tendon in the same finger, I started climbing again as soon as I was out of the finger brace (5 weeks after the surgery to put it back together). Though it took about 3 months before I could really crimp or pull hard on anything involving the finger. I think you can probably expect a few weeks before you can use it again, and a couple months after that where you have to deal with a lot of pain. I'd guess crimps are going to be pretty hard in the future.

Good luck.

FLAG
By Craig Martin
From Park City
Aug 12, 2012
Captain Cairn kicker
My partner chopped off the tip of her pinky finger on the 16th pitch of Lurking Fear. This is her self portrait from the summit a few hours later.
Nice summit shot from the top of El Cap, showing J...
Nice summit shot from the top of El Cap, showing Juli's freshly amputated pinky finger.

This is Juli's amputated pinky, she named him Chubbs, at work a year later.
Chubbs in action a year later.
Chubbs in action a year later.


Good luck with your injury. Juli was climbing less then 2 weeks later....still sporting her stitches.

FLAG
By Steve Bond
Aug 12, 2012
Photo.
In 2008 I lost the tip (just to the first knuckle) of my pointer finger on my dominant (left) hand. So not quite the same as yours, however, relevant insights I can offer are:

(1) Very sensitive to bumping the end of that finger for about a year. That went away and it is relatively normal for sensitivity -- occasional tingling went away too.
(2) Mostly miss it on face climbing. No problem in cracks except for finger locks requiring that finger. Provides an excellent excuse. Clipping biners on lead is annoying.
(3) Surgeon said in a few months I wouldn't even notice it missing...true. I still feel like me even though it sucked for the first few months.
(4) Started climbing about 8 months later.
(5) Took about 6 months of climbing for my neighboring fingers to bulk up strength to make up for the shorty.

Good luck with the recovery. Hang tough and don't worry too much about the climbing. You'll be full on soon enough.

-Steve

FLAG
By shred-tahoe-gnar
Aug 12, 2012
I ended up loosing a little below the 3rd knuckle on my middle and just below the fingernail on my ring. its been only 2 weeks and i already feel the others starting to compensate..
Thanks for the helpful words im just really looking forward the strength back in the missing ones.

Craig how did she end up loosing it mid climb?

FLAG
By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Aug 12, 2012
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wal...
Has Tommy Caldwell written anything about his recovery? Doesn't seem to hamper him.

FLAG
By Craig Martin
From Park City
Aug 12, 2012
Captain Cairn kicker
shred-tahoe-gnar wrote:
Craig how did she end up loosing it mid climb?


It was a hauling accident. I was hauling, the bags got stuck under a roof, I went down the hauling side of the rope to free the bags, she had already cleaned the pitch and was at the anchor. She decided to help with the haul and put her hand on the loaded side of the rope at the same time I got the bags unstuck and with my weight on the hauling side it sucked her hand into the Protraxion.

FLAG
By shred-tahoe-gnar
Aug 12, 2012
Craig Martin wrote:
it sucked her hand into the Protraxion.

wow That's pretty gruesome

FLAG
 
By Craig Martin
From Park City
Aug 12, 2012
Captain Cairn kicker
shred-tahoe-gnar wrote:
wow That's pretty gruesome


Gruesome.....i love that word. But it was nothing a little hand tape, ibuprofin and weed wouldn't fix. Your injury sounds a bit worse.

FLAG
By csproul
From Davis, CA
Aug 13, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
I am missing the tips of three fingers from frostbite. I'm not missing much and I still have the last knuckle/joint, just missing about half of the rest of the tips. It was painful and made climbing a bit more difficult in the short run, but long term I don't think it has affected me much at all. Frostbite was a little different as it took months to loose the tips and then heal well enough to do any climbing.

FLAG
By SlowTrad
From St Paul, MN
Aug 13, 2012
One of my partners lost all his toes and fingertips except on the thumbs to frostbite and still climbs 5.10 crack, slightly less on face. He was a 5.11+ climber...he has also aged quite a bit from the experience.

FLAG
By Chris Norfolk
From Fredericton, New Brunswick
Aug 13, 2012
Hello MP.
I lopped off the end of my right index a few years ago with a boulder rolling down talus.

Recovery isn't the right word... it's more like adaptation. I was climbing again in 4 weeks. Today I climb more proficiently than I did before the loss.

I've written some of the story online here.

I will say this... ice climbing makes your stump cold. Real cold.

FLAG
By Joe50131
From Johnston, Iowa
Aug 23, 2012
I am missing my left ring finger for about 6 years due to a table saw accident. I started climbing 6 months ago and have not let it bother me. I started climbing the same time as a friend of mine and we are virtually climbing at the same level at the gym. We have not ventured outdoors yet but plan to soon. If anything, I think it gives me an advantage because anywhere my lack of grip strength in that hand hinders me, I have to focus that much harder on my technique to push me through it.

FLAG
By Some Dude
Aug 24, 2012
Me.
Chris Norfolk wrote:
I lopped off the end of my right index a few years ago with a boulder rolling down talus. Recovery isn't the right word... it's more like adaptation. I was climbing again in 4 weeks. Today I climb more proficiently than I did before the loss. I've written some of the story online here. I will say this... ice climbing makes your stump cold. Real cold.


Oh oh oh. I want to see a bigger picture of this.

FLAG
By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Aug 24, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
You guys in the missing digits club are gnarly. Some Dude, your pic is fucking priceless.

FLAG
By Chris Norfolk
From Fredericton, New Brunswick
Aug 24, 2012
Hello MP.
Some Dude wrote:
Oh oh oh. I want to see a bigger picture of this.

Sure. The docs trimmed back the bone to the last knuckle... which left the tendons and fleshy parts mostly intact... thus I had minimal function loss. Again... the only complaint is that cold weather ice/aid climbing makes the thing damn cold. Clicky here

FLAG
 
By Chris Norfolk
From Fredericton, New Brunswick
Aug 24, 2012
Hello MP.
Craig Martin wrote:
My partner chopped off the tip of her pinky finger on the 16th pitch of Lurking Fear. This is her self portrait from the summit a few hours later. This is Juli's amputated pinky, she named him Chubbs, at work a year later. Good luck with your injury. Juli was climbing less then 2 weeks later....still sporting her stitches.

I don't know Juli... but I do know that she's bad-ass for topping out that route in her condition. My experience was that a tight wrap in climbing tape solved the pain issues for about 2 hours. After that it was pretty much white-hot throbs. Lucky for me I was in the ER and on the morphine shortly thereafter.

FLAG
By d.c.
From the front range to rossland
Aug 24, 2012
Who needs finger tips when you're doing the wide stuff. Now you can practice on becoming a bad ass offwidth climber. Best of luck on your recovery.

FLAG
By Craig Martin
From Park City
Aug 24, 2012
Captain Cairn kicker
Chris Norfolk wrote:
I don't know Juli... but I do know that she's bad-ass for topping out that route in her condition. My experience was that a tight wrap in climbing tape solved the pain issues for about 2 hours. After that it was pretty much white-hot throbs. Lucky for me I was in the ER and on the morphine shortly thereafter.


Juli is for sure a bad-ass. We got to the emergency room in Modesto 28 hours after the accident. The drive to Modesto out of the Valley was memorable because the morphine they gave her was making her violently ill. Pulled over 3 times for puking. I felt so bad for her, but it actually just became a comedy of errors and all we could do was laugh at ourselves. Then the eroom experience at 2:30 am was priceless.

Finger injuries are way more common in climbing then one might think.

FLAG
By Monty
From Golden, CO
Aug 24, 2012
Just a teaser
Thought others might find this interesting. I was lucky enough to get in contact with Tommy Caldwell right after the accident. Here's an email from him about his experience.

Dave,

Thanks for filling me in. Sounds to me like you are making the right decision with going with the amputation. A fused damaged joint could really get in the way. I am certain that if you desensitize your remaining finger after the amputation and do a lot to strengthen everything, in the end, you will be able to climb as hard as you ever did.

It's really good to find a hand therapist that understands that you are a athlete that likes to push the therapy. two to three trips to therapy will likely be all you need. If you want to contact mine, here is her info.

Brenda Cummings
harmonyhand.com
+1 (970) 204-4263
make sure you request brenda, She has fixed me and many of my friends several times.

the good news is that once the finger is amputated, there is not much damage you can do to it climbing. I wrapped it up and started climbing two days after the final surgery. I climbed within a grade of my hardest redpoint within a month and climbed harder than i ever had within six months.

my doctor hid all the nerves on the inside of the finger (next to the middle finger. I put the finger through a lot of abuse and started using it for everything I could right off the bat.
Desensitizing it was key, i ran it through different textures. beat on it with different shaped objects. exposed it to different temperatures. You have to retrain the the nerves. I was very successful. within a few months my stump was just as tough as my other fingers. I have had phantom sensation, but not anything painful. I think the people that experience bad phantom pain are the ones that baby there stumps and do nothing to retrain the nerves.

I lost the first two joints of the finger. this makes it too short for most climbing.I am able to compensate (with quite a bit of training) with my other fingers. Wide pinches and indoor bouldering are a bit harder for me now, thats it. everything else is fine. I have met several climbers that lost just one joint. for some, this improved the leverage and they can now crimp like a fiend. Slopers can be slightly harder. I have yet to find a move outside that i cant find a way around.

let me know if you have any more questions.

cheers
Tommy



Thanks again for the encouragement Tommy! It really helped a lot to hear from other climbers.

FLAG
By Some Dude
Aug 25, 2012
Me.
Jake Jones wrote:
Some Dude, your pic is fucking priceless.


Thank you. And Mr. Shiney Toots thanks you too.

FLAG
By ropewhisperer
Aug 25, 2012
Anyone have any experience with losing a ring finger? It would be kinda weird I think, two strong fingers, s gap, and then the pinkie.

I have an injury that also is causing some degenerative problems in the ring finger. I will probably lose the finger eventually. Maybe I should have it removed now to learn to function without it while I'm not climbing much rather than later.

FLAG
By shred-tahoe-gnar
Aug 25, 2012
wow Monty its pretty sweet to read that from Tommy...

I've found that shoving my stumps in to a bucket of sand, maybe an old boxing trick?, does wonders for Desensitizing and strength.
Again and again the human body amazes me with its ability to recover and compensate.

FLAG
By Chris Call
Jan 7, 2014
I too lost my index finger 1st knuckle. I have made a prosthetic that works and is 3D printed. It is good for a wear around prosthetic but would not be good for anything close to moderate or heavy duty use. You can check it out on my facebook page if you are interested.
The first link is a prosthetic I sent to a guy in the Bahamas

facebook.com/CallEnterprises?r...

This one is the prosthetic I wear.

facebook.com/CallEnterprises?r...

FLAG
 


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 1.