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Help me! This finger injury has been nagging on and off for a year and a HALF!
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By Allie
From the open road
Oct 30, 2012

Hello, I really hope somebody can help with this.

I have had this nagging finger injury for a year and a half and I am not quite sure what caused it or what is injured, so I can't adaquately heal/fix it...

Basically, I injured something in the most distal joint of my left index finger. It only hurts when I move off of a LEFT hand hold and my fingers are crimped hard on the hold (not open handing). I have given the injury up to two months without climbing at all ( I did this two or three times), followed by a month or so of climbing very easy terrain (no crimping.) Two different things seem to aggrevate the injury-- moving up off of a left hand crimp, and strenuous flexion of ONLY the distal joing (like pulling a cam trigger of a cam which is stuck).

When I first noticed the injury it was after a day of trying to red point a project in the cold--I remember crimping really hard that day because my fingers were numb. So I believe when I first noticed the injury it was acute--I had just sustained it--I am pretty sure it wasn't overuse and still isn't.

There have been one or two occasions where the joint seemed to get "stuck" for a moment--leading me to believe i may have done something to the cartilage in the joint capsule of the injured joint.

Also, if my index finger is fully extended and I flex the injured joint, there is a small popping sensation every time.

I am still able to climb with this injury; although, it is stopping me from climbing harder than anything I can't open hand or crack climb. Thanks for reading and please reply with ANY ideas. I would like some opinions before I spend my life savings on a doctor that probably won't be able to do anything lol...


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Oct 30, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

so you've had this for a year and a half and you're really worried about it so you finally came to mountain project to ask for medical advice? Go see a doctor!


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By redlude97
Oct 30, 2012

Its probably synovitis
www.rockandice.com/articles/how-to-climb/article/57-fingers->>>


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Oct 30, 2012
El Chorro

I'm not going to guess what might be wrong with your finger but I can tell you that most acute injuries (tendons, ligaments, pulley injuries, etc) take six months to heal properly. Sounds like you haven't even given it half that much time. Seeing a doctor is not a bad idea but if you're determined to get advice from the Internet then REST is the best that you are going to get.


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By Jesse Ryan
Oct 30, 2012
Psyched or bananas

I have not had this kind of finger injury, so no direct advice, sorry. I only have a few things to add. Even if the injury wasn't initially chronic, the length of time would make me think it now needs to be treated more in that category. Safest bet is still expert advice, and if you don't see improvement eventually I'd see a hand specialist.

Other general ideas that have worked for me with finger injuries:

1) I'm a believer in 'climbing through the injury' that is as long as the injury is NOT actively inflamed and painful to all activities then I generally get better if I climb at the right amount for my body. The proper stress seems to stimulate the area to recover. I've had injuries linger if I rest and come back to climbing with too much intensity or frequency. With injuries get a full body and overall climbing warm up, including stretching the finger fully and progressively and gradually increase loads to the finger. Initially this should be so mellow you don't even risk any twinges for a few weeks, then gradually increasing the finger load to smaller holds held with open hand, to half crimps, to full crimping perhaps at some point. Again, I haven't had this exact injury, so it might now work, but this is my general philosophy when I've dealt with finger injuries.

2) It works for pulleys, and have heard it might not for other injuries, but worth a try too: Ice baths for the fingers. Search for Dave McLeod's first video blog on finger injuries and an ice bath method -- it involves 20-30 min bath with continued addition of cubes - meant to increase blood flow to the tissues.

Good Luck.


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By TheBirdman
Oct 30, 2012

Bucket of sand and power putty. Don't listen to the guy above. Climbing through a finger injury will not work. Take at least 2 months and carry the power putty with you an squeeze it every free minute you have. Then work extension in a bucket of sand or rice. I think ice baths are snake oil, but some people claim they work and it certainly can't hurt.


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By Linnaeus
From New England/ Baltimore
Oct 30, 2012

Finger anatomy is very complex. There are innumerable things that could be wrong; you should go see a local hand specialist. You've got to use that finger for the rest of your life, climbing or not, play it safe and get the consultation of an expert.


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By Allie
From the open road
Oct 30, 2012

To the doctors it is I suppose...


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By germsauce
Oct 30, 2012
Hippos kill people

If you want to take medical advice from a lawyer then listen to Birdman. For an exorbitant fee, you can also keep him on retainer for legal council if "snake oil" is your thing.

Otherwise, take the time to see a specialist, perhaps this thread would be better devoted to recommendations on who to see?


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By Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Oct 30, 2012
Dreamweaver

Allie wrote:
Hello, I really hope somebody can help with this.


They sure can, they're called Doctors.


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By The Coop
Oct 30, 2012

Stick your finger up your ass, and if it turns brown you'll be o.k.


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Oct 30, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

The Coop wrote:
Stick your finger up your ass, and if it turns brown you'll be o.k.


are you 11?


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By Allie
From the open road
Nov 4, 2012

The Coop wrote:
Stick your finger up your ass, and if it turns brown you'll be o.k.



The only guideline is "don't be a jerk."

The fact that you are on mountain project reading the injury forum when you clearly don't have anything constructive to say is pathetic. You should be outside climbing, not inside hiding behind your computer while you attempt to cut others down.


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By MattL
From Boulder, CO
Nov 4, 2012
me

Sounds similar to an issue I had with my index finger a couple of years ago.

No distinct 'pop' or acute sensation of pain at the time of injury, but joint felt 'crunchy' when flexed and crimping was quite painful for some time. I probably should have gotten it checked out, but being a poor college student I researched potential causes for my discomfort and made the best remedy I could.

After the injury, the joint looked noticeably inflamed all the time. If i squeezed the joint between my thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand there was definite discomfort, but no acute pain.

In my circumstance, I believe that I damaged the cartilage in the joint. Took a month off, then wrapped the hurt finger on either side of the joint, crossing underneath the joint when transitioning from one segment to the next. Took glucosamine 3x a day for 6 months to help with recovery. Now the joint is noticeably bigger than the left hand, but fully recovered. Hope that helps!


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By Allie
From the open road
Nov 4, 2012

Thanks Matt. I am also I poor college student which is why I haven't coughed up the money yet to go to a doc about it. Sounds like a good idea.


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By Buff Johnson
Nov 4, 2012
smiley face

Check to see if you have a clinic on campus as part of your student fees. Mine has a bunch of services; see about a scan.


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By H..
From Washingtonville NY
Nov 4, 2012

you have 9 more...


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By frankstoneline
Nov 4, 2012

onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/2010/05/pulley-injuries-art>>>
this has great advice, and has been my goto injury resource lately.

I've had several finger injuries (mostly minor) and always took a bit of time off and then started climbing again, paying close attention to how the injured bits felt between burns, drinking plenty of water and warming up more than I usually would.

Also, vitamin C is crucial for production of collagen, an element of fibrous tissue found in all kinds of things in your body (and jello). This list includes tendons, ligaments and muscle fibers. So be sure to consume adequate vitamin C especially when you are injured (or your teeth start falling out).


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By thecornyman
From Oakland, CA
Nov 17, 2012
me on illusion dweller

A good supplement to take is Glucosamine. Its something that your body produces anyway. It's not like taking an aspirin for pain however. You need to have a constant flow of it in your body so you should take the pills 3 times a day. I take the liquid stuff which is kinda pricey but you only take it 2 times daily. For me, after I've been taking this supplement consistently for around a month I still get these minor injuries but my body heels from them in rapid time.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 17, 2012
El Chorro

Allie wrote:
Thanks Matt. I am also I poor college student which is why I haven't coughed up the money yet to go to a doc about it. Sounds like a good idea.


Where do you attend college? If you are a full time student at even a small university you should have access to cheap/free healthcare. They won't just diagnose you right away and probably won't pay for a specialist, but if you go in there and tell them that you can't write or type and that it is affecting your studies... you'll probably get some help.

I was really into martial arts when I was in university and once broke a bone in my hand. I initially went to the campus health clinic and got x-rays and everything but they said I didn't need a split and to just give in a few months rest. I kept forgetting that it was broken and shaking hands with people at work and they would squeeze it and break it again. So I went back to the Doc and told them that I couldn't write (which was true) so they set me up w/ a few different splints and pain meds and all. Gave me a bunch more Xrays over the next few months as well.


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By rob.calm
From Loveland, Colorado
Nov 17, 2012
Mother #1 on the Nautilus at Vedauwoo. Rob is calm on this happy offwidth

Have you tried taping the knuckle when you climb? If not, it might be worth a try. Taping is the difference between climbing and not climbing for me (but each person's situation is different).

Rob.calm


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By AndyMac
From Center, CO
Nov 17, 2012

I first saw this post when I got shutdown by a PIP joint injury on my left index finger.
I talked with a gal who did therapy and yoga and she recommended New Chapter's Zyflamend, www.newchapter.com/zyflamend/zyflamend-whole-body. I've been taking it for 2 weeks and have very little issues or pain since. It may have become some chronic type inflammation and this may do the trick.
Take advantage of your limited crimping ability and train that open hand position.


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By Ryan N
From Lone Tree, Colorado
Nov 17, 2012
RJN

Grow a pair man...


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