Ring finger pain when loaded w/o pinky


Original Post
Colin Johnston · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

So last weekend I was pulling pretty hard on a MR pocket with my right hand and felt a sudden twang and some tingling mostly at the base of the ring finger but also about 1/3 of the way up my forearm from my elbow. No audible pop that I heard and I stopped immediately and haven't climbed since.

It didn't really hurt and still doesn't, nor was it ever swollen or tender to the touch. However, it is slightly painful and noticeably weak if I try to pull open handed without the pinky (MR or IMR). Crimping is fine, as is pulling just index and middle fingers together. It'll also send a twinge of pain if I carelessly pick something up that loads the ring finger without the pinky.

Seems like there's mention of flexor tendons and lumbrical muscles floating around, but it doesn't seem super consistent symptom-wise.

Anyone else done something similar and wandered the internet aimlessly in search of answers? If so, any helpful advice or optimistic stories?

Curly kN · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 20

I had the exact same symptoms and came to the conclusion that it was a partially torn lumbrical. I took about a week off and then "buddy taped" my pinky to my ring finger for the next couple weeks while climbing after that to avoid re-injury. It healed up fine.

dmr · · Carlsbad, CA · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

My experience with similar symptoms. After about three weeks off, I eased back into climbing. Avoided anything that would cause pain. Crimps felt fine, open hand still bad.

After about three months, pain was virtually non-existent.

After six months, I was back to normal. Ten+ years later I don't remember what hand/arm was involved.

RC.com injury link

Colin Johnston · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Sounds optimistic to me - thanks.

FWIW I buddy taped yesterday and stuck to some moderates and everything felt just fine. Obviously no pockety climbs, but I figure that will just come with time.

Brendan Blanchard · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 590

http://www.rockandice.com/rock-climbing-injuries/fingers-blown-tendons?A=WebApp&CCID=16516&Page=10&Items=1

"Splitting your fingers in the next few weeks will be like pissing into the wind- not only are you doing yourself a disservice, it will get messy."

One possibility, as I had this exact issue before and went to a specialist with this article in hand. He agreed with the diagnosis and prognosis. I buddy taped for a few weeks, avoided strong pocket cruxes for a while, and haven't had an issue for years. Took maybe 6 months before I felt no pain/tightness post-injury.

cmqr9001 Black · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 135

I had almost the exact same thing you described happen to me. I think it was a lumbrical tear in my palm. I took 6 weeks off and eased slowly back into climbing, only easy routes at first and avoiding crimps, pockets, and anything remotely tweaky. Don't do ANYTHING to cause that finger pain for a good while, and stay off tweaky holds. After maybe 10 weeks or so i'm back to climbing full strength and feel no weakness or tweakiness in that finger anymore. That being said, I still try to avoid two finger pockets that don't load the pinky, and probably will continue to for quite a while.

drewp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 125

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/new-open-grip-injury-fus/110122228#a_110122761

jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Buddy tape your ring and pinky. Don't drop the pinky for a while and avoid pockets. You should be able to climb fine on anything as long as your pinky and ring finger don't separate.

Colin Johnston · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0
jmmlol wrote:Buddy tape your ring and pinky. Don't drop the pinky for a while and avoid pockets. You should be able to climb fine on anything as long as your pinky and ring finger don't separate.
This seems to be working pretty well and I'm able to climb pain free. Even when taped, I can still tell it's there if I start to load an openhanded grip a little unevenly. But hey, maybe all this increased focus will lead to some positive changes in technique.
jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0
endgame56 wrote: This seems to be working pretty well and I'm able to climb pain free. Even when taped, I can still tell it's there if I start to load an openhanded grip a little unevenly. But hey, maybe all this increased focus will lead to some positive changes in technique.
It's a fairly common and manageable injury. I did the same thing a couple years ago and climbed through it by focusing on not dropping the pinky.
Sean Peter · · IL · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 40

Sounds very much like it's a flexor unit strain. Doctor visit is worthwhile. Was put on oral steroids (NOT injections!) after lengthy discussion with doc and being hesitant about steroids and tendons. Then 2 weeks off completely- then slowly back for another 6 weeks buddy taping the pinky and ring and not doing anything that caused pain. Pretty mental about pockets for another few months.

Dave McLeod's book Make or Break can't be recommended enough as well.

Here's another Dave MacLeod Blog post where he discusses icing for the injury (and how it didn't seem to do much- AND how his injury took about a year to heal.

(When I read that post and heard it took him a year to heal- that's when I went to the doc!)

But you very well may be able to climb pretty close to full, as long as you never drop your pinky.....

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply