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Fingers tingling /numb


Original Post
Terence Moses · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Hello everyone.. I haven't been climbing long.

I would like some advice please. I was climbing on a bouldering wall with a tricky crack. After pushing myself to climb up it a couple of times, I finished the session with pain on the outside of both arms just above each elbow.

Since that time (several weeks)I have experienced tingling finger tips that's seems to come and go . Also noticed that sometimes the ends of the finger tips go red on occasion especially when I grip and release my fist .

Have any other climbers experienced this ..? I'm thinking nerve impingement coupled with trying to climb difficult routes too soon..

I still have good strength in both hands but the tingling/numbness and red fingertips is annoying .

Would love to hear from anyone who has had the same or who can offer advice.

Thanks to all in advance T

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,240

Welcome to the rest of your life while climbing! You have tendonitis! There are many different methods to remedy. I have found that palm flat push-ups, 100 a day, do the trick for me but I'm sure over the next 24 hours you will get every wacky idea ever tried posted right here in this thread. You will become bewildered with the options but ultimately some things work for some people and other don't. Enjoy!

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

See a doctor.  

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,240
FrankPS wrote:

See a doctor.  

Whoa, whoa, whoa Frank! Slow your roll. The doc probably doesn't know shit and besides this is a climber forum, he probably doesn't have insurance.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Tradiban wrote:

Whoa, whoa, whoa Frank! Slow your roll. The doc probably doesn't know shit and besides this is a climber forum, he probably doesn't have insurance.

Riddle:

When you want climbing advice, ask a climber. When you want medical advice, ask a d _ _ _ _ r.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,240
Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,240
FrankPS wrote:

Riddle:

When you want climbing advice, ask a climber. When you want medical advice, ask a d _ _ _ _ r.

10 bucks says the doc just shugs and send him to PT. Another 10 bucks says the PT gives him a bunch of exercises designed for geriatrics. He's a climber! They need to turn up the juice!

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Tradiban wrote:

10 bucks says the doc just shugs and send him to PT. Another 10 bucks says the PT gives him a bunch of exercises designed for geriatrics. He's a climber! They need to turn up the juice!

Pro Tip: Go to a physical therapist that also advertises that they do sports medicine. I'm in physical therapy for a sprained ankle right now and I had to work up to some of the exercises they're having me do.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
FrankPS wrote:

Riddle:

When you want climbing advice, ask a climber. When you want medical advice, ask a d _ _ _ _ r.

Oh I get it! You combined the c and the l into a d!

d _ _ _ _ r = d i m b e r

But seriously, see a doctor.

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

There is a lot of literature on MP about elbow tenditinits. It is the worst. I will tell you two things: it won't go away on its on, and rest won't solve it either. You need to proactively work on it. Good luck. 

Tradiban, I have never seen that before, I am going to try it. 

Mark O'Neal · · Nicholson, GA · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 1,285

You said you haven't been climbing long. You might consider dialing it back a little bit and letting your body adjust to climbing more gradually.

I had tingling in my hands when I first started climbing. It eventually went away but not until I cut my climbing back. Afterwards I ramped it back up more slowly

Terence Moses · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment so far.

 l'm going to try the stretch for a couple of weeks and report back 

All the best T 

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90

Doc will probably send you to PT, and you'll come home with a bunch of exercises and some rubber bands. Personally the rubber bands didn't really do squat (not enough resistance IMO). I really started getting better when I ditched them for free weights. Below are the exercises I was given t do, which is basically what the internet recommends for this anyway:

Ease up on the climbing, but don't stop. Try to do less stressful route's. Lay off the overhanging/crimpy stuff for a bit. Go climb some slab :)

You also need to start an exercise routine to strengthen your tendon's. These generally consist of eccentric exercises (the "release phase"). 

Exercises to try:

Reverse wrist curls (start with low weight, maybe 2.5-5 lbs)

Reverse bicep curl

Forearm pronator/subinator exercise (can be done with a large hammer/weight ducts taped to a stick, dumbell with the weight on one side only) - this is the one that really got me getting better, but I'm sure it varies.

Pushup's can help too. Make sure you're going down slowly, with good form.

This type of thing isn't a 1-2 week recovery. You'll need to be patient, and continue to exercise and take it slow even after you feel "better".

Evelyn Ting · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0
Terence Moses wrote:

Hello everyone.. I haven't been climbing long.

I would like some advice please. I was climbing on a bouldering wall with a tricky crack. After pushing myself to climb up it a couple of times, I finished the session with pain on the outside of both arms just above each elbow.

Since that time (several weeks)I have experienced tingling finger tips that's seems to come and go . Also noticed that sometimes the ends of the finger tips go red on occasion especially when I grip and release my fist .

Have any other climbers experienced this ..? I'm thinking nerve impingement coupled with trying to climb difficult routes too soon..

I still have good strength in both hands but the tingling/numbness and red fingertips is annoying .

Would love to hear from anyone who has had the same or who can offer advice.

Thanks to all in advance T

Hi there!

Which fingers are typically affected? Tingling could mean 2 things, either you had an injury to one of the nerves supplying the fingers and the nerve is repairing themselves which manifests as 'tingling' due to the neurons regenerating, or it could mean you have an impingement of the nerve supplying the area. 3 major nerves supplying your hands are your radial, medial and ulnar nerves. Medial nerve impingement typically have a tingling sensation from your thumb to your middle finger, whereas ulnar nerve would be from 4th and 5th finger. Radial nerve supplies the back of your hand, although may cause some tingling to the thumb sometimes, but usually that's not the case. Try doing some manoeuvres or movements and see which exaggerates the movement more.

Your finger tips go red on certain occasion is fine. This is even more visible when you are in cold condition. It's just a response to your blood vessels filling the fingertips with blood as when you grip/compress your fists, you compress the vessels and drains the blood off, whereas when you release, the blood vessels fill back and blood flows to the capillaries on your fingers, and remember that the capillaries on the fingers are sited quite near to the surface, hence, more visible. Nerve injury (if that's the case and that depends on what type of injury) takes weeks to months to get better. Don't worry about it and go slow on your hikes.

Cheers!

Fritz N. · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115

The Armaid Rubbit worked wonders for my tendonitis, coupled with reverse dumbell curls (3 sets of 40 reps of ~8 lbs each). https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/111819750/armaid-rubbit-review

Overtraining indoors is a clear and present danger for new climbers. "Training til failure is failure to train." Don't push your grades too quickly before your tendons have acclimated to the abuse; mileage on moderates will get you further.

Tony K · · Pa · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Questions for you can you be more specific about the tingling etc is it more confined to the pinky and ring finger. With more specific info I will offer up what works and dose not work . I been Climbing over 35 years and also an orthopedic surgical nurse for 20' years 

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,130

Tony/others, I have tingling confined to my pinky and ring finger (both hands). It's most noticeable when I first wake up. No specific mechanism of injury. Your diagnosis and advice is appreciated. Never seems annoying enough to see a doctor. I'm 37 with ~15 years of climbing 100+ days/year, this started in the last year or so. Relevant or not: My wrists generally ache; I have 2 small tendon sheath(?) cysts on my left hand and left pinky finger (no pain or affected range of motion); and I spend too much time on computers. Stopping climbing is not an appealing option for me. Thanks in advance, george 

goingUp · · over here · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 40

George, sounds like an ulnar nerve neuropathy.  its compression of the ulnar nerve through the ulnar tunnel, (or guyons canal), dont rest the outside portion of your wrists on the  desk/keboard all day.  get a new keyboard, and or a  wrist pad for typing.  careful how you sleep with your wrists, If you wake up with terrible numbness and tingling with your wrists in a hyperflexed position often, consider wrist braces (that keep your wrist in neutral positions when you sleep).  Other things, like stretching and NSAIDS -600 mg i.b.broken (speelled ibuprofen)-2-3 times daily for a few weeks with icing will do you wonders.  If it gets worse, you can get steroid injections.  given your cyst  formation sounds like you are prone to scar tissue buildup and staying on top of inflammation and scar tissue aggregation should be a priority.  (are your cyts diagnosed?  are they fluid filled? or are you working on developing  a trigger finger?)

Terrence, sounds like lateral epicondylitis (the dreaded tennis elbow! - golfers elbow as Brian said is the medial epicondyle, but really its the same pathology, different location) and it sounds like you stretched/twinged the nerve and or tendon it'll regrow about a mm a day so could take some time)- you have seen good stuff on here for it.  Could tell you  more if you had more specific details about what fingers are numb and where, but either way, stretch, keep climbing, but not to failure. stretch etc. also a good tip is to take a dixie cup, fill with water, freeze it, and use said ice block to massage the muscles and tendons around your elbow where the pain is for 20 mins, i.b.broken etc. 

did i mention stretching?

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610
FrankPS wrote:

Riddle:

When you want climbing advice, ask a climber. When you want medical advice, ask a d _ _ _ _ r.

disambulater?

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,130
goingUp wrote:

George, sounds like an ulnar nerve neuropathy.  its compression of the ulnar nerve through the ulnar tunnel, (or guyons canal), dont rest the outside portion of your wrists on the  desk/keboard all day.  get a new keyboard, and or a  wrist pad for typing.  careful how you sleep with your wrists, If you wake up with terrible numbness and tingling with your wrists in a hyperflexed position often, consider wrist braces (that keep your wrist in neutral positions when you sleep).  Other things, like stretching and NSAIDS -600 mg i.b.broken (speelled ibuprofen)-2-3 times daily for a few weeks with icing will do you wonders.  If it gets worse, you can get steroid injections.  given your cyst  formation sounds like you are prone to scar tissue buildup and staying on top of inflammation and scar tissue aggregation should be a priority.  (are your cyts diagnosed?  are they fluid filled? or are you working on developing  a trigger finger?)

Terrence, sounds like lateral epicondylitis (the dreaded tennis elbow! - golfers elbow as Brian said is the medial epicondyle, but really its the same pathology, different location) and it sounds like you stretched/twinged the nerve and or tendon it'll regrow about a mm a day so could take some time)- you have seen good stuff on here for it.  Could tell you  more if you had more specific details about what fingers are numb and where, but either way, stretch, keep climbing, but not to failure. stretch etc. also a good tip is to take a dixie cup, fill with water, freeze it, and use said ice block to massage the muscles and tendons around your elbow where the pain is for 20 mins, i.b.broken etc. 

did i mention stretching?

Thanks, goingUp. I appreciate your advice and will make an effort to do the stuff I knew I should be doing (more stretching, ice) and have the ergo looked at. To elaborate on your questions:

-Wrists are neutral at night.

-I definitely have poor keyboard ergonomics at work.

-cysts have not been diagnosed beyond internet searches. They aren't painful. They don't seem fluid filled. About 1/4" diameter lumps. One on palm, 1" below the base of pinky and ring finger; one on inside of pinky (facing the ring finger), just below the most distal joint. It doesn't seem like these are the most common locations for ganglion cysts or Dupuytren's nodules, but it could be that.  I sort of figured it was tendon-related due to climbing.

-no trigger finger development.

goingUp · · over here · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 40

George, That honestly might change things a little.  

Also, the 1 inch down from the origin of the pinky is along the palmar crease, that is the most common site for trigger finger development, your tissue might just not be impeeded by  some of the reticulation (hence the non locking)...

However!   What you are now describing (without seeing or physically examining it) could be a neuroma or even a fibroma - if these become painful, or continue to grow, you might need them to be looked at, and possibly excised....

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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