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Can't crack my finger knuckles anymore


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kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85

Ever since my finger has been injured I can't crack my knuckles without just horrible pain. I can crack the PIP and DIP on all of my fingers by wiggling it side to side at the joint, but I can't do it with my injured finger (left ring). I can pull down with that finger, and I can also curl it towards the base (but with pain). It's been about a year now and I have just climbed through it by taping. It is a pulley injury or is this something else? If I try to massage the PIP (large knuckle) it is pretty painful but left alone I have no pain.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Armchair Asshole · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 215

You've climbed through finger pain for a year and SERIOUSLY wonder if you've in injured something in your.... finger?!?!?!

Go to a doctor.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 124
kck wrote:

Ever since my finger has been injured I can't crack my knuckles without just horrible pain. I can crack the PIP and DIP on all of my fingers by wiggling it side to side at the joint, but I can't do it with my injured finger (left ring). I can pull down with that finger, and I can also curl it towards the base (but with pain). It's been about a year now and I have just climbed through it by taping. It is a pulley injury or is this something else? If I try to massage the PIP (large knuckle) it is pretty painful but left alone I have no pain.

It's probably chlamydia of the finger, you'll need to get it amputated.

But seriously, we're not doctors, and if we were we couldn't collect the proper diagnostic criteria to diagnose you over the internet. Go to a doctor.

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

Since it hasn't been said, you should see a (hand) doctor. :)

mkclimb · · Western Colorado · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 416

Def go see a hand doc and PT. I've found that tendon glides and certain types of eccentric motion can allow me to pop my knuckles when they feel like they really need it. 

kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85

Yeah I guess it's time. I am really hoping I won't need surgery though. Should I see a doctor or PT? And does anyone know a good hand doctor in the Denver or Boulder area?

Matthew Stark · · Indianapolis, IN · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

Im going through nearly the exact same issue, at least from your description. Inability to pop, swelling, and pain, all getting worse with climbing. Just started PT a couple weeks ago, i might still go see a hand specialist, though. Im suspecting its a collateral ligament rupture, but the physical therapists arent really telling me anything definitive.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 124
kck wrote:

Yeah I guess it's time. I am really hoping I won't need surgery though. Should I see a doctor or PT? And does anyone know a good hand doctor in the Denver or Boulder area?

I'd see a doctor who specializes in sports medicine and/or hands (both would be ideal, but probably hard to find). You'll probably need to see that doctor to get a prescription for PT anyway (and in that case, again look for a PT who specializes in sports medicine).

"Sports medicine" seems to be the keyword that means they don't just treat geriatrics or people looking to fill out disability forms, and know how to deal with an athlete who is looking to get back to their sport rather than just stop the pain. Many physical therapists or occupational therapists will just tell you to stop doing stuff until the pain stops, which means you'll come back a lot weaker, if at all. But someone specializing in sports medicine will be more likely to have techniques for active recovery and will hopefully only recommend completely stopping activity if that's the only way.

EDIT: No judgement on geriatrics or people looking to fill out disability forms; that's just not what I'm looking for when I go to a doctor/PT with an injury.

EDIT: I get why you're saying you hope you don't need surgery, but "needing surgery" in a medical sense just means that surgery is better than the other options. It sucks if surgery is your best option, but it is by definition better to find that out than to live with the injury or try to deal in another way.

kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85
David Kerkeslager wrote:

I'd see a doctor who specializes in sports medicine and/or hands (both would be ideal, but probably hard to find). You'll probably need to see that doctor to get a prescription for PT anyway (and in that case, again look for a PT who specializes in sports medicine).

"Sports medicine" seems to be the keyword that means they don't just treat geriatrics or people looking to fill out disability forms, and know how to deal with an athlete who is looking to get back to their sport rather than just stop the pain. Many physical therapists or occupational therapists will just tell you to stop doing stuff until the pain stops, which means you'll come back a lot weaker, if at all. But someone specializing in sports medicine will be more likely to have techniques for active recovery and will hopefully only recommend completely stopping activity if that's the only way.

EDIT: No judgement on geriatrics or people looking to fill out disability forms; that's just not what I'm looking for when I go to a doctor/PT with an injury.

Honestly this is why I have put off on going to see doctors and specialists for so long. Most doctors in the past just gave me a RICE pamphlet and some Ibuprofen and sent me home. Physical therapists gave me exercises that I could find with some Googling on my own. I also hate the system where you have to see a generalists first before you can see a specialist (unless you purchase the expensive insurance).

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 124
Matthew Stark wrote:

Im going through nearly the exact same issue, at least from your description. Inability to pop, swelling, and pain, all getting worse with climbing. Just started PT a couple weeks ago, i might still go see a hand specialist, though. Im suspecting its a collateral ligament rupture, but the physical therapists arent really telling me anything definitive.

That's because PTs can't diagnose to the same extent as a doctor can. A good PT probably has a good guess of what's going on, but a) they don't have certain tools like MRIs, and b) they don't have the same license to diagnose, or liability to cover misdiagnoses, that a doctor has.

kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85
Matthew Stark wrote:

Im going through nearly the exact same issue, at least from your description. Inability to pop, swelling, and pain, all getting worse with climbing. Just started PT a couple weeks ago, i might still go see a hand specialist, though. Im suspecting its a collateral ligament rupture, but the physical therapists arent really telling me anything definitive.

What exercises does the PT have you do and is it helping?

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 124
kck wrote:

Honestly this is why I have put off on going to see doctors and specialists for so long. Most doctors in the past just gave me a RICE pamphlet and some Ibuprofen and sent me home. Physical therapists gave me exercises that I could find with some Googling on my own. I also hate the system where you have to see a generalists first before you can see a specialist (unless you purchase the expensive insurance).

I empathize with this a lot, and that's why I think it's important to spread the word about the "sports medicine" keyword. It's totally a thing and there are professionals out there who can give you the help you need, you just have to sift through a medical system that is designed for the general population rather than athletes.

Senior Hernandez · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 15

The idea that doctors know anything about hands is funny. 

Matthew Stark · · Indianapolis, IN · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0
kck wrote:

What exercises does the PT have you do and is it helping?

Im just doing tendon glides and strength putty. Seeing as ive been doing them since before i went to PT, i doubt it.

Everett · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 25
Senior Hernandez wrote:

The idea that doctors know anything about hands is funny. 

To see a PT about some rotator cuff aggravation, I had to talk to a surgeon that specialized in hand and arm surgery. They told me it wasn't serious enough for imaging, to keep climbing, and to see the PT for exercises to strengthen my shoulder.

kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85
Matthew Stark wrote:

Im going through nearly the exact same issue, at least from your description. Inability to pop, swelling, and pain, all getting worse with climbing. Just started PT a couple weeks ago, i might still go see a hand specialist, though. Im suspecting its a collateral ligament rupture, but the physical therapists arent really telling me anything definitive.

Thanks to giving me a term to search on. I have since started buddy taping it as opposed to taping it for a pulley injury, based on Beth Rodden's experience with the same injury. It's only been 2 days but there is less pain after climbing, so that might be good. I'm also massaging it to increase blood flow and keeping it taped even when not climbing. I'll report back later.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 337

A doctor will be able to do an MRI and tell you exactly what is wrong, no guess work. PT normally does not go that far into diagnostics. 

Canyon Moore · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 28 days ago · Points: 0
kck wrote:

Ever since my finger has been injured I can't crack my knuckles without just horrible pain. I can crack the PIP and DIP on all of my fingers by wiggling it side to side at the joint, but I can't do it with my injured finger (left ring). I can pull down with that finger, and I can also curl it towards the base (but with pain). It's been about a year now and I have just climbed through it by taping. It is a pulley injury or is this something else? If I try to massage the PIP (large knuckle) it is pretty painful but left alone I have no pain.

I play football and I had the same thing happen to me , I ripped the finger back and strained a tendon but I have the same type of pain in the same place, shit sucks I have to wrap so much tape 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Senior Hernandez wrote:

The idea that doctors know anything about hands is funny. 

The thread resurrection caused me to read this - unless I'm totally missing some subtlety, easily one of the most ridiculous comments ever.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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