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Torn Finger Ligament- Rehab ideas?

Original Post
Josh Glantz · · Seattle · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 21

Hey MP,

I'm having a hard time rehabbing a finger injury and I'm looking for some exercises or just to hear from someone with a similar injury before. I'm told it will heal just fine in time and to keep climbing, which I'm doing and have returned to my former glory (v4-5 boulders & leading 5.10b-c). Having said that, crack climbing anything with a handjam seems like it will never be an option due to (hopefully temporary) loss of flexibility... and pain. PLEASE NOTE: I'm an optimist except when it comes to injuries.

Medically, I tore the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the PIP joint on my left middle finger. For the layman- when looking at your left hand, it's the side ligament on the outside of your middle finger on the ring-finger side. It dislocated, bending towards my index finger/thumb, rupturing the UCL or at least "tearing it pretty bad" according to the orthopaedic surgeon who examined me in mid-May.

Has anyone out there tore this before and fully recovered? Mostly recovered? What's your story?!

As of now, I can grab any hold pain/problem free- including finger pockets if I'm very deliberate about it- and I have no trouble opening or closing the finger (to make a fist, etc.). What really hurts is straightening the finger the last 5% and pushing down towards my palm once I've made a fist.

My healthy right middle finger bends back a little bit PAST straight (see first picture), where my left, I have to force to get the last little bit to straight. And the same goes for the other direction when making a fist- I have to really work to get it curled up that last little bit.

If you read this far, I know you're wondering what happened. Back in late-April, I was stupidly climbing wet rock at dusk to clean a top rope anchor. While safely on my personal anchor at the top, I fell and instinctively grabbed the left permadraw (SO STUPID, I know, I should've just let my PAS catch me). That's when the dislocation happened- and what a miserable rappel down that was.

Thanks all,

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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