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Possible A3/A4 injury - would love input
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Mar 27, 2013
Hello MountainProject,

Last Sunday at the gym I tweaked my left ring finger and did some sort of damage in the region between the PIP and DIP. When it happened I was moving to a small crimp and hurt a distinct pop, which I thought may have been my knuckle.

Right now, I have full ROM and can make a tight fist without any pain. The region from the PIP to DIP is sensitive to firm pressure, but there is no visible swelling or inflammation. When I do apply firm pressure, the pain is localized mostly to the midpoint of the PIP-DIP region.

So, I'm not sure what I've specifically injured, whether it is the A3/A4 pulley, or maybe the C3. As of now, I've taken no real action besides occasionally icing and I've stopped climbing.

A little about me: I'm 21YO, 185lbs, 6'3". I've been climbing about 1.3 years and I'm bouldering V5, breaking into RRG sport 5.12s (I hate saying this stuff, but it gives you an idea on the sort of terrain I'm on). MountainProject, please help a young and dumb college kid figure out his injury and the best course of action to find a solution.

From Louisville, KY
Joined Feb 23, 2012
0 points
Mar 28, 2013
I don't know what you did to your finger, but I'm sure a large pizza from Miguel's and a 6-pack of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, chased with a little Maker's will fix you right up.

I didn't realize there was a climbing gym in Lexington?
Joined Sep 15, 2012
0 points
Mar 28, 2013
I had a pop followed by ~3 months of tenderness last year. Basically time and using my ring finger less is what helped to heal.

Occasionally I did warm/cold water hand soaks to be proactive - 10 min cold then 10 min hot, the idea being for blood to flow from your hand to your core then once your body realizes it's not in any danger (hypothermic) blood supposedly flows back at a greater rate. Also I had read not to take any anti-inflammatory medicine, inflammation is part of the healing process.

Doesn't sound like a major injury though. As with most sports when you get an injury you become your own sports therapist and read read read heh...
Ben Dubs
Joined Nov 7, 2012
3 points
Mar 28, 2013
Interwebs doctors aren't going to help you diagnose what's injured and to what extent. If you're a college kid, go to the kinesiology department or sports trainers and have them look at it. Or as they say back in the Corps, "drink water, take motrin"... William Domhart
From Ventucky, CA
Joined Sep 22, 2011
0 points
Mar 28, 2013
If you're a college kid, go to the kinesiology department or sports trainers and have them look at it.

In my experience the sports medicine people at the university(s} I've attended are not worth the trouble. I had a similar injury bouldering, pop, than pain in my ring finger. Couldn't put pressure on the finger with out excruciating pain. Went to see the sports guy through the student health service and all he said was don't climb until it doesn't hurt. Pretty much the same response I've had to a few other injuries.

The advice worked, had to take a summer off but I recovered.

My bet is if you have a doctor (or more likely an RN) look at they will tell you to possibly immobilize it and avoid any activity that causes pain, until it heals.
Dan Bachen
From Helena, MT
Joined Mar 8, 2010
345 points
Mar 28, 2013
I blew my ring finger quite a while ago. I felt the pain shoot all the way up my forearm. Afterward there was no pain but also no strength in that finger. It was like it was dead. Rest and ibuprofen did the trick and it's fine now.

I am now dealing with a bout of trigger finger (hurts when I do just about anything, not just climb--in fact climbing with an open hand grip does not hurt it) and was considering going to my GP. However, after reading some of these responses, I agree that that would not be very productive and I'll probably just immobilize and medicate.
Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Joined Nov 9, 2007
5 points
Mar 28, 2013 is a great place to start. If you think it's grade II + get a referral to see a hand specialist or ortho. In any case, they wont be able to diagnose further than what's provided in the above article. They'll recommend imaging...which I doubt you need, considering you'd already be in a Dr office rather than consulting the interwebs if it was that bad.

FWIW Here's my uneducated opinion on what happened: You have a minor tear in your pulley (Grade II). Doesnt really matter where or what is hurt; make no diff, you're out. Lay off it for a few weeks. Ice & promote bloodflow. Then ease back into it till it stops hurting.
Ryan Palo
From Bend, oregon
Joined Aug 18, 2006
500 points

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