Hand Injuries

Hand Injuries

Description Of The Injury: Due to rock climbing’s heavy emphasis on upper body strength and, in particular, hand strength, it is a sport where hand injuries can commonly occur. Certain rock climbing grip techniques are more susceptible to one injury or another. Because of the high tension that the hand must sustain in rock climbing, tendon strains, stress fractures, split fingers, PIP dislocations and other injuries have an increased risk of occurring.

Injury Symptoms: Symptoms may very depending on the type of injury sustained. For instance, pinpoint pain and bruising on a specific part of finger may indicate a stress fracture, while pain and swelling at one of the joints of the finger may indicate ligament tear or interphalangeal dislocation.

Additional Information

Home Treatments:

Most rock climbing hand injuries can be treated at home using the rest, ice, compression and elevation principle. The affected area should be rested until gradually improvement in recovery is made. Ice packs should be administered 20 minutes at a time, 4-8 times for the first several days. Later on, the hand can be submerged in a bowl of warm water to further reduce inflammation and promote blood flow. If a finger is injured, tape it to an adjacent finger to create a conventional splint.

Professional Medical Treatments:

Professional treatment should be sought when the injury does not positively react to conventional treatment or if the injury is thought to be severe such as a rupture, or severe deformed dislocation or reoccurring carpal tunnel syndrome. Cortisone injections may be administered to reduce the inflammation. Ultrasound therapy may be used to promote healing and a split or cast may be advised for several weeks.

Physical Therapy and Exercises:

Physical recovery will depend on the specific injury sustained. Finger and wrist injuries will require the recovery of their range of motion through stretches of the flexion, extension, side to side and circular motions. Forearm strength recovery can be accomplished by doing forearm curls with dumb bells and progressing in chin ups. Finally, practice squeezing a latex or rubber ball to improve tension strength of the entire hand.

Exercise Techniques to Prevent Injury:

General upper body strength should be maintained in order to reduce the chance of rock climbing hand injuries from occurring. Slow progression, particularly when starting out in the sport of rock climbing, is critical in allowing the tendons, ligaments and muscles of the hand to get used to the overload in stress. Protective equipment such as gloves and correct griping form should be high priorities in order to prevent hand injuries.

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