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A Girl Who Climbs

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pulley

How To Tape Your Finger For Climbing

You’ve probably seen climbers in the gym with their fingers battered and covered in tape. Taping your fingers can help you to still climb even when they’re a bit achy, or prevent a tweak from becoming an injury. Taping holds the tendon against the bone, and stops the already sore pulley from being over stressed. Learning how to tape is a useful skill, so I figured it would be good to write a post on it. I’ve only taped my finger a few times when I had a small pulley injury, which you can read about here. I used the technique shown below, which is variation of the figure of 8 method. I found this the easiest and most supportive taping method, as it’s fairly easy to do yourself.

 

 

tape 2
A Boy Who Climbs kindly demonstrating the taping method.

 

 

1. Relax the finger that needs taping and make a fist to tuck the other digits out of the way.
Starting at the bottom pad of finger/proximal phalanx, wrap the tape around 3 times towards yourself, keeping the finger relaxed.
2. After 3 turns, cross the tape diagonally along the side of the knuckle ensuring knuckle is not covered.
3. Wrap the tape 3 times around the middle pad of finger/middle phalanx, and diagonally along the other side of the knuckle, ending back where the tape started.

 

 

tape
I really like the Psychi finger tape as it’s really hard-wearing and sticky, which stops it from peeling off.

 

 

Hopefully that makes sense, and the pictures are helpful! Ultimately if your tendons or pulleys are hurting you probably shouldn’t climb, as sad as that seems, but I hope this helps you prevent an injury.
Please feel free to leave any thoughts or tips in the comments on taping fingers 🙂

 

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Ice Ice Pulley

“I’m currently experiencing my first climbing injury, I’ve hurt my ring finger pulley (A2). Luckily it’s on my left hand and I’m right handed. It’s pretty painful to touch and hard to make a fist, but it’s not very serious. I did it by slipping off a honeycomb hold, but I think the real problem was that I didn’t warm my fingers up properly.”

fingers

I wrote that down the evening that I hurt my finger back in November, at the time it felt like the end of the world, but in reality it was just a little strain!  Luckily for me, my partner (A Boy Who Climbs) is both a climber and sport therapist, so combining his anatomical knowledge and personal experience of a few finger injuries himself, he instructed me on what to do to.

Firstly when we got home I made sure to ice it. A bunch of frozen peas will do the trick but Marcus has this nifty little Torex finger sleeve that I used. For a few days I took Ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling too, I guess this is optional for a minor tweak but at the time I felt it was better to be safe than sorry. Also I didn’t climb for a few days, and when I did get back on the wall I taped my finger for a bit of support, mainly mentally. There’s something about seeing some tape on your fingers that makes you feel a tad safer. Even after a week it was still a little achy on certain holds or moves, so I either held the hold differently, skipped it, or tried something else.

Overall it took about two weeks to stop hurting completely and get back to normal, nothing too drastic.This small hiccup has taught me to warm up my digits properly. Some of the ways I like to get my hands acclimated before climbing are by making fists, gentle stretching and massaging  before beginning on larger holds, and working up to the gnarly crimps.

At the end of the day it’s all just common sense, you know yourself and own body best, so listen to it.

Happy climbing!

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There are some links to helpful information on pulleys and taping below:

http://www.climbing.com/skills/avoid-finger-blowouts

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=6193

http://archclimbingwall.com/to-tape-or-not-to-tape-2

Finger Tendon Pulley Injury

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