Finger tweaks: if you climb long enough, you’ve almost definitely had one. Let’s face it. Injuring a finger sucks when it happens, but it sucks, even more, when months down the line you are still dealing with the same nagging finger injuries.
This situation of having a finger injury linger in the background for months is all too common. The reason for this is that most climbers don’t take a proactive approach to healing injured fingers. Instead, either we tape our finger up and hope it’s not too aggravated by climbing, or we simply stop climbing until our symptoms subside.
Climber and physical therapist Esther Smith sees this all the time and neither approach is productive. This is why she developed her Grassroots Protocol for healing finger injuries which uses a hangboard (as well as other tools) to proactively heal finger injuries. Esther explained this protocol in her TrainingBeta Podcast on the subject. However, today we have an article she wrote for the Black Diamond Blog where she outlines this protocol in an easy to follow and implement form.
“Many climbers we see at Grassroots share Dan’s perspective: skepticism towards medical intervention and frustration over persistent injuries. The following recommendations build on the previous Hang Right articles 1 & 2, and provide rehabilitation guidelines for common finger injuries. Specifically, this protocol aims to address finger flexor tendon strains and annular pulley ligament sprains. The strategies outlined below provide solutions for recovering function in the hand and fingers, remodeling impaired tissue (ligaments and tendons) at the finger, and addressing upstream impairments that may put excessive stress on the fingers.” – Esther Smith
Healing Nagging Finger Injuries
Obviously not all finger injuries are the same and this protocol is designed specifically for general finger flexor tendon strains and annular pulley ligament sprains. As Esther points out in her article, getting a proper diagnosis of your injury is still the first step. No protocol will work if you aren’t targeting the correct injury.
In terms of the protocol itself, Esther outlines exactly what she prescribes at different stages of the injury in the full article which you can reach by click through below. However, to give you a general idea, her approach consists of two main phases. They are:
- Grassroots Finger Recovery Program
- Grassroots Finger Remodeling Program
Click through below to read about the entire protocol in more detail. Your fingers will thank you!
Full Article: Hang Right – Part 3: Healing Nagging Finger Injuries
(photo courtesy of Matt Pincus | @mpincus87)
Other Articles You Might Like:
- TBP 066 :: Physical Therapist Esther Smith Talks About Shoulders
- TBP 071 :: Physical Therapist Esther Smith on Elbow Pain
- Hang Just Right: Shoulder Maintenance for Climbers
- Hang Right – Part II: Elbow Pain in Climbers