I’m spending more time up in elevation, won’t let that devil inland desert heat shrivel me up. Lately its been great to go bouldering up in tram, 67F up at 8500ft with scattered clouds. While the lower tram-station is left at 109F. There is a major change in temperature, and the major change pressure between the air and my ear drum. Ear barotrauma always presents itself to me like a throbbing troll within my eustachian tube.
After warming up for a hot second I headed over to Blue Flame. It is very frustrating knowing you are only one move away from putting it together and sending. Damn you overhanging crimps to a throw deadpoint edge.
After reviewing some pictures, I ran into a picture with HORRID crimping form. I don’t know what is going on with my left pinky, but it look like it hurts. Then, tsk tsk with tendon blowing thumb lock on my right hand. Maybe that’s why i’m not sending.
Crimping is the one climbing grip technique that isolates the most stress on your finger tendon/joints. Thumb lock crimping puts a lot of hanging weight solely on your finger joints. The proper crimp form is to open hand crimp the holds. The open hand crimp is when you are on a hold with the first four digits on, the thumb either adjacent to the digits or keeping it off the hold completely. Most importantly keeping the palm open. This prevents putting your weight on the finger tendons. Climbing with a full crimp technique (with the thumb lock) can cause chronic tendon injuries that cannot heal, even with time (tendonitis). I always do the “inflammation test” to see how messed up my fingers are…
This is a check to see if you have inflamed finger tendons/pulleys.
Good: If you close your fingers and you have full contact between your finger tip and the base of your finger.
Bad: If you close your fingers and you have a gap between finger tip and the base of your finger.
We all know crimping is inevitable in climbing. To prevent stagnant inflammation of the tendons is it VERY important to warm up and stretch your fingers and tendons before jumping on hardcore half pad crimper holds.
-> Preventing Inflammation/Tendonitis:
- A quick fix to ease the inflammation and tendon pain is to take NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Such OTC NSAIDs are: aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. *NOTE* Tylonol is not an NSAID. It doesn’t help with inflammation, it solely prevents pain).
- Personally I highly suggest against consistently using NSAIDs. Reasoning is that NSAIDs are pain relievers. If you feel pain when you are climbing, it is your body telling you to STOP. If you feel pain you need to take a temporary break from climbing, unless you want permanent damage to your hands. If you need to take NSAIDs, take them after a climbing session (not before or during).
- Another reason why I don’t suggest NSAIDs before/during climbing is that they are blood thinners. NSAIDs have an anticoagulant property that prevents blood clotting. Blood clotting is very important when you break skin and bleed. If you get a bad gash in some climbing accident, you can lose a lot of blood because it will take longer for your wound to coagulate and heal. Also, blood thinners makes you susceptible more to impact bruises.
- Alternative to NSAIDs: After climbing sessions I like to massage my hands. Put some salve on, and massage each individual joint. Your tendons tend to “lock up” between the time of extreme pulling to inactivity hours after climbing. When I massage my hands for 5 minutes, I feel these type of crack and pops in my fingers. Massaging encourages blood flow.
I still have mild inflammation in my middle finger. I love crimping, it hurts so good. My first year of climbing I had horrible inflammation. To the point where none of my finger digits could close fully. Since then I made it a good “bad habit” of stretching my fingers throughout the day. Stretch even when not climbing. Perfect times to stretch for me are idly driving through heinous L.A. traffic or sitting in a 3 hour Neuroscience lecture.
All of the above information is a combination of my 3 years climbing and years of education in Biology/Neuroscience major at my University. Any other advice or corrections please let me know in a comment! Please use the FB application box below, the spam comments on this hosting site are difficult to manage.
Stay Psyched & Climb On Everyone!
-> Natalie Duran