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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

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how long should it take to heal?

3:34:03 PM
Two and a half weeks ago while climbing I stupidly balanced on a slab and used a bolt hole!! Stupid Stupid and serves me right! but that aside as I moved upward pulling on my ring finger...even more stupid. I heard an audiable 'pop' and discomfort. To cut a long story short Ive damaged the pully and want to ask others how long the healing should take as its still really sore to touch and climbing is all but out. Ive been doing the cold water therapy and gentle stretching etc but I'm a little worried if I wait too long to seek expert advice I might do permanent damage........
3:40:10 PM
On 28/10/2008 doc wrote:
but I'm a little worried if I wait
>too long to seek expert advice I might do permanent damage........

maybe you should seek the forementioned expert advice now then? That is, not us lot of self proclaimed experts, but someone who can actually examine it in person as well.

Most people don't bung their fingers by bending them upwards - you may well have done something new and exciting and different.

4:38:28 PM
On 28/10/2008 doc wrote:
To cut a long story short Ive damaged the
>pully and want to ask others how long the healing should take as its still
>really sore to touch and climbing is all but out. Ive been doing the cold
>water therapy and gentle stretching etc but I'm a little worried if I wait
>too long to seek expert advice I might do permanent damage........

took me around 5-6 weeks before i could climb without pain, but a point i have is that i didn't hear any pop, i just climbed on a sore pulley that i made more sore by climbing on it two days in a row.
depending on how badly it's done (and a pop is pretty bad) most reports seem to say 4 weeks and longer. i found taping my finger straight helped, but i blew my a2 pulley, which is a little different to the last pulley in a finger. either way, tape it up, don't use it, ice it for a while until the pain goes and see a professional in the meantime!
5:50:37 PM
I've got an injured pulley at the moment too but in my case it's from diversifying into bouldering (my trad friends told me it was a mistake) and going too hard too soon (and not warming up!). It was a gradual thing that built up - not a pop - probably not as bad as yours.

Anyway my wife is a specialist hand physio who sees a lot of climbers so I've had a lot of treatment and good advice. The bad news is that for complete healing 3 months is normal. I still can't crimp hard on anything without a bit of pain and it's been almost 2 months - but I can climb easier grades without a problem. It probably took about 3 weeks before I could climb just on jugs - my wife made me a little thermoplastic splint to support the pulley and it had the bonus of protecting it from the pressure from the edges of big holds in the gym.

Whatever you do don't crimp on it until it's totally healed or you'll really bugger it and don't do anything that hurts it. See an expert and get some exercises (tendon gliding and stretching stuff is important apparently) so you don't get more injuries and it heals properly. You can certainly do permanent damage if you do the wrong thing at this stage. An expert might also identify other bits and pieces you've injured along with the pulley like the tendon.

Eduardo Slabofvic
6:21:48 PM
Mine went off like a twig snapping and could be heard by my belayer, I dislocated a knuckle at the same
time. It took 6 months to heal.

For rehab, get some rubber bands and put them around the ends of your fingers then open your hand
against the resistance of the rubber bands. Add more rubber bandds as you get stronger. Also get some
plasticine or putty or similar squishy substance and squeeze it with your fingers against the resistance.
Obviously if it hursts back off.
10:23:51 AM
I did one of the pulleys closer to the wrist (A-something, I forget how they're numbered) while cranking hard on an undercling in the gym last April.

It went with an audible 'pop'. This was a week or so before Easter and I was psyched to go away, so after some professional advice (!) I strapped it and was told to stick to easier routes and not to pull on any flat topped holds (ie keep a straight hand).

Unfortunately due to a navigational error (doh) I sent my partner off on Judgement Day instead of Lamplighter which meant I had to lead the hand-traverse on pitch 3, just exactly what I wasn't supposed to do. I may have weighted some gear in the process (no witnesses).

Despite this mistreatment my pulley healed in a few weeks, although I took it easy for about 3 months. Also started taking glucosamine+chondratin.
11:37:26 AM
If it is still sore to touch then I would hazard a guess that some major damage has been done. Go and see an expert straight away. Given Julian Saunders a call in the Bluies as well, he may be able to point you to someone local yo you who is good. Expect quite a lengthy amount of time off if it is substantial damage. You may be able to get the finger splinted so you can climb on big holds in a month or two. In the meantime work on your cardio fitness and core strength. Maybe do some dead hangs on a chin up bar to work the forearms a little.
The cool water thereapy is great and will help you heal faster. Glucosamine is more for cartiledge than tendons/ligaments but is good to take anyway. Good luck.

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