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finger injury

2:24:36 PM
Damo here,

I injured my index finger (left hand) about three weeks ago when I was pulling a two finger pocket. At the point of injury I heard a clicking sound and felt a pretty powerful twinge. The digit was instantly very sore and swollen at the very base.

I went to see the physio and he gave me a finger brace and told me to come back in a week when it stopped hurting and we would begin rehabilitation exercises. He seemed to think it was a pulley tendon injury.

As I said three weeks have passed and the thing is still sore. I iced it pretty diligently for the first few days.

What I am keen to know, if anyone has had a similar experience, how long do these things usually take to heal? Do you think I have pulled, snapped or torn the tendon?

Cheers D
10:37:15 PM
You've possibly done a pully tendon, though thats a bit weird in an index finger.
You need to see someone who understands climbing injuries. I don't know where you are based, but if you are in Melbourne, see Julian Saunders or Stuart Imer.
The bad news is that, if it's a tendon, you're looking at months rather than weeks to recover.
You really need to get a proper assessment of your injury so that you can work out how to manage it.
11:31:21 PM
Sadly Julian S. has disappeared OS for an indefinite period (last I heard .. Julian if you've resurfaced please say so!). His stand-in at Hunts Gym has a cycling rather than climbing background, tho' not to say he's not worth seeing. "Total Body Health" in Johnstone St Fitzroy is the location.

9:27:05 AM
I can categorically say that Dominic who has been filling in for Julian is also excellent and knows his stuff. Don't hesitate in going to see either of them.


9:46:29 AM
Thanks fellas, I'll go get it checked out properly. Feel like a bit of an idiot with this brace on my middle finger - giving the birdie has more of a comic effect rather than the intended
9:52:03 AM
Yep, what Rupert said!

I am seeing Dominic now for something very similar. My index finger middle knuckle is also very sensitive, has been for about a year. We think we have it pinned to being the result of a very tight forearm which is transfered through my hand to finger ligament/pulley. Although, with me, this probably relates back to a dislocation of my wrist a couple of years ago affecting my hand tendons. I say 'We think' because to be 100% sure I'd have to fork out $250 for an MRI! I am doing stretches everyday to fix this, I expect it to take a while.

Good luck, Petter.

12:06:03 PM
Damo, I echo what the others say. Important thing is not to rush the recovery. I tried to climb through a similar tendon injury on my left ring finger in late 90's, by taping, even though the injured finger was very sore. I subsequently damaged my finger so badly that a tendon reconstruction ensued. The orthopaedic surgeon removed some sinew from my left forearm and used that to reconstruct two pully tendons. I remember the operation vividly (local anaesth), and distinctly recall the surgeon telling me that eventually the finger would be super strong! - and it now is, but whole prcoedure was a pain, so take it easy.

11:26:31 PM
Whatever your tendon problem, it is going to take time.
I did a major tear of a tendon in the middle finger of my left hand several years ago (sit-down start to Finalgon). It was damaged and very lumpy but I hadn't done a complete bowstring tear.
I didn't climb for six months. For the next six months I climbed easy (to about 16), then increased my grades over the next six months to about 20.
For that whole 18 months, whenever both hands were free, I would massage the scar tissue on the damaged tendon.
Your injury will be different to mine but tendons have poor blood supply and are slow to heal. Take your time and get some good advice.

8:57:20 AM
Thanks for that fellas, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to stay off the rock while my finger heals . Plenty of quiet time to surf web forums
9:15:32 PM
My friend Nathan did a similar finger injury and the snapping sound was so loud it was caught on the videos audio track from many metres away! ouch!!

10:46:05 PM
just climb using your good fingers.
As wolf gang sais, use one finger, let the others rest.

5:49:44 PM
Played on the boulders at the You Yangs on the weekend, finger still weak and sore but improving

Volfy was strong,
He was da man.
But It all ended,
On the autobahn.

RIP WG Lest we forget
11:19:57 PM
On 14/05/2004 Damietta wrote:
>Thanks for that fellas, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to stay off
>the rock while my finger heals . Plenty of quiet time to surf web forums

I know how hard it is to do this. I have done it. Whining doesn't help.
This sounds harsh but a stuffed tendon doesn't care how we feel.
7:40:37 PM
hi there Damietta, julian here. thank you to all who gave me glowing referrals. always nice to here. hey how is the finger going? i am in NZ at the minute on a working holiday but i am currently travelling back every 6-8 weeks just to touch base with the clinic. i have not raised my head because i have been too busy bouldering at castle hill. did you go and see Dominic? he is excellent with this stuff. he is also a casual climber. the audible sound you heard was almost undoubtedly your pully snapping, at the very least partially. that is why it is still painful a few weeks after you did the injury. did the physio note any bowstringing of the tendon? how swollen is it? how did it go climbing recently? are you taping? see my article on this site for how to do that.

i will stop here. i could go into the surgery thing but A) that is jumping the gun somewhatand, B) i would not recommend it. have you had any imaging done on your finger? ie MRI or CT scan? what has the physio been doing if you have been back?


9:56:41 PM
Cheers for the reply Julian

I saw a physio in Canberra. He seemed to think I had 'pulled the pulley', so to speak. No diagnostic imaging has been done. I haven't been back to see him because I am in Melb, but I might well go in to see Dominic if things don't improve

The finger is swollen and is still quite sore, and was sore when I was mucking around on the boulders at the Youies (untaped). It is better than it was in the week immediately after I injured it, but is still far from strong. Unless it is a really bad idea, I'm thinking of having a climb at the gym later in the week - taping at the base of the finger and only mucking around on easy stuff (have taped before when fingers were sore but not specifically injured like this time).

Once again, thanks

10:46:01 PM
ok. what happens if you oppose your thumb and the injured finger? pain? can you see if the depth (looking at you finger side on) changes when you oppose? compare it to the same finger on your other hand. it is rare that i say to people dont climb. usually there is a way around it. i would, however, hold off until we get you a diagnosis/prognosis. a 'pulled pully', although technically correct, does not help us enough at the minute. it has now been how long since you did it?


7:58:02 AM
When I did my pully I just kept climbing on it. Had a friend who was a physio who had a look and said tape and climb so I did. Lots of pain for around 6 months getting better over time. Awsome excuse for days at the crag though when I was climbing badly. Its back to normal now, so have to resort back to my usual excuse, "Just to fat and old"..oh well.

Julian will probably say this is a bad idea but when I first started climbing on it I tapped it, as well to finger next to it. It seemd to help by not allowing me to load the affected finger by itself, which always hurt lots. It did give slight reduction in function of both fingers though but if ya doing easy stuff shouldnt be a problem

6:12:56 PM
"Have a hangover" is your other excuse Rod.
"Old" isn't an excuse for anything.
8:18:39 PM
hey rod, yeh i would disagree with that for a couple of reasons. you actually have them in your own entry. A) your finger still hurt anyway, B) it hurt for a long time, and C) the tape results in loss of function. this last one is good in that it prevents you from doing aggravating activity (if applied correctly), but bad if it creates potentially problematic biomechanics, which will cause subsequent injury somewhere else. budding taping is one that, in my view, does just that: predisposes to further injury. there are techniques which are less problematic.

always use pain as an idicator of the damage you are doing: more pain, more damage. tape can certainly be used in the process of rehab, just not to give strength as it were to an injured pully, much less a ruptured one. you have to let it heal first.

that said, i am glad yours is all good now and you are back at it.


11:40:09 PM
i know its been said before julian, but whats your opinion on the actual benefits of taping say fingers and elbows. I don't mean the fact that it reminds you to take it easy, therefore putting less strain on them but is there actually any physical benefit of normal taping such as less strain on the tendons. Just there is a fair bit of differing opinions on it..

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There are 39 messages in this topic.


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