I've been a viewer of the boards for a while now and finished my first RCTM cycle in December. I was excited to kick off the new year and began my next cycle. On January 11 I tweaked my left ring finger. I was flying to Red Rocks the next day with the plan of climbing some moderate multipitch. I went ahead with the plan and climbed MysterZ (5.7) into Armatron (5.9) thinking I'd mostly be on jugs and be able to take it easy. I did not do any climbing/training during the next three weeks. My finger was feeling stronger, but I did not want to push it.
Yesterday I went to go climb for the first time since Red Rocks. My finger was feeling stronger but I planned to just climb cracks in order to limit the amount of strain. One of the climbs involved a crimp with my left hand that I had to pull up on before getting into the crack. I began to crank and (maybe??) heard a pop, but fell off and felt pain immediately in my finger. Obviously my climbing day was over. I iced my finger while watching the Super Bowl.
I woke up this morning to a very stiff finger and significant swelling - had trouble getting my wedding ring off. There does not appear to be any bowstringing - just swelling.
I am incredibly bummed as I do not think I will be able to do any climbing/training over the next few months. Would really like to hear some advice on how to speed up the healing process, what I can do in the meantime that would be beneficial to my climbing, and success stories on coming back from an injury like this.
Firstly, given your symptoms it would pay to go and see a professional and just get a clear diagnosis on the degree of the tear. Most professionals don't know much about the injury, so diagnosis is key to understanding your recovery strategy. If you can, pick up a copy of make or break by Dave MacLeod. IMO it's the bible on climbing injuries.
Pulley injuries are a part of climbing, and dealing with them, whilst not enjoyable, is a part of your journey as a climber. Notably as per one of the other posts on the forum, many of the people competing in the recent US bouldering finals had pulley injuries, or injuries of some sort. I believe the Puccio had 4 pulley injuries, and she seems to just be injured all the time. Not saying that you should be reckless, but that injury is part of the process of pushing your physical and genetic boundaries.
At this point I think you need to face the fact that you have an injury that will likely take 3-4 months before you can climb close to your max, and 6-12 months before you can't feel anything anymore. That's my experience, but may be different depending on your genetics and age (I'm 33).
Once the inflammation goes down in 2-3 weeks, you can probably start to get back to using your hands. In the mean time, work core and flexibility like there is no tomorrow. Fixing flexibility issues like hip turnout and shoulder mobility can help you in future to get more weight on your lower body, and thus less weight on your hands, possibly preventing a pulley injury.
I'm a big proponent of hangboard rehab for finger pulley injuries. Starting on very, very low weights once the inflammation goes down, as it gives you the ability to control the amount of stress on your fingers. Climbing like you described, can be very hard to maintain discipline and it can be hard not to go for a crimp when facing down a lead fall.
It's worth noting that I have not had a pulley injury in about 18 months, or since the injuries I noted in that thread in 2016. I think this has mostly to do with me entering my 4th year of climbing, and my connective tissue etc. in my fingers has finally caught up with my strength for the most part. That being said, I've had 2 other injuries in the interim, a knee injury and a back injury. When we're pushing our physical limits, we end up finding the weakest links.
Last Edit: Feb 5, 2018 19:13:28 GMT -7 by jetjackson