|by Constance Karwandyar, PT|
|An illustration of the flexor tendons in the fingers. |
By Steve Graepel, www.rockandice.com.
Imparting specific and proper warm-up techniques to climbers is key to making sure they prime their entire bodies before they ascend any indoor wall or mountain face. Using larger hand holds on the first ascend allows proper blood flow to enter the upper extremities, especially in the hand and fingers. Climbers can also use a “downclimb” to work these muscles eccentrically, lowering themselves in a slow and controlled manner instead of repelling down the wall on the first climb. Properly warming up “pulling muscles” such as lats, biceps, and rhomboids will also ensure proper blood flow and tissue temperature before climbers begin.
Another key component to prevention and treatment is training the antagonist muscle groups (or the opposing/opposite muscles). As previously mentioned, climbers tend to overuse and overdevelop the forearm/finger flexors so working on strengthening the forearm/finger extensors to improve balance is important. Below you will find a few examples of how to strengthen finger extensors at home.
|(L) Half Crimp Extensor Isometric, (R) Open-Handed Extensor Isometric|
|Resisted Finger Extension|
As with any injury, thorough assessment of strength, range of motion, and body mechanics is key to a proper diagnosis and treatment approach. No two rock faces are the same, just like no two finger injuries are the same. If you have experienced a rock climbing injury or are interested in learning proper warm up and injury prevention techniques before your next climb, come see one of our experienced clinicians. Complimentary injury assessments are also available in-person or via telehealth.
Ries, Eric. “It’s Lovely at the Top.” PT In Motion Magazine, June 2020
Ries. Eric. “The Free Solo Phenomenon.” PT In Motion, June 2020
“Taking and Analyzing Risks with the Climbing Doctor.” The Prehab Guys Audio Experience
podcast. Episode #47. 2 May 2020.
The Rockulus: Learn the Ropes. www.therockulus.com
Vagy, Jared. Climb Injury-Free: A Proven Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation System.