About me:

Originally from Hull, I now live in Llanberis, North Wales. Totally addicted to climbing, I work at the Indy Climbing wall and as a freelance routesetter to fund my dirty habit.

10 January 2012

The Bad Finger

In the last post I mentioned a little finger niggle. As usual it's in the base of my left-hand, ring finger (A5?). Whilst my belief in Santa wears thin (seriously, in one night?), if he substantiated his argument for exsistence by claiming to have been tweaking my fingers every christmas time (perhaps because he'd ran out of coal or something), I might begin to believe again.

It always seems to be between Chrimbo and New Year does the tweak,  the scourge of my climbing.
But, I think I'm getting it now. Usually I detatch myself from the blame, assigning my misfortune to that mystic energy field known as luck, or lack thereof. This year though, this year I decided I want to do something about it. So, instead of shunning responsibility and releasing myself to the wholesome temptations of saturated fats throughout Winter, I decided to watch my weight. In september I weighed around 11 stone, 3 months of healthy eating and calorific awareness and the Christmas Eve weigh in... 9st 11lbs. Crucially though, I have no finger injury.

Then Boxing Day comes along, with all that Chrimbo dinner increasing my gravitational attraction, I get the annual tweak. It was blowing an absolute hoolie that day so I didn't really feel anything until I got home and warm.

I'm not really suggesting a few days of heavy eating twanged the tendon, but the cumulative effect of festive inevitabilities probably did. A slight increase in weight + dehydration from boozing + cold temps + rushed warm-ups = injury. Apparently, if the body is dehydrated, one of the first parts of the body to lose its moisture is the tendons, particularly at extremities. If a tendon is dry and cold, it is unlikely to have much by way of supplty. Under the increased stress of a bit of extra weight what else could I expect?

Now though, where usually I would be overcome with frustration and hit the campus board with furious denial, I have remained positive about my situation and decided to take the necessary steps towards recovery and prevention of further injury.

The day after the injury I began an icing regime, alternating between hot and cold for about 5-10 minutes each. I've not stopped climbing on it, I had a few day rest then spent my time in the peak climbing open-handed and avoided any high impact moves on my left hand. I've been drinking more and warming-up more, but the one new thing I've added to the rehab-mix is the use of a metolius gripsaver ball (It's one of those foam balls with rubber finger and thumb loops coming out both ends).

Supposedly, the outward pull on the elasticated loops works the muscles in opposition to how you usually would when climbing. The idea here is that it balances the muscles out, so the discrepancy between protagonist (muscle working in the direction of force) and antagonist (working against the direction of force) is less significant, and therefore the fingers become more stabilised and less prone to injury. In just three days of use I've noticed big gains in outward strength, and usually when this happens it means you were really shit at it to begin with, which would support the idea of my fingers being very unbalanced. I'm gonna stick with it, and if I don't get an injury next year squeezing balls gets my vote!

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