After visiting an orthopedist a month or so ago, he determined that I had no tears or other obvious problems that would explain my finger pain. For reference, I was experiencing pain on the sides of the first joint (first down from fingertips) of my middle 3 fingers on each hand. Wasn’t always every one at once, sometimes just one finger or so, and never a constant thing. Only came about when bouldering and doing small crimps and slopers. The doc gave me Pernionin to try out, which is an arthritis medicine that you poor into a bowl of water and soak your hands in to increase blood flow. The active ingredient is benzyl nicotinate which makes me things it’s like cigarettes for my hand.
I haven’t heard about it in any climbing forums or websites but so far it’s worked well. Of course, I’ve tried to rest a bit and not do much hard climbing, but even after several hours of intensive bouldering, no pain at all. Here’s hoping it works. After a few more times I’ll have a better idea.
I’m typically not someone to avoid going to the doctor, but for the first time in my life, I’ve been kind of avoiding it. The reason is well-known to all climbers: because I don’t want to hear that I should lay off climbing.
The dreaded tendon/pulley injury?
For the past 4 or 5 months at least, I’ve had occasional pain in the C4 and A3 pulleys. It’s usually my middle 3 fingers (though rarely at the same time), most commonly the ring finger on either hand. I can usually climb ok but bouldering almost always triggers it. The pain only comes while using my fingers on crimps and slopers but immediately stops afterwards. Luckily there has been no swelling and no lingering pain.
I took a 6 week or so break in Nov/Dec/Jan, barely climbing at all hoping it’d go away. I even started taping up my fingers every time. In addition to making me feel like a true crusher, it seems to have helped in general.
But Wednesday I was at the gym on my usual night and had already tweaked my right ringer finger halfway through my second climb. Thereafter I had to avoid using it the rest of the night. Enough is enough. This has finally led me to make an appointment with the orthopedist.
Here’s crossing my fingers I don’t have to take a break from climbing right as the weather gets good! That or I’m stuck top roping 5.6s but I could live with that at least.