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Middle finger knuckle pain. I looked and couldn't find the same description anywhere.
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By dylanfllr
Feb 5, 2013

For the last couple weeks I've had a mild soreness in my middle knuckle of my middle finger. Everything I've seen online points to maybe being a stress fracture, but the pain is pretty mild compared to a stress fracture I had in my foot once, and there is no swelling or coloring. I've been taking it pretty easy, took a week off and now climbing only easy stuff and taping the joint. I can feel it the most in half open crimp position-no thumb, first joint flat. Also, I'm pretty sure I can pinpoint when it started, I was working a tough -for me- problem at the gym, with a stab to a two finger crimp rail as a gaston, then twisting over to get my thumb under it as a pinch and locking off.

It's definitely not bad enough to stop me from climbing, but it's not great and I've got a trip coming up in about a month. Anyone have any suggestions/similar injuries?


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By shreddy
From Frisco, CO
Feb 5, 2013

i have the same pain in my left middle finger. mine happened while pulling on an over head pocket. i did hear a pop with mine tho so i think i may have partially tore a ligament. i just tape the area between the middle and top knuckle and the area between the middle and bottom knuckle and that seems to help ALOT.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Feb 5, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

I have a similar injury/malady in more than one of my fingers. I used to play basketball quite a bit and jammed the shit out of three of my fingers- one of them bad enough to break it. All the ones with recurring soreness after climbing are the ones that suffered previous injuries. The joints feel tight- imagine trying to flex your finger inward, so that you touch the first knuckle at the top of your palm where your finger starts. That's where I feel the most pain.

My guess is that like any other joint injury, either I didn't give them enough time to heal, or they never healed correctly. The good news is that it doesn't really hinder my climbing. The range of motion is about 90% of what it should be and I can usually eek out the remaining ten percent- but with a little pain. I usually don't have to though.

I would also be interested in any information or treatments anyone has. As it stands now, I go at least a day, usually two, between climbing. That seems to keep it at bay- doesn't really get better, but it doesn't get any worse either. Also, soaking in warm/hot water and constant flexion seems to alleviate any soreness, but only temporarily. I have lots of little nuances like that throughout my beat-up body, so it doesn't bother me that much. However, if someone has experienced this, and knows how to fix it or even just help it a little, I'd definitely be interested in trying a solution.


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By Peteoria
Feb 5, 2013

Does it hurt pulling on ice tools? Generally each finger has plenty of support against the tool and may offer a solution to being able to pull hard while still recovering.

Crimping offers zero support for your fingers and all the stress is placed on the tendons. Gripping a tool is kind of the opposite effect as all the pressure is transfered right into the tool.

If it hurts to grab a tool then you're dealing with more than a hurt finger pulley. Either way, silly putty is a great way to rebuild in a safe manner. If you have good insurance, a Doc / PT will hook it for free, otherwise Neptunes's sells it for like $7


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Feb 5, 2013
Stoked...

If you place your palm flat down on a table and push down with your middle finger flat against the table, do you get an awkward sensation/pain over the top of your knuckle on the lower portion?

Well if you do PLEASE let me know what you figure out...

I've been going on years with this and no specialist has been able to diagnose accurately. Also when it swells up slightly if I try to make a tight fist I get excruciatingly sharp pain in the top of said middle finger, like 9/10 screaming pain. When no swelling, no pain. Climb crimp above V7 i get swelling, awkwardness, and said pain. As a result I have become great at managing the problem never know what exactly it is...


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By Ryan Palo
From Bend, oregon
Feb 5, 2013
Me

Hey Captain, I had the same thing in my left ring PIP. Started from doing heinous tip ring locks. Hurt most when I extended the finger all the way. Turned out I had something stuck under the hood of the PIP joint.

The injury happened in late May. Everything I tried (bloodflow therapy, massage, meds (even bullshit eastern ones)) made zero difference. Frustrated, I decided to climb a bit in late fall and get surgery during the winter. Turned out that was enough to get what ever that was out from under it. Back to 100% now. Somehow I climbed it off.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Feb 5, 2013
Stoked...

Ryan, so you didn't have the surgery? Did you get an MRI and were they able to see the issue? Did you ring finger feel mostly fine just swollen until you tried to close it tightly and then u'd get the pain on the top of the knuckle? How do you know something was stuck if you didn't proceed with the surgery?


I had trigger finger at like 17/18 and had a cortisone shot in each finger... The dr then bent (or rather snapped) my fingers back in place. I swear since then they've never been the same and it certainly feels (when I get the ice pick sensation) that it's almost as if something is stuck in the knuckle so I have reason to think u may be on to something. Unfort it happens on both fingers so I have trouble thinking I have debris in each knuckle but you never know. Really what i need is to wait until they blow up and then get an MRI...


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By dylanfllr
Feb 5, 2013

Ryan, that's exactly what I wanted to hear even if It's not the same injury I have. I forgot to say I didn't hear a pop, didn't notice the pain until the next day, does.t hurt from flat hand on table or fist. What hurts the most is actually pulling the funny door handles on my Volvo 240.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Feb 5, 2013
Stoked...

dylanfllr wrote:
Ryan, that's exactly what I wanted to hear even if It's not the same injury I have. I forgot to say I didn't hear a pop, didn't notice the pain until the next day, does.t hurt from flat hand on table or fist. What hurts the most is actually pulling the funny door handles on my Volvo 240.


could just be a funny strain...


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By Ryan Palo
From Bend, oregon
Feb 5, 2013
Me

Sorry I didnt make with the details. I saw several ortho Drs. Only one was able to tell the diff between this and a Collateral-type injury. I could feel a slight clicking feeling when I went through the motions. It originated on top of the finger, at the knuckle. I opted not to get an MRI because I could feel what the injury was. I was fairly certain it was either a stress fracture (which would go away over time if I stayed off) or some scar tissue stuck in the joint. The collateral crosses over the top of the joint at that point. Im prone to those types of injuries.

I pretty much half crimp everything if that gives you an idea. Anyhow, I wouldnt notice that much swelling after climbing, just soreness at the site.

After 3 weeks, climbing 2-3 days inside and outside, the clicking feeling subsided, and the pain began to fade.


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By Charlie S
From Ogden, UT
Feb 6, 2013
Cams above the arm bar moves on Three Pigs in a Slot, Indian Creek.

I've found that with finger injuries, the best course of action is to take 4-6 weeks off (assuming it's not broken). Icing helps.


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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Feb 6, 2013

The location of the pain suggests it is a ligament injury, not a tendon injury.


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By tallmark515
From San Francisco
May 9, 2013
Red Zinger - Red Rocks

I had that same pain in my left middle finger's, middle knuckle for about a year. X-ray revealed nothing, MRI revealed only minor swelling of the joint. And no pulley tear or other damage. One of the posters above mentioned pain caused by pushing bottoms of fingers, palms down on a flat surface, doing that also caused tremendous pain in the knuckle. I tried the initial rest (no climbing) + high dose anti-inflammatory + hot/cold baths for my finger and no luck. At one point I even took four months off. Sadly, The pain continued to reoccur when pulling hard, (especially after hard, consecutive bouldering or hard ropes sessions in the gym. Outdoor climbing rarely caused pain.

Doctor was and still is perplexed but ended up giving me a shot of cortisone directly into the joint. I've been bouldering pretty hard for the last two weeks and I am happy to announce that pain has not returned and hopefully won't.

Maybe I'll update in a few weeks, if I remember.


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By frankstoneline
May 9, 2013

I've been struggling with what I assume is a similar injury in a ring finger. Minor swelling around the joint, no sharp pain so much as a general soreness. I had a similar deal in my pinky some time ago and in a middle finger maybe 3 years ago, in all cases resting didnt seem to help, and I've simply climbed through. My ring finger is feeling good lately. As someone else mentioned, outdoor climbing doesnt seem to aggravate it as much and I've found that I can do hangboard workouts without any aggravation as well, I assume because of the controlled, static nature. I've always chalked it up to being a woosie and just pushed through.

RP thats one hell of a haircut you got going on, you develop a Dee Snider obsession lately?


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By Angel07ga
May 16, 2013

i have a theory that the pain (well my pain) is coming from unconscious straining from both climbing/other exercises and driving. im looking at the fact that the pain I have is in my left middle finger and that's the hand I use to maneuver my steering wheel. I think I am putting too much strain on the finger without even realizing its being strained.


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By Charles Leung
May 16, 2013

I've been having a similar problem on my right PIP for the past 4 years. The first time I injured it I think i was doing a crimpy gaston of some sort, and then I proceeded to climb on it 2 days later. My finger was really swollen and I took 6 months off. Lateral movement to the joint really hurt. I even had to start wiping my ass with my other hand because of the pain.
Since that incident, the pain comes and goes depending on how hard I'm climbing. Sometimes I find that if I climb hard crimpy things for a month or so both inside or out, that I will have to take 3-4 months off for the knuckle to return to normal. It will get swollen, full extension will be come difficult, lateral movement will cause pain, and there will be a click with opening my hand. After resting a couple months I can start over again until it hurts. It's been improving with each episode but still hasn't healed completely.
It's really a pain in the ass, and sometimes this injury keeps me from climbing cool stuff, like finger cracks at the creek.


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By Adam Baxter
From Estes Park, CO
May 16, 2013

Sounds like osteoarthritis to me. Its inevitable with aging as far as I know. How old are all y'all? I have similar pain that comes and goes with bouldering. Middle knuckle, middle finger, point tenderness, hurts to extend fingers and press down on a flat surface.

Also, High dosage Non Steroidal Anti inflammatory Drugs (Ibuprofen, Naproxen sodium, etc) use/treatment for musculoskeletal injuries (sprains, strains, fractures, etc) has been shown to lengthen healing time and reduce healing efficacy according to several studies. These drugs tend to block a particular chemical that is important in the healing process. Light dosage for pain management seems to be less detrimental. Use ice, its less invasive and it works.

Also, Ive got this acupuncture finger massager that is awesome for increasing blood flow and dissipating swelling. Helps to massage out scar tissue as well. You can find it on Amazon. I also use this anti inflammatory cream called Traumeel that seems to work really well. Dunno about the effect it has on healing. Probably not great. Good luck!


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By Charles Leung
May 16, 2013

Thanks Adam. I'll look for the acupuncture massager. With each re injury I've learned more and I think that's helping reduce the recovery time.
I've been doing NSAIDs when I know that there will be swelling, 800mg Ibuprofen. I've also started icing frequently. I even ice now after every climbing gym session. I even started wearing latex gloves in the ice bath so that my fingers don't get water logged. And then when there is pain I've been doing warm water baths and I've found that epsom salt helps.
I'm only 28 but I've been climbing for >10 years and I hope to be climbing for a lot longer. I think the best method is to take it easy and to take long breaks in between hard.


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By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
May 17, 2013
Tom-onator

www.mountainproject.com/v/osteoarthritis/108001081#a_1080203>>>
Here's a post with many suggestions for treatment of osteoarthritis
I like the idea of the acupuncture massager though.
The cream I mentioned in the link above really does work for my condition ( Traumeel did very little) .
Money back satisfaction guaranteed!


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By Adam Baxter
From Estes Park, CO
May 17, 2013

Tom-o I'll have to check that cream out. The traumeel seemed to provide acute (i.e., short term, immediate) relief. Can't speak to the long term treatment usage.

Charles - 800mg is definitely high dosage. It may provide a short fix, but will likely sacrifice long term healing. My fingers started hurt in the same way at 28. I'm 30 now. In the hard bouldering world, we are over the hill brother!


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By Rusty Bridges
Aug 10, 2014

Adam Baxter wrote:
Tom-o I'll have to check that cream out. The traumeel seemed to provide acute (i.e., short term, immediate) relief. Can't speak to the long term treatment usage. Charles - 800mg is definitely high dosage. It may provide a short fix, but will likely sacrifice long term healing. My fingers started hurt in the same way at 28. I'm 30 now. In the hard bouldering world, we are over the hill brother!



Hey, how did this turn out? I'm having a similar issue with the joints in my first two fingers.


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