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pain in ring finger DIP joint when crimping
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By bboyd
May 1, 2013
Hello all, i've attempted to search for comparable injuries - but not all symptoms seem to match to anything. Any help or advice would be appreciated, as my local hand specialist has no experience with climbing injuries.

I have had slow-onset pain in my ring finger, that is mostly noticeable when crimping. Pushing on the A2 pulley makes it feel slightly tender, but i've had an A2 pulley tear before and i'm not having the same stiffness or lack of ROM (though this could just be because it is such a slight/partial tear, perhaps?) The pain is mainly noticeable on top of the DIP joint when crimping (i don't feel pain around the A2 when crimping.) It is possible to perform a crimp and hyperextend the joint, but the pain (top of DIP) makes me hesitant use it for sure.

I cannot recall any one instance that i heard any sounds or felt any acute pain - there was only slight soreness after a gym session. I climbed outdoors afterwards on mostly open handed holds, but after another gym session with more crimpers, the pain became much more noticeable. The thing that has my curiosity is the pain on top of the DIP joint, as i don't recall having any of this with my prior A2 pulley injury (index finger.) Any experiences or references would be much appreciated if this sounds familiar.

Thanks any and all for your help.

Blair

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By Seth Eidemiller
May 1, 2013
The flexors muscles are what allow gripping and they run on the palmar side of the forearm with the tendons inserting into the fingers. Its their tendons that are kept in place by the annular (A2 etc) and cruciform pulleys. Finger extension comes from the muscles on the back of the forearm and from the lumbrical and interossei hand muscles. These join together and extend through to the DIP on the top and sides of the fingers.

Check out boutonniere finger (PIP) and mallet finger (DIP) to get a better idea of what finger extensor tears usually do. Swan neck deformity would be another one as lots of people put their fingers in that position when they crimp.

I'm not sure that mallet finger could be caused by crimping though. Its a fairly common ball sport injury.

If you don't want to see the local hand guy about it then an orthopod would be your best bet. The hand guy probably will have some idea as to want is going on though.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
May 1, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
Could also be early onset of arthritis. Your symptoms sound similar to what mine were.

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By Jonathan Williams
From Minneapolis
May 1, 2013
Me.
free advice is worth what you pay for it.

based on your story alone, possibilities include: chronic repetition trauma leading to stress fracture of the dorsal plate vs stress reaction vs capsular inflammation vs ligamentous strain. systemic conditions unrelated to climbing are unlikely though not impossible.

options include: get an xray. or an MRI if you have the $$. or neither, rest it for 6 weeks without climbing on it, and see if it feels better, which is likely your best option irrespective of what is causing your pain. don't need an xray or mri to do that. surgery is unlikely to be of use.

best, jw

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