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By Abram Herman
From Golden, CO
Jul 31, 2013
Viking helmet cover, yep.

...the worst sound to hear when you're pulling. And it happened to me last night. :-/

I wasn't even pulling hard, and it was a move I'd done a few times already in the session, but it happened anyway. My guess is it's a pulley injury, but I don't really have any experience so I'm not sure.

The *pop* came from the smallest knuckle on my middle finger, and it doesn't particularly hurt unless I pull really hard on it. I wasn't crimping at the time, it was on an open hand. It moves fine, no pain, but if I put some pressure on it in an extended position (like I'm on a sloper) it's very weak and hurts if I pull too hard.

So, my questions:

-Do you think it's a pulley? Is there something else it could be?

-If it's not a pulley, does it change how I should take care of it?

-Is it even worth going to a doctor, or will they just tell me to rest and not climb on it for 45 days?

-Do you have any tips for recovery, ways to still get out climbing (I'll be aiding, is my only plan so far), ways to avoid the lack-of-climbing-induced-depression that's already overtaken me?


Any constructive input is much appreciated, I'm feeling pretty down about this.


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By KDog
Jul 31, 2013

Bummer! As always you should go to a doctor for confirmation, but it definitely sounds like the good 'ol pulley pop.

Rest it, ice, ibuprofin, etc and repeat......it'll need a while to heal but it's worth healing it completely.

Oh, and I know climbers get stuck in 'climbing is my life' depressive states (as you've mentioned) but there's a TON out there you can do that's just as rad as climbing! During my various injuries I've discovered mtn biking, trail running, hiking and swimming and actually think I like those more than climbing at this point.

Good luck & chin up!


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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Jul 31, 2013
old 1/4" bolt.

Abram......that's what physicians are for. Seek out a sports medicine doctor. Try checking out one of Eric Horst's traing guides (for climbiers) or consulting his articles at the Nicros.com website as Horst has LOTS helpful training and injury rehab information. Don't be the typical guy that tries to work through it or comes back too soon and gets into the chronic injury/recovery/reinjury cycle. If it is a pulley injury...rest, ice, Vitamin I, and rest it some more...before starting back into climbing on easy stuff, slowly.


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By Gaylord.Primrose
From boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2013

This post violated Rule #1. It has been removed by Mountain Project.


By Woodchuck ATC
Jul 31, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

AAAAAGGHH!!!!,,,,I experienced that sound,,it was in a big hollow barn and sounded like a gun went off when my middle finger blew up. Took almost 10 months to get most of strength back,,,and will never climb pinchy crimps again without totally taping up my fingers now. Best of luck!!!


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By Gaylord.Primrose
From boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2013

This post violated Rule #1. It has been removed by Mountain Project.


By nicelegs
From Denver
Jul 31, 2013

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
Took almost 10 months


That is about right. That 6 week idea was way off.

FWIW, I wish to god that I'd put my finger in a brace or splint for the first 6 weeks. I didn't and rode a mountain bike a ton (lots of squeezing the brakes). 4 years later I have a finger that is about 30 degrees bent due to scar tissue, and the knuckles are bigger (not swollen) and stiffer. I can't even straighten the finger if I force it with the other hand. If I flex it all the way, it's extremely painful.

This is all from the loss of ROM from my injury. I'll likely end up with surgery and I wouldn't rule amputation if it keeps degenerating.

So yeah, get over to a doc. I wasn't insured when I hurt mine and I wish I had gone anyway.


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By Abram Herman
From Golden, CO
Aug 1, 2013
Viking helmet cover, yep.

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Based on your descriptions I think mine not might be injured to the extent that some of yours have have been, and it could even be something besides the pulley (someone else suggested a blown joint capsule?). I'm definitely going to get in to a doctor since I'm fortunate enough to have health insurance, and not be an idiot.

nicelegs, the 45 days/6 weeks thought came from this article: www.nicros.com/training/articles/finger-tendon-pulley-injury>>>

"In the case of a modest A2 pulley injury, this may mean a total of about forty-five days of climbing downtime."

Based on their diagram I think my injury is in the A4/C3 area, assuming it is in fact a pulley. Fortunately it doesn't seem to affect me as much as when I've had minor strains on the lower connective tissue, around the A1 area.

Again, thanks for the input. I'm feeling more optimistic, and already thinking about other hard/fun stuff I can do that doesn't require me to pull. A6+, here I come! ;-)


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