|By Christopher Barlow |
Feb 9, 2013
I had this exact injury last spring, a week before I was to spend two week in Red Rocks. I was on a shallow undercling with my pinky finger curled (not touching the rock) and felt a horrible shock from my ring finger up my forearm.
I've talked to other folks who have referred to this injury as as a "stretched tendon." The label is relatively inconsequential.
I took about a week off, during which I did a few sessions of aggressive PT. I iced for a few days and then switched to ice/heat therapy and began light strengthening with Play-dough and resisted finger extensions for stability. Then, I went to Red Rocks and started light but gradually increased to more difficult climbing and was able to climb up to about 80% of my limit about two weeks out from the injury (with, as you noted, keeping my pinky and ring fingers together). A month later I was back to hard bouldering and sport climbing with nearly no concern or limitations.
The key seems to be to return to climbing to strengthen rather than aggravate. If climbing creates swelling or increased pain, maybe give it some more rest. Try the putty, bowl of rice, and finger extensions for 5-7 days, then try climbing. For the active recovery (climbing) part, it also seemed better to take 3 or 4 days between climbing sessions and increase the load (i.e. climb a smidgen harder) rather than the volume (i.e. climb more moves or more days in a row).
I hope that helps. Of all the finger injuries I've had (which have been many, unfortunately), this one seemed to require the least babying.