I tore a tendon pulley about 1 month ago indoor bouldering. Since then I have managed to keep climbing and training, with only one set back. I thought it might be useful to share what I have been up to on this blog in the hope that others might get an idea for what is possible.
My injury was quite a substantial ‘partial tear’ of a my A2 pulley in my right ring finger. Luckily I didn’t rupture the whole thing. It is classed as a Grade II injury (see Climbinginjuries.com).
Hard crimping was straight out of the window, but I continued climbing straight away – the day after the injury. I climbed 2 easy trad routes on Gogarth, and I seconded the hardest section, meaning that if I felt any discomfort, I could sit on the rope.
So, sea cliff trad climbing was a go-er. I managed to combine this with a general weights programme that also involved pull ups on the jugs of a finger board.
I added in this cheesey Youtube stretch routine, plus some more specific climbing stretches and careful stretching of my injured finger. This stretching of my injured finger has been very important I think.
I continued my easy climbing for another week, then unfortunately pushed it too far and climbed some E5 and E6 routes, which I think set me back by at least a week or so, leading to inflamtion of my finger and more pain.
The crucial thing here was that I climbed these route on lead and they were potentially quite dangerous, so when climbing I totally forgot about my finger and thought more about the run out!
Physically, they were probably ok to top rope with my injury.
Lesson: No scary leading with a finger injury.
I have also increased my running, doing 3 x 40min runs per week. I haven’t been doing any more than that, or any longer runs, as I think these are perfect for cross training for climbing.
A month down the line and I am still only climbing easy (or non crimpy) trad routes. I am no where near ready to start busting moves on my finger, but I have increased my flexibility by a noticeable amount, and my cardio fitness has also improved.
When I am back in shape to start cranking again, I’ll be at a good base level to build more specific strengths.
Next up is some indoor training on the finger board, concentrating on open handed grips. I haven’t dared do this until now, even though I have been told it is fine with a finger injury. I shall experiement and report back.
Until then – here is a photo of Pete Whittaker seconding me on the Lleyn Peninsula the other day.
Email: Jack.geldard ( at) gmail.com