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Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding (Read 649 times)

Voxel

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Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 07:14:19 am
I have injured my A2 pulleys in my ring-fingers several times since I've started climbing. Most recently, in my right hand. My left has been "uninjured" for over a year. I'm back to being able to climb (finally). I've been reading the book Climb Injury-Free by Dr. Jared Vagy which has a section on pulley injuries wherein the final step of rehabilitation is hangboarding.

As I started hangboarding, I realised I don't get much out of my ringfingers on either hand. I feel almost as capable using my index- and middle finger alone as I do using all three. I never really had a strong grip even before injury, best I ever climbed was 7A on lead, so I wasn't surprised I couldn't do the initial hangs (4x30s) without taking some weight off.

My pinkies are short, so I do these hangs on three fingers, rather than a four-finger open hand as that puts my longer fingers closer to a half-crimp than anything else.

I've been doing these hangs before climbing, however, I'm getting signals from my body that maybe this is too much to recover from. I feel as if I'm progressing, but I'm also feeling fatigue build up. In total, the hangboarding protocol stems 12 weeks.

Should I just become an hermit for 12 weeks and just hangboard? Most of the time, me and my friends are able to meet up and climb 2-3 times a week (at least) so it's not "easy" to just hangboard whenever climbing doesn't pan out as it pans out fairly routinely.

I want to be able to return to sport _fully_ so I can climb without feeling anxious about re-injury. But it'd also suck to be a recluse - should have done all of this during Covid but my finger wasn't ready.

I'm hoping maybe someone replies and can bounce back some ideas, or maybe share something from their experience. One thing I'm pondering is climb 2x/wk and hangboard 1x/wk which would make the hangboarding protocol take oh so very many weeks but rather that than get hurt by trying to heal.

Vox

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#1 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 07:35:55 am
How many is "several" over how many years of climbing?

dunnyg

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#2 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 08:19:30 am
Im recovering from a similar injury. The protocol I was provided to sort it was 10 second hangs with 45 seconds off. 4 or 5 sets of 5 hangs.

The first 3 or 4 sets are open handed hangs, and are essentially just warming up.
The meat of it is the final set, where I go use half crimp.

Starting off hanging with feet on floor to redice intensity and slowly increase.

Do not push the half crimp, any pain means you have gone too far.

I was told big easy outdoor climbiny is also a fine supplement, but not to climb the same day as fingerboarding.

Maybe I have misaunderstood and you are looking at injury prevention rather than fixiny a current injury?



Voxel

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#3 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 08:55:38 am
How many is "several" over how many years of climbing?

4 over about 2 years. Twice per ring finger.

Voxel

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#4 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 09:02:42 am
Im recovering from a similar injury. The protocol I was provided to sort it was 10 second hangs with 45 seconds off. 4 or 5 sets of 5 hangs.

The first 3 or 4 sets are open handed hangs, and are essentially just warming up.
The meat of it is the final set, where I go use half crimp.

Starting off hanging with feet on floor to redice intensity and slowly increase.

Do not push the half crimp, any pain means you have gone too far.

I was told big easy outdoor climbiny is also a fine supplement, but not to climb the same day as fingerboarding.

Maybe I have misaunderstood and you are looking at injury prevention rather than fixiny a current injury?

No, you have not misunderstood. I'm past the point of recurring pain in daily life and can climb pain-free but remain very apprehensive of climbing hard. I'm asking about how to combine a structured rehabilitation plan with climbing.

To give a sense of at what level the finger is at I'd say that I'd still be apprehensive about giving someone a back rub. A forceful three finger drag across a surface is something I wouldn't want to do. I have, and have felt it set me back earlier this year.

The injuries have not all been as extreme. I've had four injuries. The first was somewhat bad, couldn't dig out a pair of keys from my pocket without a lot of pain but it subsided after rest and return to climbing. Did a lot of gripping on a metolius grip saver too.

Number two and three aren't too memorable. Minor level sprains.

This last one was really bad, I couldn't even wear a glove without significant pain and I'd have radiating pain out into my forearm and elbow. Got it checked, but not imaged. Was able to return to sport after a while with a pulley ring and have recently begun to be able to climb "raw" (without the ring). For a while there, I couldn't even scratch the top of my head, or type on a keyboard, without feeling an aggravating level of pain.

dunnyg

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#5 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 11:32:54 am
I was told to have a rest day between sessions, where a session is climbing or fingerboarding.

Also that at least 1 session per week should be fingerboarding.

My rehab has been disrupted due to life, but progress is much better than when I just went climbing and hoped it would fix.

I havent climbed anything remotely hard for this period, but have done loads of classic easy routes which has provided some of my climbing fix. I will be weak as but with hench(er) pulleys once rehab is over.

Sorry if this is more teaching to suck eggs, but the physio hyped up  walldoing a fb warm up before an outdoor session, which I've previously not done.

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#6 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 01:38:54 pm
For what it's worth, I personally think intense hangboarding shouldn't be too much of your climbing "diet" if you have had that many pulley injuries in 2 years.

Also if you are just running them on 3 fingers, your ring finger is is taking a lot of the load from that "side" of you hand and is going to suffer. Do you do any fingerboard training involving pinkies?

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#7 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 08:11:13 pm
I've had 4 finger injuries in past 2.5 years and am finally moving past them. Two partial tears, one lumbrical strain and one full pulley rupture. The thing that has helped me the most is density hangs, 40 second hangs at 20 - 40% of max weight. As directed by my PT, you can do these pretty much every day. I generally do two indoor sessions a week (with max hang fingerboarding), one outdoor session a week and one or two density hang sessions (separate days).

I completely disagree that hard fingerboarding is off limits for people who've been injured recently. Like everything, load just needs to be progressively increased - sub-maximal fingerboarding for me has been the mainstay of recovery form a finger injury (where sub-maximal starts off as lessthan-bodyweight)

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#8 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 09:31:17 pm
One thing I have come across is that if you are hangong open handed you arent really putting much stress on the pulleys. Its only when you go into a more active grip, such as half crimp, that you actually put much through them. Therefore doing some of this as part of rehab is key to long term pulley strengthening. This should be starting from very light loads and building up to avoid re aggrivating the injury, and if it feels at all bad, you have gone too hard.

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#9 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 23, 2021, 10:11:59 pm

I completely disagree that hard fingerboarding is off limits for people who've been injured recently. Like everything, load just needs to be progressively increased - sub-maximal fingerboarding for me has been the mainstay of recovery form a finger injury (where sub-maximal starts off as lessthan-bodyweight)

Disagree with who?

Voxel

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#10 Re: Balancing Pulley Rehab / Hangboarding
September 24, 2021, 07:41:42 am
I was told to have a rest day between sessions, where a session is climbing or fingerboarding.

Also that at least 1 session per week should be fingerboarding.

That's what I've been thinking, reducing hangboarding frequency but still ensuring it is part of my rotation to be able to know that I'm progressively loading the tissue.

Evidently, having a rest day inbetween might be necessary for me. Hard to tell. The book (Climb Injury-Free) that I got the protocol from does not specify what to do with regards to climbing during the rehabilitation process. I know Dave McLeod outlines a training session complete with warm-up, hangboarding, bouldering, and aerobic/anaerobic work in his book "9 Out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes" which is why I at least felt okay "starting" with doing them both on the same day. As a consequence of doing both hangboarding and climbing I've climbed for a shorter duration than a normal climbing session would be for me, but that amelioration appears inadequate.

Sorry if this is more teaching to suck eggs

Haha, that's a new phrase to me.

For what it's worth, I personally think intense hangboarding shouldn't be too much of your climbing "diet" if you have had that many pulley injuries in 2 years.

Also if you are just running them on 3 fingers, your ring finger is is taking a lot of the load from that "side" of you hand and is going to suffer. Do you do any fingerboard training involving pinkies?

Do you consider a 30s hang intense? Consider also that I'm using a counterweight.

No, no fingerboard training involving pinkies, they'd join the fray after I progress enough to do a half-crimp. Good observation on the torque though, hadn't thought of that.

One thing I have come across is that if you are hangong open handed you arent really putting much stress on the pulleys. Its only when you go into a more active grip, such as half crimp, that you actually put much through them. Therefore doing some of this as part of rehab is key to long term pulley strengthening. This should be starting from very light loads and building up to avoid re aggrivating the injury, and if it feels at all bad, you have gone too hard.


Yeah, I don't know what the purpose of the 4 weeks of long duration open-handed hangs are. Maybe the stress on the pulleys is negligible during these weeks but I'd rather start walking up this particular staircase from the bottom. Having injured fingers makes me very sad to the point of it spilling over in the rest of my life.

I've had 4 finger injuries in past 2.5 years and am finally moving past them. Two partial tears, one lumbrical strain and one full pulley rupture. The thing that has helped me the most is density hangs, 40 second hangs at 20 - 40% of max weight. As directed by my PT, you can do these pretty much every day. I generally do two indoor sessions a week (with max hang fingerboarding), one outdoor session a week and one or two density hang sessions (separate days).

I completely disagree that hard fingerboarding is off limits for people who've been injured recently. Like everything, load just needs to be progressively increased - sub-maximal fingerboarding for me has been the mainstay of recovery form a finger injury (where sub-maximal starts off as lessthan-bodyweight)

One consideration is that it is conceivable I pulled too hard when I started out, and wasn't really hanging passively on my fingers. And therefore was closer to my max weight than I should have been. At the moment, I have to adjust my activities so that the crankiness that I have in my joints now dissipates, and then I could try again.

 

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