How to tape pulley injuries: fast help for a painful injury

Ringband Tapen

Skin injuries during climbing and bouldering are annoying, but they heal with proper care within a few days. It becomes much more uncomfortable when you “do a pulley” (injury an annular ligament). An inflammation or a tear can cause problems for weeks or even months. Tape can provide some relief, support healing and in some cases, allow you to keep climbing.

How pulley injuries happen

Pulley injuries are a widespread problem among climbers. You probably know someone who has struggled with one, or you have been affected by one yourself. The reason it is so common is the function of the pulleys and the stress we put on them during climbing.

Each of your fingers has five pulleys. Their job is to press the flexor tendons to the bones when you close your hand – like the rings of a fishing rod that hold the fishing line to the rod when you get a bite. When climbing and crimping, your pulleys work hard – your tendons pull harder than normal against the pulleys. A short peak load to your finger, such as slipping with your foot, may be all it takes to trigger an injury. When this happens, the best case scenario is an inflammation and the worst case a tear, which you will most likely hear (a cracking noise).

Pulleys

Injuries to the A2 and the A3 pulleys are the most common. You will quickly notice the pain on the inside of your finger, which is more severe when you press on the pulley or try to bend your finger against resistance. If you want to keep climbing, you can use the so-called H-tape to relieve pain and support your pulleys.

The H-tape method

All you need for a H-tape is a strip of tape about ten to twelve centimeters long and one and a half centimeters wide. Tear it down the middle from each end, but don’t completely tear it in half; leave a one centimeter “bridge” in the middle, making a “H” form, as the name suggests.

Place the center piece on the inside of the middle joint of the affected finger (2) and wrap each of the ends around the finger in a ring (3). One of the ends will go above the knuckle and the other end will go below the knuckle (4). To stop the tape loosening up again during climbing, you will need to apply the tape quite tight, which will also support your pulleys during climbing.

H-tape taping

Taping pulley injuries is not a miracle cure

The tape will take over some of the stress on the injuried pulley by holding the flexor tendons in position, but it will not completely relieve pain or act as a replacement for a pulley. Climber and Doctor, Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Schweizer, reported that annular tapes can reduce the force acting on pulleys by 12 percent. This is sufficient to reduce pain during climbing and avoid re-overloading, but you still need to be careful. If you are unlucky enough to sustain a pulley injury, you should avoid any movements and holds that cause pain. This is especially true for crimps that really strain your pulleys.

If your injury was accompanied by an audible crack, you should assess the severity of the injury or have it looked at before considering taping it with this method. It may require an MRI and a visit to a doctor is inevitable. If a tear is confirmed, you are looking at the dreaded forced break from climbing. It will take time to heal and be able to bear load again. When you get the green light to return to the wall, the H-Tape method is a useful method to allow you to ease back into climbing.

Taping flappers: how to deal with skin injuries on your fingers

Flappers

All it takes is a quick slip and bang, a small section of skin on your finger tears open and exposes the sensitive, deeper layer of skin. If you choose to ignore it and keep climbing, you will most likely experience an unpleasant burning sensation. If the tear is deep enough, it may even bleed. Time to stop? Not necessarily! With the right taping method, you still have a chance at ticking your project! And now we’ll explain how! Continue reading >

Finger injuries: what you need to know about taping

Tapen

As fun as it is to work your way up the wall on crimps, slopers and rough volumes, climbing is hard work for our fingers. And because the stress sometimes goes beyond the normal level, tape quickly becomes a part of everyday life; both at the crag and in the gym. Today, in our first article in this series, we will talk about what to look for when buying tape and what you can expect from tape in general.
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Why we love sand paper – #showlovetoyourskin

Warum wir Schleifpapier lieben

We’ve almost made it – it’s already March and the season in which we spend countless hours in climbing gyms, tiny bouldering caves and strength training rooms is drawing to a close. On top of well-known muscle and joint soreness and fatigue, skin problems such as pink fingertips, scratches and abrasions on your hands, shredded skin and big, obvious calluses are crying out for help!
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2017 – A year for the record books

Angy Eiter

2017 was a huge year in climbing history! Margo Hayes’ ascent of La Rambla 9a+ in February, made her the first female to ever climb that grade and then she did it again in September when she clipped the chains on Biographie 9a+! Less than a month later Angy Eiter claimed the title and became the first female to climb a 9b when she sent La Planta de Shive in October.
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Boulder World Cup Scoring System

IFSC BWC

In the spirit of the upcoming World Cup in Muinich, we decided to have a closer look at the IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) scoring system.

Bouldering competitions take place on a climbing wall, with short routes and no ropes. The routes, or rather the “boulders”, are setup in such a way that the lowest part of the body is never higher than 3m off the ground.
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10 minutes with Dani Andrada

Andrada

Most of you have heard of the famous route Chilam Balam (9b) in Villanueva Del Rosario, Spain. Climbed by the likes of Bernabé Fernández (first ascent 2003), Adam Ondra (2011), Edu Marín (2015) and Dani Andrada (Team KletterRetter) who also added his name to that exclusive list in 2015. We took this chance to ask Dani a few questions about his motivation.
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