• Broken Hand
  • NSAIDS: To Use or Not to Use
  • Hydrocele, Spermatocele and Strained Groin
  • Hand: Arthritis
  • Open-Heart Surgery
  • Osteopenia and Increasing Bone Density
  • Body: Pain Meds vs Sex
  • Appendectomy and Climbing Training
  • Body: Injury Truths
  • Body: BPA and Waterbottles
  • Body: Bouldering for Bone Density
  • Body: Chronic Injury
  • Body: Bouldering for the Bones
  • Body: Antibiotics and Tendon Damage
  • Back

  • Lumbar Bone Spurs
  • Options for Disc Herniation
  • Back: Spinal Fracture
  • Back: Preventing Hunchback
  • Back: Herniated Disc
  • Abdomen

  • Abdomen: Muscle Tear/Hernia
  • Arm

    No items found.


  • Thoracic Musculature Tightness
  • Chronic Posterior Shoulder Pain
  • Supraspinatus and Labral Tears
  • Chronic Shoulder Pain
  • Shoulder Replacement
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Exploding Shoulder
  • Shoulder: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Shoulder: SLAP Lesion and Cortisone
  • Shoulder: Frozen Shoulder
  • Shoulder: Torn Labrum, SLAP Lesion
  • Shoulder: Separation
  • Shoulder: Pain and Virus
  • Biceps

  • Bursting Biceps
  • Elbow

  • Golfer's Elbow
  • Elbow: Brachioradialis Pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Medial Epicondylosis Tendonitis
  • Dodgy Elbows Revisited
  • Synovial Chips
  • Quack Elbow Treatments to Avoid
  • Elbow Pain and Cortisone Use
  • Do Compression Sleeves Work?
  • Elbow: Tennis Elbow
  • Elbow: Medial Tendonosis
  • Elbow: Elbow Pain and Dodgy Elbows
  • Elbow: Tendonosis
  • Elbow: Medial Epicondylosis and Taping
  • Elbow: Tingling and Numbness
  • Elbows: Minimizing Fingerboard Injuries
  • Elbow: Medial Epicondyle Tendonosis
  • Elbow: Stress Fracture
  • Elbow: Pain and Hangboarding
  • Wrist

  • TFCC Tear
  • Wrist Pain From Cleaning Routes
  • Wrist: Klienbock's Disease
  • Wrist: Ruptured Tendon
  • Snap, Crackle, Wrist
  • Wrist: Fractured Scaphoid
  • Wrist: Instability
  • Hand

  • Broken Hand
  • Hand: Hook of the Hamate Fracture
  • Fingers: Everything You Need to Know About Finger Stress
  • Hands: Dupuytren's Disease (lump in palm)
  • Hands: Numbness and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fingers

  • Swollen Right Index Finger
  • Pinky Numbness
  • Avulsion Fracture
  • Hand: Arthritis
  • Finger Numbness
  • Fourth Metacarpal Break
  • First Pulley Strain
  • Freezing Fingers Today, Benefit Tomorrow?
  • Cysts in Fingers
  • Ruptured Finger Pulley
  • Major Finger Pain
  • Fingers: What To Do with a Ruptured Flexor Digitorum Superficialis
  • Fingers: Everything You Need to Know About Finger Stress
  • Fingers: Hyper-extended
  • Fingers: Cysts and Pain
  • Fingers: Cracked Fingertips
  • Fingers: De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
  • Fingers: NSAID Treatment
  • Fingers: Torn A2 Pulley
  • Fingers: Trigger Thumb Syndrome
  • Fingers: Stiffness, Soreness
  • Fingers: Grip Position and Injury
  • Fingers: Cortisone for Tendon Injuries
  • Fingers: Pinky Finger Pain
  • Fingers: Electrostimulation
  • Hands: Numbness and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fingers: Taping Truths
  • Fingers: Flappers
  • Fingers: Trigger-Finger Syndrome
  • Fingers: Torn A3 and A4 Pulleys
  • Fingers: Cysts
  • Fingers: Arthritis
  • Fingers: Numbness
  • Fingers: Blown Tendons
  • Leg

  • Leg: Achilles Tendonitis
  • Leg and Knee: Broken Femur and Shattered Kneecap
  • Leg: Pulled Hamstring
  • Leg: Fracture
  • Knee

  • Outside Knee Pain: Tibiofibular Joint
  • MCL Injury
  • Blown Knees
  • Knee Tendonitis after Ankle Fusion
  • Meniscal Tear on a Drop Knee
  • Knee: Rockfall Causes Lump
  • Knee: Chondral Injury of the Lateral Tibial Plateau
  • Leg and Knee: Broken Femur and Shattered Kneecap
  • Knee: Ruptured ACL
  • Knee: Ruptured Ligament and Meniscus
  • Knee: Synovial Cartilage Damage
  • Ankle

  • Osteochondral Talus Fracture
  • Knee Tendonitis after Ankle Fusion
  • Snapped ankle tendon
  • Possible Death of the Talus Bone
  • Broken Talus Bone
  • Ankle: Loud Pop Ankle Roll
  • Feet

  • Bunions
  • Dr. J Attacks Fungal Toenails
  • Feet: Broken Foot
  • Feet: Gout and Pseudogout
  • Feet: Toe Fracture
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    Fingers: Arthritis


    I've had an inflamed middle knuckle in one of my fingers for a few months. I saw a doctor, and after an x-ray he told me it was synovitis, the first stage of rheumatoid arthritis.

    He told me a) not to be worried and b) maybe to be a little worried. I'm 25 and hope to have a long climbing life ahead of me. Aside from four weeks of rest and a steady dose of anti-inflammatory drugs, what else is recommended? Is there an effective physical therapy for your finger joints?

    I've done physical therapy twice, which just consists of dipping my hand in hot wax a few times and then resting it under a heat lamp. He also advised me to soak it in hot water at home.

    Rock and Ice

    Arthritis is the silver bullet that every hedonist climber wants to avoid. The young are invincible if only in their own angst-driven world; the old have arthritis already and are dealing (or not), but the middle-aged hedonist is frightened like a baby fur seal.

    Inflammation of the synovial cartilage (aka hyaline cartilage, the shiny surface on the ends of the bones in synovial joints), can be alarmingly painful. Mostly, it will feel like a slow-burning fire. Squeeze the joint and it will become more like an oxyacetylene torch. Aside from emanating pain on pressure, it will cause a dull pain deep in the joint whenever you run the joint to the end of its range, worse so when it is loaded.

    In climbers, the impetus for synovitis (and its conjoined twin, capsulitis) in finger joints is usually the loss of accessory motions, namely rotation and side-bending, by chronic overuse. The joints become stiff and easily aggravated.

    X-rays are not illuminating for synovitis or the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I assume your doctor has made the diagnosis of synovitis on the basis of joint pain alone, and really, it's a reasonable call. RA, on the other hand, is a behemoth step along the diagnostic odyssey given your penchant for a retro-evolutionary hobby. Many doctors like to add a little drama into their day by telling you all the things it could be. Puts the wind up you, and gives them an overwhelming sense of omniscience.

    Synovitis is a symptom of, among other things, arthritis. The differential diagnosis for synovitis is as wide and varied as an inflamed lymph node in your neck. Yes, synovitis could herald RA, an inflamed node could be leukemia rather than a cold, and a headache could be the mother of all tumors rather than too much time on the Internet. In 80 percent of RA cases, a simple blood test will answer your question.

    When the surfaces of a joint are jammed tightly together the synovial cartilage becomes annoyed. When the opposing joint surfaces are able to shift about a little and assume a comfortable position, there is less irritation.

    Stretching your fingers is a jolly fine idea. Most climbers tend to think that pushing your fingers back for a few seconds as you take a final glance skyward constitutes a stretching program. Feckless drunks, of course. This type of stretch, aside from being categorically useless, will not actually stretch the joint capsule, which contains and stabilizes the joint.

    Take your finger and twist the last two segments like a homebrew screw top. Now bend it sideways as well. Hard! [Go to] It will both feel and look alarming. At first the site will be exquisitely tender, but the days of masochistic bliss will regrettably fade. If you are a city dweller, the inconvenient traffic light is now your friend.

    Hot wax, hey? I can think of a few uses for hot wax that would result in more satisfaction. But I don't want to talk about my private life. Without any adjunctive therapy, you could apply it more times than Linda Lovelace for only marginal benefit. And I fail to see what therapeutic benefit hot wax has over hot water. That said, it won't do any damage (other than to your wallet), and will surely help the process in conjunction with some targeted stretching.

    Anti-inflammatory medication will only band-aid the problem in the short term. ‰Inflammation and pain arise due to an underlying problem, in this case joint overload and tightness. Rest, in this instance, is a bit over-rated. Stretch the joints aggressively and, suffice to say, crimp less.

    Pain in your joints is a great bellwether. As you can see from other posts on the forum, this problem has a propensity to return. Deal with it now!

    In defense of your doctor, synovitis in the general population is often indicative of some form of arthritis. Synovitis is arguably more common in the fingers of climbers, but is it related to joint stress rather than arthritis.

    A word of caution: Stress fractures close to the joint can have a similar appearance. If the pain does not subside, procure yourself some appropriately fancy images.



    Blown Tendons

    Cortisone and Tendon Injuries

    Cracked Fingertips

    Finger Cysts

    Finger Cysts and Pain

    De Quervains Tenosynovitis

    Finger Electrostimulation


    Grip Position and Injury

    Hyper-Extended Finger

    NSAID Treatment

    Finger Numbness

    Pinky Finger Pain

    Finger Stiffness and Soreness

    Finger Taping Truths

    Torn A2 Finger Pulley

    Torn A3 and A4 Finger Pulleys

    Trigger Thumb Syndrome

    Trigger Finger Syndrome

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