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Injuries and Medical Advice

Fingers: Torn A3 and A4 Pulleys

I was pulling on a small side pull in an open-handed grip with marginal feet and heard a loud pop. After that my left ring finger felt unsupported and I couldn't weight it. There was a dull ache between the middle and last joint of my finger, which has since subsided to a slight pain.

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I was pulling on a small side pull in an open-handed grip with marginal feet and heard a loud pop. After that my left ring finger felt unsupported and I couldn’t weight it. There was a dull ache between the middle and last joint of my finger, which has since subsided to a slight pain. If it is a rupture of the A3 or A4 pulley [the slips of tissue that hold the flexor tendons close to the bones], is it necessary to see an orthopedic surgeon? Can I just go skiing for the winter and forget about it?

Adrenalated rockandice.com Forum

Oh, joy, popping noises. This typically indicates the full monty of pulley damage. Though one rupture is foire standard, it is quite possible to rupture several: KA POW!

If it is A4, it is impossible to protect with taping, and climbing is not advisable for a good month or so. The A3 is easier to protect, hence the prospect of climbing is more tenable (see Bum Wraps, the truth about finger taping; No. 148).

Reconstructive surgery? Don’t bother. Anecdotally, surgery doesn’t appear to offer more than conservative treatment. I have seen climbers rupture A2, A3 and A4 in one foul interplanetary misalignment, and still return to their previous redlining best, plus some (and I am talking well into the 5.14 grade, or above V13).

Go and chase some snow bunnies if you haven’t caught one already. Do a little skiing and start back slowly next season.

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