Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

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.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

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.

RELATED ARTICLES

Arthritis

Blown Tendons

Cortisone and Tendon Injuries

Cracked Fingertips

Finger Cysts

Finger Cysts and Pain

De Quervains Tenosynovitis

Finger Electrostimulation

Flappers

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

Trigger Thumb Syndrome

Trigger Finger Syndrome