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You might have seen a rough-rock climber tapping their fingers if you’ve been to a climbing gym or seen them on a cliffside. Climbers often tape their fingers to help their tendons or because their skin protection is already torn or partially torn. There are several different taping techniques, depending on the purpose of the recording. Here in this article, I’ll guide you more on how to tape your fingers for climbing.
Taping serves two purposes: first, it protects the skin; then, it protects the tendons and pulleys; and finally, it provides structural support. Skin protection is something that most beginners feel immediately, but pulley and finger joint protection may become crucial after some time of climbing.
Taping Fingers to Protect Skin
To prevent skin damage, the majority of beginners tape their fingers. Your skin is not accustomed to abrasions when you first begin climbing or bouldering. When your grip holds while climbing, your skin is under a lot of pressure. This is worse if you climb on limestone or volcanic rock outside, but taping is also helpful inside the gym.
To prevent your actual skin from tearing apart, the idea is to create a second layer of skin out of tape. Typically, you do it when your skin is beginning to burn and tear apart at the end of a lengthy and difficult climbing session. If you use tape this way, you can avoid days of pain from severe flapping and finger injuries.
However, there is a major drawback: tape reduces friction, which means you won’t feel as much when you grab a hold. As a result, climbing will get harder because you won’t have the same grip strength when wearing tape. Additionally, it makes slipping even simpler, particularly when you are perspiring heavily. So, if you use slopers and hard holds, be ready to slip and have less control. We will explain how using the right taping method can reduce friction loss.
How Pulley Injuries Occur
Sadly, pulley injuries are one of the most common climbing injuries. Instead of muscles, our fingers move and flex thanks to pulleys and tendons. When climbing a route, it’s common to get a cramp; you can’t stop and have your feet fly off, leaving you with only your fingers to hold your weight. That kind of load and strain can result in tears or blowouts. When it comes to the fingers used for rock climbing, overuse injuries are also very common.
When you’re on a climbing trip, it’s hard to get the rest and recovery you need to keep your finger healthy. Injuries to the ring and middle fingers are common, with A2 pulley injuries being one of the worst. The crimp grip is the most typical hand position associated with the injury. If you can hear a popping sound or an audible crack in your finger, feel pain when you pinch the nerve, or see swelling, you probably have an injury.
It becomes painful to do simple things like hold a cup of tea or grip the steering wheel. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to fully recover from this common climbing injury. Even if it isn’t severe enough to require surgery, it will probably be weeks or even months before you feel completely recovered.
Taping to Reduce Load on Finger Pulleys
First off, taping won’t stop injuries. You should put the tape on your pulley while you are healing from an injury to give it a little extra support until it is fully healed. According to research, it’s not a good idea to tape healthy fingers as a preventative measure. Even worse, it could result in injury because your pulleys might not experience the right amount of stress to keep strengthening and keeping up with your muscle growth as you train.
It’s crucial to use the proper taping method if you want to keep climbing while you’re recovering from an injury. Studies have also shown that H-taping is the best way to support your pulley because it keeps the tendons close to the bone. The truth is that if your pulleys become injured, the tendons in your fingers will pull away from the bone. The purpose of taping is to give the pulleys support so they can keep the tendons close to the bone and prevent injury.
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Why Do Rock Climbers Tape Their Fingers for Rock Climbing
Climbers use finger tape for two different purposes: either to replace the protective layer that covers your skin or to support injured tendons and pulleys. The following are the most common reasons for finger-taping:
- Harm from a finger pulley
- Raw or split finger-tips
- To shield your skin from extremely sharp rock climbing, typically while stretching or practicing moves
It’s likely that you will come across at least a few of these reasons to tape up over the course of your climbing career. We made this comprehensive guide to finger-taping because that inevitable time is coming up soon.
How To Tape Your Fingers For Climbing: Useful Techniques
Ring taping method
Grab some climbing tape for this approach; don’t worry, it’s the simplest way to tape. It safeguards the two main pulleys that frequently sustain damage. As in the illustration, wrap the tape around the finger to resemble a ring. Since the middle finger is one of the fingers that are most commonly injured, we used it in the photograph. While wrapping your finger in tape, keep it slightly bent.
Then begin wrapping the tape around the finger like a wedding ring by pulling it slightly taut. Maintaining a slight bend in the finger, slowly move the tape up the finger until you have overlapping strips. Just be careful not to pull the tape tightly, as you don’t want to bandage the finger or reduce blood flow. If you can feel the tape supporting your ring finger a little bit when you crimp or flex the finger, the tension should be just right to fasten the tape in place. The ring method helps a lot with saving your fingers for rock climbing.
With this technique, a joint’s front and rear pulleys are taped. According to the X-ray, it’s best to tape both pulleys together because if one is hurt or damaged, the other one will probably follow suit. Basically, you’ll use one piece of tape to tape both pulleys. The first pulley in front of the joint should have some tape fixed around it. Pull the tape tight, wrap it completely around it, and come back across the joint until you reach the other area behind the joint. Continue on, make one full pass around, and then cross back to your starting point.
Because the tape crosses over in the middle of the joint, what you have now resembles an X. Repeat this a couple of times. Now that both pulleys are secured, you can move through your entire range of motion without restriction, and the tape supports them when you flex or crimp.
The most recent method is the H-taping method. It is essentially a modified X method because when one pulley hurts, the other is also assumed to be sore.
Take a piece of tape and cut it down the middle so that it resembles the picture’s two tiny legs. Actually, it is a wide strip of tape that is split roughly in half on each side. If you have a wider tape, this will work much better. Wrap it around your finger, then place the middle of the letter H over the joint. Utilizing the tiniest leg here, begin with the front pulley and work your way up to the top. Simply move it to the side if it gets in the way, then wrap the fingertip around it.
Put a strap on it and fasten it. After that, complete that pulley by making only a partial pass with the other leg. Move the tape that is in the way to the side and secure it. Restart on the back pulley and work your way around the finger. With the second piece of tape, proceed in the opposite direction.
You can move it around and still have a full range of motion because your finger’s knuckle is not taped up. However, you can see that you have a lot of support on the pulley and the back of your finger when you crimp or flex the finger. In h method, both pulleys are fastened, and you should be able to feel the tape’s support if you crimp or flex your finger.
You now have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of how to tape fingers for climbing. Even though it may not be necessary for every climb, finger taping can help prevent injuries and improve the comfort of challenging climbs.
Keep in mind that every climber is unique, so what works for one climber might not work for another. It’s critical to try out various methods and determine which suits you the best. Once you’ve discovered a taping technique that suits you, keep honing it and challenging yourself to improve. Please feel free to share any additional queries or tips you may have regarding finger-taping methods in the comments section below.
How do climbers tape their fingers?
A) Applying tape to the back of the injured finger is typically the best method, so rip off a small piece of it. After that, wrap the wound with tape and overlap it a few times. To keep it from coming off right away, secure the tape’s other end to the joint below the wound.
Does climbing lead to arthritis?
A) Intense rock climbing can cause muscle strain, tendon damage, and ligament damage. Additionally, it may harm soft tissues and result in bone diseases like arthritis.
Why do rock climbers tape their fingers?
A) Rock climbers substitute tape for the skin. Friction is necessary for climbing. You’ll start to slide skin on the rock or hold if you do it frequently, especially with non-positive holds. The skin becomes abraded and worn as a result. It hurts after doing it enough times. You will bleed if you continue. Tape can be added to help absorb some of the abrasion, but it is never as effective as skin.
What are the functions of a climber’s tape and how is it applied?
A) Climber’s Tape is used to cover battle wounds like flappers and blisters so that you can still continue to climb. Climbing tape is a much safer alternative because band-aids frequently come off while climbing.
Cut a wide strip of climbing tape that is half its width and long enough to wrap the target area four or five times. The climbing tape has a light glue on the back, so you wrap it around the area you want to stick it to. If the tape isn’t sticking, you can tuck it under to complete the wrap.