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Are you among the ones who love participating in climbing sports? Are you a rock climber? Well, then for sure mountain climbing would be your favourite activity. And this love comes with a lot of hardship. Climbing to the top requires a lot of energy and strength. Your fingers and your toes bear all your strength and body weight. And this paves the fingers at risk of finger pulley injuries. 


Mountain climbers commonly encounter these finger pulley injuries due to the pressure or the load exerted on the digits while climbing. This occurs due to the shift in the position of the tendons and the joints while climbing.  You need to consider Finger Pulley Injuries, to access the most effective treatment for finger pulley injuries.


What are finger pulley injuries?

Before proceeding with finger Pulley injuries, you must know what finger Pulley is. It would be easier for you to understand finger Pulley injuries once you know about the mechanism of finger Pulley. A human finger consists of 3 bones called phalanges with three hinge joints. Ligaments are the structures that connect or join bone to bone, while tendons are the structures that join muscles to bones. While climbing, the flexor tendons of the fingers allow the climbers to bend and crimp their fingers, thus helping them have a firm grip when climbing. These structures of fingers form digital pulleys or finger pulleys. Finger pulleys are numbered from 1 to 5, which lock the finger flexor tendons when the fingers bend while climbing. 


These finger pulleys are prone to injuries while climbing. Hence these injuries are also referred to as climber’s finger injuries. It occurs due to excessive use of the crimping grip while climbing the mountains, during which the flexor tendons of the finger pulley have to bear the extreme load. This leads to potential damage and injury to the flexor tendons of the finger pulley. It may also occur when the thumb is placed over the index finger with a fully closed crimping grip. All these movements and actions put extra load and excessive pressure on the digital pulleys. 


How do finger pulley injuries occur?

Finger pulley injuries occur suddenly while climbing with a pop accompanied by pain and swelling. Among the five special pulleys, A2 is the most commonly injured flexor pulley. Injuries of A3 and A4 are also common. Damage to the A2 pulley leads to its complete rupture causing bowstringing at the base of the injured finger. 


The physical therapist uses ultrasound diagnostic techniques to confirm the extent of involvement of the occurred finger pulley injury. People who are suffering from finger pulley injuries can rely on Finger Pulley Injuries, for the treatment and effective results as well. The most commonly affected flexor tendons being the A2 and A4 pulleys. The reason behind these injuries could be one of the following:

  • Closed crimp position of the hands while climbing.
  • Using the same repetitive movements
  • Acute loading of your entire body weight on the fingers
  • Using excessive force while climbing


The signs and symptoms of finger Pulley injuries

The most common signs and symptoms of a finger Pulley injury are:

  • Pain is felt on the dorsal side or the palm side of the fingers.
  • Feeling of tenderness on the application of force or pressure.
  • Swelling involving the injured finger. 
  • A typical sign of finger pulley injury is the popping sound heard when the damage occurs.
  • Inability to form a fist. 


How to treat finger pulley injuries?

It is essential to get treated for finger pulley injuries to a complete recovery. Finger pulley injuries can be devastating for mountain climbers. The treatment for finger pulley injuries depends on the grade of involvement of the pulleys


  1. Grade 1: Pulley strain

Treatment for grade 1 does not require immobilisation of the injured finger. Be gentle with the range of motion while performing exercises to relieve your pain.

  1. Grade 2: Complete rupture of A4 or partial rupture of A2 and A3

The physical therapist immobilises the injured finger using a splint or a pulley protection splint for a week or two

  1. Grade 3: Complete rupture of A2 or A3 pulleys.

Immobilisation for one or two weeks is necessary for the healing of grade 3 involvement.

  1. Grade 4: Rupture of annular pulley

It mainly requires surgical repair.



Climbing is considered a great sport that keeps you in shape. However, if you suffer from a finger Pulley injury, it is advisable to consult an expert of climbing injuries who will diagnose and provide correct and effective treatment for your damage, helping you get back in form. A physical therapist for Finger Pulley Injuries, Seattle, WA, will be the best option if you are looking for cost-effective and immediate recovery from your injury. It is essential to consult a physical therapist as soon as possible to get close medical attention and treatment to improve your health and avoid further such injuries.


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