Forums: Climbing Information: Injury Treatment and Prevention:
Fingertips disintegrating after big walls
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Injury Treatment and Prevention

Premier Sponsor:

 


shimanilami


May 7, 2007, 7:03 AM
Post #1 of 19 (2531 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 24, 2006
Posts: 2043

Fingertips disintegrating after big walls
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I just got off the Captain a week ago, and just like my 3 previous trips up the Big Stone, my fingertips are peeling like mad. And I mean BAD ... like people think I'm a leper. What gives?

I train quite a bit and my hands are already very caloused. Cragging doesn't do anything like this to me, even if I'm road-tripping for weeks at a time. Nor does mountaineering. Nor does alpine climbing. Nor bouldering ... nothing else. It's something about the big walls.

A friend suggested that I stop using chalk. But I don't use chalk on walls. (Sorry. There's not too much for me to free on the Zodiac.) And I do use chalk generally, with no ill effects.

Another thing: in the week between the wall and the peeling, my hands feel like leather. I know the peel is coming, but no amount of moisturizer can prevent it. It doesn't hurt at all. It's just kind of gross.

Is it just that I'm handling the ropes more? Dehydration? Malnutrition? Suggestions?


azrockclimber


May 7, 2007, 10:59 AM
Post #2 of 19 (2506 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 28, 2005
Posts: 666

Re: [shimanilami] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

shimanilami wrote:
I just got off the Captain a week ago, and just like my 3 previous trips up the Big Stone, my fingertips are peeling like mad. And I mean BAD ... like people think I'm a leper. What gives?

I train quite a bit and my hands are already very caloused. Cragging doesn't do anything like this to me, even if I'm road-tripping for weeks at a time. Nor does mountaineering. Nor does alpine climbing. Nor bouldering ... nothing else. It's something about the big walls.

A friend suggested that I stop using chalk. But I don't use chalk on walls. (Sorry. There's not too much for me to free on the Zodiac.) And I do use chalk generally, with no ill effects.

Another thing: in the week between the wall and the peeling, my hands feel like leather. I know the peel is coming, but no amount of moisturizer can prevent it. It doesn't hurt at all. It's just kind of gross.

Is it just that I'm handling the ropes more? Dehydration? Malnutrition? Suggestions?

I can't really speak to the big wall part of this but......

you actually use moisturizer on your hands??....wow. that would've destroyed my hands and made them peel like mad. I avoid moisturizer on my hands like the plague in order to keep my hands the way they are....tough and caloused.... haha

STOP with the Moisturizer.

Also, how long have you been climbing....if it is a year or two then you still have a way to go until those calousees become truly part of you.... Smile


(This post was edited by azrockclimber on May 7, 2007, 11:00 AM)


shimanilami


May 7, 2007, 4:14 PM
Post #3 of 19 (2466 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 24, 2006
Posts: 2043

Re: [azrockclimber] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

azrockclimber wrote:
STOP with the Moisturizer.

Also, how long have you been climbing....if it is a year or two then you still have a way to go until those calousees become truly part of you.... Smile

As for the moisturizer, I've found that using Hoofmaker a few times a week keeps my skin - and especially the calouses - more pliable. Thus, I get fewer blisters and flappers. I can also feel the rock better. It's like having healthy leather instead of dried out, cracked leather. For me (and my wife and baby boy), this is preferable. I used to like the super-dry hands thing, but no longer.

I've been climbing for 7 years. I climb 2-3 days a week and work a campus board or hangboard another 2 days a week. My hands are quite caloused on the pads, where it counts. My calouses are definitely "part of me" already. The weird thing about the peeling is that it's not just on the pads. It's on every part that's not covered by my gloves. I'm talking about the backs of my fingers, my knuckles, the sides ... everything. The parts covered by gloves, in contrast, are just like normal.

A friend has suggested that the aluminum dust is doing it, and that I should carry some wipes to clean off my hands at the end of each day on the wall. He might be right. In every other situation, I wash my hands at the end of the day. Anyone else had this experience?


petsfed


May 7, 2007, 4:26 PM
Post #4 of 19 (2448 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 25, 2002
Posts: 8599

Re: [shimanilami] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Could it be sunburn?


shimanilami


May 7, 2007, 4:29 PM
Post #5 of 19 (2441 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 24, 2006
Posts: 2043

Re: [petsfed] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

petsfed wrote:
Could it be sunburn?

I'm pretty dark skinned so it's unlikely, especially since it's happening on the sides and pads, too. Thanks, though.


petsfed


May 7, 2007, 4:42 PM
Post #6 of 19 (2424 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 25, 2002
Posts: 8599

Re: [shimanilami] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

It just seems like since the gloves protected you, it could make sense. And dark skin has no bearing on sun burns, just on your ability to pick out the red from the sun burns.

Consult a dermatologist.


htotsu


May 7, 2007, 5:41 PM
Post #7 of 19 (2371 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 11, 2005
Posts: 673

Re: [petsfed] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

petsfed wrote:
And dark skin has no bearing on sun burns, just on your ability to pick out the red from the sun burns.

Not true. It does have a bearing. Doesn't prevent entirely, and sunscreen should be considered by everyone regardless, but more melanin = less likely to burn.

In reply to:
Consult a dermatologist.
OK, this part's good advice.


petsfed


May 7, 2007, 6:23 PM
Post #8 of 19 (2336 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 25, 2002
Posts: 8599

Re: [htotsu] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

htotsu wrote:
petsfed wrote:
And dark skin has no bearing on sun burns, just on your ability to pick out the red from the sun burns.

Not true. It does have a bearing. Doesn't prevent entirely, and sunscreen should be considered by everyone regardless, but more melanin = less likely to burn.

I did not know that. Ya learn something new every day.


caughtinside


May 8, 2007, 4:31 PM
Post #9 of 19 (2281 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 8, 2003
Posts: 30603

Re: [petsfed] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I might be the only person who does this, but I use full fingered gloves. if you buy them so they fit well,you get used to them pretty quick and then your fingertips dont have to get abused as much.


scottd


May 8, 2007, 5:33 PM
Post #10 of 19 (2243 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 21, 2002
Posts: 47

Re: [shimanilami] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Have you considered the possibility that it is the aluminum oxide (from the carabiners, etc) that is irritating your skin. Multiple days on the wall with no washing could produce a serious irritant. This then kills the tissue which takes a few days to slough off. Just a thought....

-Scott


iamthewallress


May 8, 2007, 6:01 PM
Post #11 of 19 (2224 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 2, 2003
Posts: 2463

Re: [scottd] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

My hands usually swell a lot on longer walls, and I'm guessing that the sudden swelling of my callussed skin could set things in motion for a good molting.

Probably partly due to the aluminum oxide, and partly due to having a claw grip on the jugs, the rope, the gear, etc. all of the time. And maybe not getting to move around all that much makes for less than ideal circulation too.

I also know that I end up putting more wear on my swelling-tenderized tips when I spending so much time placing and cleaning gear than I do when I free climb...probably contributes too. Even when I keep my hands super clean, they still swell and peel too...so I guess I've only got commiseration to offer.

I don't like full-fingered gloves for leading and cleaning, because grabbing little holds is such a great way to stablize myself when it's steep and they make me more likely to fumble the gear. Plus...they're hotter!

But they do help save my hands a lot of hauling, so I like bring a pair just for that. Not that it's really saved my hands from being wrecked...It just takes the edge off.


healyje


May 18, 2007, 8:12 PM
Post #12 of 19 (2091 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4204

Re: [iamthewallress] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I just went through this after a trip to Red Rocks after not climbing for a few months. I think it's entirely normal that if you put your hands through a situation that is not the recent norm your body responds as suggested above - by molting, to establish a skin type better suited to what it thinks is a new norm. Same thing happens every year when windsurfing season kicks back on...


shimanilami


May 18, 2007, 8:19 PM
Post #13 of 19 (2083 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 24, 2006
Posts: 2043

Re: [healyje] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

3 weeks later and I'm finally 100% back to normal. What a pain in the ass.

I'm going to try carrying those little wipes on my next wall to see if cleaning the dust of my hands helps anything. I'm also going to bring along a pair of full-finger gloves for cleaning and hauling. It may not help at all. Who knows? I'll post up when I've got some results.

Thanks for the input.


healyje


May 18, 2007, 8:28 PM
Post #14 of 19 (2074 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4204

Re: [shimanilami] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I've been at it for over three decades and windsurfing for two decades - this has always happened like clockwork every year. You can try a bunch of stuff but I still think it's just a normal body process of attempting to adjust to new environmental conditions.


karlbaba


May 19, 2007, 4:16 AM
Post #15 of 19 (2036 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 10, 2002
Posts: 1159

Re: [healyje] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Definately clean your hands everyday. I used wipes and that waterless antibacterial cleaner.

Then apply Bag Balm. Get it online or in a feed store

My fingers used to peel every year. Not anymore

Peace

Karl


ptone


May 20, 2007, 6:23 PM
Post #16 of 19 (1956 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 5, 2003
Posts: 350

Re: [karlbaba] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I play guitar and bass (not the greatest combo with climbing, but I love to climb and refuse to quit) so I've paid some attention to fingerskin. I went through a few moisturizers trying to find something that would keep my callouses from getting rock hard but not melt them either--bag balm is the best i found, and bert's is great if you do get a crack that won't heal cause the callous keeps the edges from melding.

Up here in Canada in winter a few times I've had what sounds similar--a week or so after a climbing binge (everyday, trip etc) all my tips peeled.
My friend said dehydration on top of the rest could do it, and that you could tell it was from dehydration cause the peeling started from the inside, after the fact, rather than peeling from top from irritation of some kind.
I think mine was helped by super dry winter air (exacerbated by electric heat).

peace, p


lhwang


May 21, 2007, 1:19 AM
Post #17 of 19 (1914 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 4, 2005
Posts: 582

Re: [shimanilami] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Something similar happens to me within a few weeks of coming back from a climbing trip. I think it's probably dyshidrotic eczema. If you do a search online, you'll find that they talk about blisters and itching, but I've been told by other doctors that it can present just as peeling of the fingertips in mild cases. If it's a severe case, it can be treated with steroids, but I usually just wait and it goes away on its own.

Obviously what I've written shouldn't be taken as a substitute for medical advice in real life.


iamthewallress


May 21, 2007, 2:02 AM
Post #18 of 19 (1897 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 2, 2003
Posts: 2463

Re: [lhwang] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

The kind of molting that my fingers do after a big free climbing trip somewhere that makes my skin take more wear and tear than it's use to, and the evil thing that happens on and after walls seem pretty different to me.

The former seems to me pretty much about my skin, and the latter involves a lot of swelling and seperation at my cuticles. I've never gotten anything like "wall claw" on a free trip.

In addition to keeping my hands clean, on walls I try to keep flexing my hands to keep pushing the swelling out, wiggle around as much as I can when I'm at belays to keep my circulation going, and avoid needless death grips on the jugs and haul line, but it still takes about a month to be able to make a tight fist again after a big outing.


healyje


May 21, 2007, 2:28 AM
Post #19 of 19 (1886 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4204

Re: [iamthewallress] Fingertips disintegrating after big walls [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I've used Bag Balm pretty much all of those decades and it has never made a difference. Could also be the combination of climbing and windsurfing is just more than anything can surmount, but after they peel the skin that results if fine for both climbing and windsurfing.


Forums : Climbing Information : Injury Treatment and Prevention

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook