Unlike some parts of the body which take a while to realize the importance of, the fingers are obvious to any beginner right away – no one wants hurting fingers and bruises after a long session. Because fingers are important for rock climbing, how should you tape them properly? Taping has for rock climbing actually has two main purposes, which are: skin protection and protecting tendons and pulleys, or structural stability. When you start climbing, skin protection is likely to be what you’re most concerned about. However, pulleys and joints might become more important as you progress. Here are some of the best methods for taping fingers.
Tendon and finger injuries heal slowly, so you should avoid them if possible!
But don’t undervalue it! Tendon and pulley injuries can take a long time to heal, and while the proper gripping technique is important to avoid damage, knowing how to tape against these injuries is just as important. When you feel cuts or abrasions on your fingers, it is wise to have some backup plans in the event that you get skin flappers. These can be very painful and take a long time to heal.
We are going to explain the rationale for taping, show you some methods, and give recommendations for good tape. Now that you’ve read this article, you will know everything there is to know about how to tape. Practice makes perfect!
Skin protection with finger taping
Most beginners benefit from the tape’s protection against skin injuries. Climbing and bouldering can cause abrasions to your skin as you get used to the activity. Climbing can lead to painful blisters due to pressure on the skin from grasping holds. Outside, where volcanic rock and limestone may exist, this is even worse, but tape can also be useful inside the gym.
In order to prevent tearing of the real skin, the tape is used to create a second layer of skin. When you climb hard and for long periods, your skin becomes raw and ripped, so that’s when you need it. The application of tape can help you avoid days of agony if you suffer a large flapping injury.
A big drawback to tape is that it reduces friction, and you will not have the same sense of grip. Since you have less grip strength when wearing tape, climbing is harder. Moreover, sweating greatly increases your chances of slipping. Therefore, you should prepare yourself for slipping and a less reliable grip when dealing with slopers and difficult holds. Later on, we will discuss how tapping reduces friction loss.
It is not a good idea to overtape
Overuse of tape will also prevent your skin from acclimatizing to climbing. Eventually, your hands and skin become harder if you don’t use tape. The process, however, would slow down or end altogether if you continuously tapped up.
It is more prudent to use tape instead of other measures when there is no alternative to treating the skin injury, but do not apply tape right away if you feel any pain. Instead of gripping and placing your hands, it is important to place your body and control your movement. If you position your weight correctly, you will need much less pressure and grip power. In addition to making you more efficient and effective as a climber, this can also make you more effective.
Although this process is painful, it will result in more efficiency and precision in your climbing. If you are bleeding from open cuts or abrasions, you should definitely stop the bleeding first and tape afterward. Another option is to tape your hand as you work on project routes and remove it during the final send attempt. It’s gross to have other people grab your bloody hands.
Treatment of skin wounds with finger taping
Taping the back of an open finger and wrapping the open wound or abrasion with overlapping tape is the best way to treat a wound with tape. Wrapping the tape to an anchor position at the closest joint to the wound will help to secure the tape. This way, the tape is stable and won’t come off easily. However, this is not an iron shell, and it will come off eventually. At that point, your session will be over, so go home and rest.
Rest and take care of your skin! You can also wear tape like a glove so you can wrap your wrist and hand multiple times while crack climbing. In this way, you can rest your hand in a stable position, and while doing so, you can protect your wrist and finger knuckles at the same time.
Taping fingers to prevent injuries
Tape can also protect your fingers against injuries. Your fingers have two main tendons. One by flexing the middle part and one by flexing the tip. If you think about the anatomy of a finger, you have the skeleton, the tendons, and the muscles. All three of these allow the finger to bend.
Pulleys are tissue sheaths that keep tendons, muscles, and bones in your fingers apart. A pulley, a ligament-like structure, supports the tendons at the fingertip. In order to prevent the bowstringing of the tendon, a pulley is used. When your fingers are crimped, then they are bent and the tendons will be tempted to do a bowstring motion, making them pop out from the skeleton – not good.
Tendons are the biological tape of your body
In terms of the tendon, the pulley is kind of like a biological tape that holds the whole package of muscles and bones together. Most climbers find that doing it too often will result in soreness in their fingers which is an indication that the pulley is inflamed and sore, so we will use exterior tape to keep it together and prevent the tendon from bowstringing.
It is also important to prevent a ruptured pulley from too much force, because then your tendon bowstrings when you crimp. Among rock climbers, this kind of injury is relatively new in the field of medicine, having first appeared in the 1980s. This is because maximum force occurs when a grip is crimped around the joint of the second finger.
It’s important to use the right gripping technique
Even worse is when you fall off a foothold because your hand will contract uncontrollably to compensate. That’s when finger injuries, aka ruptured pulleys, are most likely to happen. In most cases, this occurs during power moves or when avoiding a fall at all costs. Usually, it occurs on the middle and ring fingers since they are most under pressure when crimping and even studies have shown that the second finger joint is 30% more stressed when crimping compared to holding openhanded. It’s crucial to grip with a proper grip.
This area around the pulleys needs to be protected. In addition, tape supports these pulleys during movement, decreasing the force on them.
Finger taping methods to use
The following three methods will help you prevent pulley damage to your fingers. Video says more than many words, and this one explains the 3 methods we discussed. Simply watch in slow motion to see the results.
The ring method
This method involves simply getting your hands on some climbing tape and tying it with your fingers. You will protect two of the main pulleys from injury. As shown in the picture, wrap the tape around your finger to act as a ring. A middle finger is used because this is one of the fingers that usually gets injured. When wrapping the tape around your finger, keep it bent slightly.
Wrap the tape around the finger as if it were a wedding ring, while you pull with some tension. Move the tape up your finger slowly, overlapping the strips as you do so, while keeping your finger bent slightly. You may want to pull the tape as snugly as possible, but do not bandage the finger or suppress the blood flow and the tape should be tightened just enough to hold the finger in place, a good indicator is if you can feel the tape supporting your finger when you crimp or flex it.
With this method, both pulleys of the joint are taped. When one pulley is injured and damaged the other is almost certainly going to be injured and damaged too, so it is best to tape both. Taping both pulleys basically requires a single piece of tape. Put some tape around the first pulley before the joint, pull it tight, and then wrap it back around until you reach the other side. Once you have completed one full pass around, turn around and return.
As you can see, the tape crosses over in the middle of the joint, giving the appearance of an X. This needs to be repeated two or three times. As a result, you can crimp and flex with no restrictions, and the bot pulleys are secured.
It’s also called the shuffle method since Isabel shuffle described it in 2007 in the Journal of hand biomechanics. Since both pulleys are assumed to be sore when one begins to hurt, it is essentially a modified X method.
Take a piece of tape and rip it in the middle, so that it has two little legs. This tape is actually a wide strip that is split down the middle. Wrap the tape around your finger and lay the center over the joint. This works much better with a wider tape. Using the little leg and coming around from the front pulley, start with it. It can be moved to the side, then you can circle around the top of the finger if it gets in the way. You need to secure it with a strap. Finish that pulley off with the other leg by doing half a pass.
Continue moving the tape from the back to the side, securing it there. Start at the back pulley again, moving the tape around the finger. Wrap the second piece of tape around the opposite finger. If you move the tape around, then you will still have the full range of motion in your finger since the knuckles are not taped up. The pulley and the back of your finger provide a lot of support when you crimp or flex the finger. Using your finger to crimp or flex should also create a feeling of support as the pulleys are secured now and then.
What method should I use?
According to science, the H method is the most effective because it binds the tendon and bone very tightly together using ultrasound measurement. Therefore it is the most effective method to keep things together, followed by the X method and the ring method which is the least effective. But remember, the goal of tape is not only to prevent bowstringing, but rather to transfer forces from pulleys to other structures. It is done successfully using all three methods and your fingers and pulleys are relieved of pressure.
The X Method is easy to make and best to use
All three methods we have used before have been good to us: the ring method, the X method, and the H method. Our favorite method to tape is X because it is easy. H-method tape is sometimes difficult to apply due to its more complicated nature. Whatever method you prefer, they all work, just make sure to tape properly, not too tight but not too loose either.
Tape Recommendations – These tapes have been tested by us
With this knowledge of why climbers tape their fingers, let’s look at some tape recommendations. In the past, we’ve tested a variety of tapes, and this is our personal experience.
Rolling and using it is easy because it is very sticky. If used in multiple pitches of crack climbing as a glove it will hold. Despite its difficulty in splitting and ripping, it still works well for individual finger taping. You should be careful if you have a lot of hair, it sticks to them. It is also inexpensive. It is also worth mentioning Leukotape, which is even stickier and more durable than Metolius.
It’s amazing how much information you can find in one article. Tape has also been found effective for crack climbing skin protection, but don’t put too much on – your fingertips should harden. You can use any of the three methods we described to prevent finger joint injuries with taping. To avoid injuries and skin problems, get some Metolius or Leukoplast Tape and make sure your climbing technique is good. Also, pay attention to your grip!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
When should you tape your fingers climbing?
Most people do this after a long, hard session when their fingers are raw, sore, and worn down. You can save yourself from an injury that might take a few days to heal by applying an extra layer or two of tape. The downside of tape is that it reduces your feeling for the holds and reduces friction.
What is finger tape used for climbing?
When climbing cracks, or at the end of a bouldering session when the skin is painful or tender, finger tape can be used to prevent skin tears. The climbing tape used by climbers to prevent fingers from being crushed during use of a pulley support is commonly known as climbing tape.
How do I protect my hands when rock climbing?
To protect your hand from rock climbing, you should use gloves. Read this article to know more about gloves.
Should climbers moisturise hands?
A day of climbing should always be followed by a moisturizer. Rock climbing lotions contain soothing oils and essential herbs to prevent your hands from drying out. Make sure to apply lotion before bedtime to achieve maximum results.
How do you tape your fingers for climbing?
To know, how to tape your fingers for climbing check out this video.