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  • ry making your own herbal wash bag. Use a soft muslin bag or cut the foot off of an old pair of tights, about 6 inches from the end. Fill the pouch with a handful of oatmeal, some soothing herbs such as camomile or lavender and 2 tbl of finely ground almonds. Tie a knot in the open end of the pouch. You can now use this in the bath or shower. One wash bag will last one day maximum – keep it in the fridge in a plastic bag if you intend to use it morning and night, but don’t try to store it longer than this as it can accumulate bacteria.  When wet it will produce a lovely creamy (soap-free) liquid which will clean and nourish sore skin without irritating it further.
  • ome evidence that tea tree oil or lavender applied to the skin may reduce allergic skin reactions caused by histamine-induced inflammation.

  •  Hand strength, dexterity and endurance come from the forearm muscles. Tendons are the ends of muscles that attach to bone.  Muscles pull on attachments to make movement possible.   Chronically tight muscles irritate attachments. If you have pain in your wrist or elbow it’s probably from tight forearm muscles.
  • Circulatory massage is all about the exchange and circulation.  It’s a broad, general stroking that enhances blood and lymph flow** by stroking upwards towards the chest. This also helps reduce the effects of the forearm ‘pump’.
  • Trigger Point massage is a technique that zeros in on tight, sore bundles of muscle, called trigger points,which dominate and chronically contract that muscle tissue and prevent muscles from achieving their full ROM.

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  • Learning and using sports massage therapy techniques on yourself will release tight muscles and help you regain full, pain-free ROM.
  • Drink more water than you normally would.
  • Nearly everyone who is über-active with their arms and hands has small, painful bundles of tight muscle tissue, called trigger points, in the forearm, bicep, and tricep muscles. These trigger points limit ROM and can only be discovered by accurate touch, meaning you poke and probe until you find the sensitive spots of tight tissue.

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  • Pain near the medial epicondyle is commonly called golfer’s elbow or climber’s elbow. Pain develops in the tendons connecting the pronator teres muscle and/ or the many forearm flexor muscles (responsible for finger flexion) to the knobby, medial epicondyle of the inside elbow.
  • This battle, between the supinating action of the biceps pulling and the necessity to maintain a pronated hand position (to maintain grip with the rock), strains the typically undertrained teres pronator muscle and its attachment at the medial epicondyle
  • Tendinosis will reveal itself gradually through increasing incidence of painful twinges or soreness during or after climbing. Tendinitis, however, is evidenced by acute onset of pain in the midst of a single hard move (or failed move), and is usually followed by inflammation and palpable swelling.

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  • For some it’s loose shoulders and others ruptured finger tendons. A third common injury (and the one I suffer from) is elbow pain.
  • After asking around and running a few internet searches I came up with some common cures for elbow pain. Do sets of reverse wrist curls using free weights (i.e. strengthen the extensors in the forearm to balance out the beating climbers do to their flexors) and add general antagonist training (i.e. work out the pushing muscle groups to balance out all the pulling we do in climbing; military presses, triceps, pushups, etc).
  • Forearm stretch

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  • The wrist flexor on the little-finger side, called flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU), is usually the pesky one. For the avid climber this has serious ramifications.


  • Tightness in the upper forearm, specifically the brachioradialis (BR) muscle (see illustration), can also be a concern. Pain that is dull in nature, annoying rather than debilitating, and is over the upper and outer aspect of your forearm, is usually a chronically strained BR.
  • Stretch your BR out a few times a day (see the photos below that look like sadomasochistic ju-jitsu). Be careful not to let your elbow bend during the stretch. Hold for 25 seconds and repeat three times.

  • While training (when you’re not climbing), do the opposite motion of what you would use when climbing. This includes pushing exercises instead of pulling, wrist extension instead of wrist flexion, and opening up your chest and arms instead of having your shoulders and chest rolled in.
  • Don’t mess with tendon injuries.
  • Sometimes there is such a large imbalance between your wrist flexors and wrist extensors that it causes your hand to become claw-like because the extensors are so much weaker than the flexors that they can’t provide a counter balance.

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