Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Wrap it Up! How to Tape Your Finger Injury.

I got a lot of great feedback from my first blog post last week, thanks for all of the kind words, criticism and encouragement! As promised, this week is a short tutorial on how I would tape a finger following an A2 pulley injury.

For both of the methods I will show, all you will need is a roll of athletic tape and a pair of scissors. Although you can buy athletic tape at any Shoppers Drugmart, I prefer the tape that you get at physiotherapy clinics, as the adhesive tends to be of better quality, as well as the tensile strength of the tape itself.

With any taping, be sure not to wrap the tape so tight that you restrict all blood flow to the finger. Your finger should not be dark purple, and when you pinch your fingertip, the colour should easily return after releasing the pinch.


Method #1

This method is intended for when you first return to climbing, after that initial 2 - 3 week break. I personally recommend using this style of taping for at the very minimum 6 - 8 weeks after returning to climbing, when you will be focusing on using large, more rounded holds. As absolutely no crimping is the goal in this phase of recovery, this taping method restricts your ability to flex the PIP joint, and makes it hard to bring your DIP joint into extension. You will still be able to use your open hand grip position fine, so jugs, pinches and slopey holds should not be affected.

Step 1
Cut a strip of tape approximately two feet long, and about an inch wide. Begin by wrapping the tape once around your proximal phalanx.

Step 2
Once you have wrapped the anchor around your proximal phalanx, bring the tape diagonally across the back side of your PIP joint, as shown above.

Step 3
After coming across the PIP joint, wrap the tape around your middle phalanx once to create another anchor above the joint.

Step 4
Now bring the tape diagonally down across the back side of the PIP joint, creating an "X" of tape across the joint.

Step 5




Now wrap the tape around the first anchor, and retrace the pattern with any remaining tape. The end result should look similar to the pictures above. Now if you were to try and crimp, the tape would stop your ability to hyperflex the PIP joint, effectively restricting you from crimping with that finger. I believe this method of taping is EXTREMELY important during the initial couple of months after returning to climbing after a pulley injury, because as much as a climber will say "I just won't crimp", muscle memory and instinct will sometimes take over. During those times, it is important to have a roadblock hindering that muscle memory from taking over.

Method #2

The second method of taping is for when a person starts to add crimps back into their climbing regime. It will allow for flexion in the PIP joint, yet will give some support in the area of the A2 pulley. Many people use the "H-Taping" method to achieve similar results, although I believe the method I will show is more functional, and offers more support. NOTE: Remember to give your body enough time to heal, and reintroduce crimping VERY slowly. Start by crimping on holds while your feet are still on the ground (non-weight bearing), and then slowly bend your knees, allowing your fingers to slowly bear more weight. If at any point this causes any sharp pains, you are likely not ready to reintroduce crimping!

Step 1
Again, cut a length of tape approximately two feet long, this time about half an inch wide. Wrap the tape around your proximal phalanx, this time just under the PIP joint.

Step 2
Once the anchor is wrapped around your proximal phalanx, bring the tape diagonally across this PIP joint, this time on the palm side of your finger.

Step 3
Bring the tape around the back side of your middle phalanx, and then diagonally across the palm side of the PIP joint, creating an "X".

Step 4

Finish by wrapping the tape around the anchor on your proximal phalanx, and retrace the pattern with any remaining tape.



The end result will look something like the pictures above. This method will give your A2 pulley some support as you slowly begin to reintroduce crimping into your climbing. I cannot reiterate enough that at this stage, you need to take baby steps. The taping shown is there to help support a healing ligament, but does not negate the fact that there is still a ligament trying to heal beneath it. Warm up slowly and thoroughly, start by crimping while non-weight bearing, and once weight bearing is introduced, do so on slab or vertical angles with good feet. Climbing on crimps on an overhung angle should not be attempted until you can crimp on a vertical angle with no pain.

As always, please feel free to comment or critique what I post, as it serves to make me better at what I do. Share this with your friends and climbing partners, and if there are any topics you would like my take on, I'm always open to suggestions.

Remember, crimpin' ain't easy.


  1. Should your cap refill still be under 1 second after taping? Another good post brah =)

  2. Yeah, the taping should definitely not be as tight as i have it in Method #1 (as you can see that my finger is purple).

    After taping, cap refill should be like 1 - 1.5 seconds.

    Thanks Joe!