First a disclaimer and this is not specifically for this post, but for this blog in general. I have no qualifications other than my multitude of injuries and resulting research and talking to those who do have proper qualifications. Everything I write related to health is simply something that I’ve previously read/heard. I’m in no way a professional so if you don’t believe something I write, I encourage you to look it up yourself. However, if I make a controversial statement, I will do my best to back it up with evidence/references. And if you know more than me, please add your knowledge in a comment!
Ok now that that’s out of the way…
Climbing is tough on your body. Really really tough. Sure other sports have specific injuries named after them: golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, runner’s knee, bowler’s thumb, etc. but I’ve had all of those (except bowler’s thumb. I made that up) and I don’t do any of those sports. We need to take care of our bodies so we can keep climbing pain free! One often overlooked means of body care is manual manipulation, i.e. massage. If you haven’t heard of the Armaid, check that thing out because it’s probably the best self massage tool for climbers, hands down. However, it’ll set you back about $100. A cheaper and in some ways better alternative that I recently picked up is the KnotOut. If you’re familiar with self-massage with a lacrosse ball, the KnotOut is basically a lacrosse ball plus. It’s 2 or 4 balls shrink wrapped together. Depending on the area it can be tricky to keep a lax ball from rolling away right when you find that nasty spot. The KnotOut’s design makes life a lot easier.
If you go to their products page you’ll see they have about 10 different versions of the KnotOut. For a full body treatment, I decided on the large soft ($40), medium soft ($30), and xs soft ($13).
I went with soft because I’m not super muscular; if you have a lot of meat to work through, the hard versions might be better for you.
With the large I work on my IT band, piriformis, rhomboids, traps, and levator scapulae.
If you have sciatic nerve problems like me, then this thing does wonders.
The medium is great for loosening up the lats, deltoids, and even forearms.
KnotOut calls this one the “perfect take it anywhere release tool.” It does a decent enough job on any area; if you only get one, I’d recommend this one.
The xs is where it gets interesting. This is the one that really caught my eye. This one is for your hands (it’s also good for forearms and wrist). Most climbers are familiar with the flexor tendons and A2/A4 pulleys, but there’s so much more in your hands, i.e. so much more that can get injured. As well as many other pulleys, there are tiny little muscles in your palm called lumbricals.
Notice that the attachment is also about were the A2 pulley is, so if you, like me, assume that pain in your finger is a pulley injury, you might just need to loosen up the lumbricals!
For more info on the KnotOut, especially the xs, I recommend watching Dr. Lisa Erikson’s video. It’s a little long, but she explains most of what I’ve said here and other important information, like why you should only massage in one direction. I also recommend subscribing to her channel; lots of good stuff there.