Blisters are not uncommon sights in different sports including climbing. And in climbing, having blisters is more than just an unpleasant sight or an injury. This is because it can slow down the sport and in some cases bring it to a complete halt.
When a climber experiences blisters, the next thing is not to panic or to stop climbing (this depends on the severity) but to find the best way to arrest the situation. And what’s the best way? To tape your fingers of course!
What causes blisters? How do I tape my fingers? How do I prevent blisters? These are questions that most people ask and these questions will be addressed in subsequent paragraphs.
What causes blisters?
Blisters are caused by an extreme grip on an object ranging from a rope to rocks. When climbing, we tend to grip the walls and rocks which may sometimes have rough edges with force.
This activity causes friction against your palm and the rough surfaces which in turn causes the blisters to form. When these blisters occur, they form a kind of swelling on different parts of your palm and fingers.
Blisters can move from just a small swelling or tearing of the outer layer of the palm and fingers to a full-blown injury in a short time if it is not properly attended to.
Blisters do more than just hurt your hands, they will leave your hands in the worst shape, sometimes displaying the sensitive part of your inner skin.
This causes irritation and even to the best of climbers, it hinders their progress, slows down their activities, and sometimes brings it to a stop. It goes beyond that, it also creates an opening for Infection which will lead to other diseases. Well, blisters may seem like a daily occurrence especially during climbing, but they shouldn’t be treated with levity as the consequences would be greater than the cost of prevention and cure.
When you develop blisters or calluses, how do you feel? You don’t feel comfortable! Then the next best thing to do is to address it right? That leads to the question of how to tape your fingers for climbing blisters.
How to Tape Your Fingers to Prevent Blisters While Climbing?
The truth about tapes is that they come in handy for climbing blisters because they’re already part of your climbing gears and also double as a bandaid. When there’s a blister, applying tape prevents further developments which can cause infection.
In addition, when choosing a tape to use for climbing blisters, ensure to use either athletic or climbing tape.
Like it has been said earlier, it works like a bandaid and so it’s valuable for its stickiness which helps you to continue climbing after it has been applied. Its stickiness stops it from coming off regardless of sweat or friction.
Now coming to the important part, how to tape your fingers. Below are the tips to taping your fingers:
- When taping your finger, there’s a need to put into consideration certain factors like the circulation of blood. Taping your hands too tight might block off circulation and can lead to inactivity of your fingers. Remember that the main aim is to prevent the blister from developing into an injury and so you can continue climbing regardless of the blisters.
- Although tempting, do not tear off the flab if the blister is torn. The reason for this is that the skin can still serve as a barrier to bacterias and infections.
- If the blister is already torn, clean the surface before taping it. You’d not want a situation where the stickiness of the tape irritates because of the blood, dirt, and grime on and around the surface.
- Remember to always change the tape and clean the blister before taping it again.
Remember that these blisters occur anywhere on the palm and fingers. Here’s how to tape the blisters irrespective of where they appear:
- Pad of your finger: Should the blister appear on the pad of your finger, the best way to tape it is to get a thin strand of tape. Start wrapping from the bottom of your fingernail, wrap gently till the tape covers the pad of your finger.
- Fingertip: You’d still need a thin strip of tape. Wrap gently all down to the base of your finger. Employ a crisscross pattern when you get to your finger joint to allow free movement of your joint. Wrap it gently but firmly so the tape doesn’t come off.
- Hands: This one requires a little bit of technicality. To not block circulation or cause any inconveniences, you’d have to find a way to maneuver the tape around your fingers to have a firm grip on your hands. Wrap the tape first on the base of your fingers, then descend slowly to your palms. Wrap it firmly and gently around your palm and make sure to end the taping at the back of your hands.
How to prevent blisters
If there are ways to prevent the unpleasant experience of acquiring blisters then why not?
- Indoor climbing proves to be less strenuous considering that there are no rough edges of natural rock. The plastic rock walls reduce the chances of acquiring blisters to the barest minimum.
- Engaging in other climbing exercises is a good way to train your hand and form calluses. Calluses cause your hands to have a rough exterior and so make it difficult to acquire blisters.
Climbing is undoubtedly a great sport and like many other sports have their rough side. Acquiring blisters is the littlest downside of climbing. Regardless of how small, it needs to be tackled.
The use of tape as explored in this article can help prevent your blisters from worsening and also protect them from bacterias and infections. Tapes are easy to come by as they’re carried about by climbers.
Blisters on the palm are not a broken finger or a joint and so shouldn’t stop you from climbing. But in the case of a severe one, a tape can come in handy in salvaging the situation.