The worst thing about climbing is not being able to climb. If you’ve been sidelined because you’ve broken a bone or torn something, you know how hard it can be to just sit and watch people send as you get weaker and weaker. But, at least your injury is legitimate. It REALLY sucks when you have to stay on the ground because of a teeny tiny millimetre long split-tip or cracked pad. These things are painful both physically and emotionally! How can such a little tear cause so much pain? Well, with some preventative tactics like using a handy-dandy rock climbing balm, you may not have to worry about split-tips again!
Prevention Is Your Key To Success
Very rarely does a split-tip or crack happen out of the blue. You can often tell something is about to rip during your session, so when it feels like it’s time to stop, just go ahead and chill out. It’s better to climb another day than risk this silly injury.
Split-tips can happen because of a few reasons. The most obvious being that you’re projecting something that has a gnarly shark tooth hold on it. The stronger your hold on it, the more it bites back! Take a few burns on your project, but know when it’s time to move on and try something that’s a little nicer to your pads.
Check The Forecast
Weather conditions can be key to keeping your fingers happy. If you’re climbing when it’s humid, in the sun, and with sweaty hands, you’re just asking for flaps, cracks, and splits. Keeping your hands dry all through your session prevents the skin from becoming too soft from your warm sweat. Think about your hands after a hot shower or washing the dishes, would you climb with them all pruney? Didn’t think so.
Try to climb in shady and cool conditions and keep some chalk on your hands even when you’re not climbing. When you’re just hanging out, blow on your hands or wave them around a bit to keep them cool. You can even bring a little electric fan if you want! Just keep ‘em cool and dry any way you can.
After Your Climbing Session
After your rad day of sending, try to wash your hands as soon as you can. It’s time to maximize the time available for your skin to heal. Skin can toughen up and heal quite quickly, especially in the right environment. So make an effort to create that environment.
After your hands are clean, throw on some rock climbing balm, like Bomber. It’s specially made for climbers and has all this good stuff in it to promote faster skin healing. It’s quick-drying and non-greasy too so don’t worry, you’ll be able to upload all your day's activities to Instagram without getting your phone all gross. Throw some on before bed too for maximum healing.
How To Heal Split-Tips
Let’s say you just couldn’t control yourself and you just had to give it one more go and you split your finger. Ouch! It’s probably super deep and you definitely deserve it because you’re an idiot. If you love torturing yourself, you can tape it nice and tight and keep climbing. It’s not like you’re taking this advice seriously anyways so go ahead dude, yolo.
Step 1. Stop Climbing
Hopefully, at some point, you decided to stop climbing on razor-sharp edges and are ready to heal that bad boy up. Good for you, you’re learning some self-control.
Step 2. Clean The Wound To Prevent Infection
Now you need to get that crack or split-tip clean. It’s technically an open wound, and you’re in a dirty environment so preventing infection should be your top priority. All you need to do here is use some mild soap and water to wash the cut.
Step 3. Remove Any Excess Skin
The next step is to grab some sandpaper or sterilized clippers, scissors, hatchet, anything sharp will do. Now sand the split-tip down until it’s super smooth. If you go the scissors route, you’ll have to perform some delicate surgery on yourself and clip the callused skin away on each side of your split. Make sure you have steady hands and don’t cut your finger off.
Grab yourself a roll of sandpaper to file down excess skin.
Sand off as much dead skin as you can. This will promote faster healing and new skin growth. Wash your hands again, dry them, and now you're ready to make your skin happy.
Step 4. Throw Some Bomber Rock Climbing Balm On It
Using a rock climbing balm, like Bomber, will keep the cut clean and promote healing. Bomber has some cool stuff in it like apricot kernel oil, which is a collection of oleic acids, linoleic acids, alpha-linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin E. The fatty acids and vitamins together soothe your skin, promote skin growth, and have anti-inflammatory/anti-bacterial properties.
Splits Around Your Nails
The edges of our fingernails are prone to splits. The combination of dry skin, glass-like calluses, and super short nails can help cause these cuts and run-of-the-mill hangnails. If you notice this happening to you, file down the calluses and frequently apply Bomber to prevent any tearing. This is one of the rare cases where you actually want softer calluses.