Articles - Top Tips: How to tape your fingers for climbing
Ben Meeks - Posted on 06 Apr 2011
1. Finger tip protection
In the event of a cut to the finger tip or the dreaded split, Photo 1 (below) shows a good solution. Firstly attach a single strip of tape from the distal finger joint over the finger tip and secure on the back of the finger. With this strip in place, wind tape down to the first finger joint making sure to overlap the edges of tape to prevent the tape rolling off the finger.
2. To provide support
Another common use for finger tape is to help provide support. Photo 2 (below) demonstrates the figure-eight technique for supporting the structures around the finger joint especially the annular ligaments that support the tendons of the fingers. Wrap the tape around the lower part of the finger close to the joint line and pass the tape diagonally across the side of the finger. Leaving the top of the joint clear for freedom of movement, continue the tape around the upper part of the finger and then back across the opposite side of the joint finishing with a further turn around the lower finger.
3. Supporting finger tendons
Photo 3 (below) shows a more traditional method for supporting the finger tendons. This ring technique is often also used to give support to the annular ligaments by wrapping strips of tape around the individual pads of the finger. Like the figure-eight technique this method offers some support but is perhaps more beneficial in protecting the fingers from abrasion.
Warning - when to use tape!
It is important to be aware that although tape is used for both support and protection it does not provide a treatment for injury. When using tape, movement should be relatively pain free and for this reason tape is best used not as a cure but as an aid to careful return to climbing. With practice most climbers will find their own preferred method of taping. Using tape to manage injury is best accompanied with professional advice. Make sure when taping not to restrict circulation and if the finger becomes red and/or numb the tape is too tight and needs to be removed.
Thanks to Ben Meeks and City Bloc bouldering wall - www.citybloc.co.uk
This article first appeared in the 'Urban Climber' section of the September 2010 issue of Climber magazine