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Jan 202014

 This article is the first in our ‘Health & Wellness’ series
on the Planet Granite blog!

We reached out to local health professionals within the PG community to speak about issues that often affect us as athletes and climbers.  

We asked them to share their thoughts on topics such as injury prevention, posture and alignment, shoulder stability, tendon strength and more!   

These articles are meant to provide you with general information and guidance, but do not substitute for seeing a certified medical practitioner – it’s always best to check with your doctor!

Your health is important to us! We want you to have the knowledge and resources to stay fit, stay injury free and enjoy your active lifestyle… stay tuned, more articles coming soon! 

 ** The information in these articles are submitted by various  professionals in the industry who are not employed by or representatives of Planet Granite.   If you have an injury or more questions regarding the topics addressed on our blog,  please consult a qualified medical practitioner.  Before beginning any fitness program, you should have a complete physical examination by your physician.**

Hand Injuries

Guest Post by Rachman Chung, DC, DACNB, FACFN 

(Refer to Dr. Chung’s blog for the full article)

If you are new to climbing, learning proper training techniques from experts and applying the correct form during transitions between holds is essential in preventing hand injuries!

It is also important to slowly increase the frequency and duration of climbing sessions so that your bones and soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles, fasciae) have time to reinforce their strength.
However careful you are though, most climbers will experience hand and wrist injuries at some point.

So what’s most important is trying your best to prevent them and, when they do occur, applying the appropriate treatment in order to completely recover and return to full activity as soon as possible.


Q – When should I stop climbing?

It is ideal to avoid climbing for at least 2-3 weeks for most joint, ligament, and tendon injuries before returning to weight-bearing activities. This does not mean you need to stop all physical exercise during the healing process!  

Just modify what you need to in order protect your hand, and spend time conditioning the rest of your body so that you’re ready to climb when your injury is stable.

Q – When can I return to climbing?

Once you are able to perform passive, active and resisted range of motion exercise without pain and do not experience numbness, tingling, or weakness—you can begin a graduated strengthening program.
hand anatomy

Consult a qualified chiropractor, physical therapist or hand therapist if you wish to receive specific progressive rehabilitative exercises for each stage of your recovery.

And, at the gym, consult an expert climber/personal trainer to help structure a graduated climbing program.

Q – How should I modify my training while recovering from an injury?

It is best to be conservative and reduce your climbing duration, frequency, and intensity of climbing sessions to a level that does not produce pain or aggravate your injury.  Depending on the joint, tendon, or muscle involved, you can use taping or bracing techniques to off-load some of the strain while climbing.  Consult your local climbing expert for a customized graduated training program.

*Additionally, in order to reduce inflammation you should apply the P.R.I.C.E. protocol several times per day and receive supportive treatments from a qualified chiropractor, physical therapist, or hand therapist.

  • P is for Protection – Protect yourself and protect any injury from further damage.
  • R is for Rest – Allow an injury time to heal.
  • I is for Ice – By applying ice you will reduce the pain and inflammation
  • C is for Compression – Compression of the swollen area will help to reduce the swelling.
  • E is for Elevation – Elevating the injury also reduces the swelling

*The following are some basic guidelines for when to consult a doctor or a hand specialist:

    • For pre-teens and teenagers, all finger injuries should be evaluated by a professional and receive an X-ray.  This age group is more prone to fractures due to their immature skeletal structure and high risk of permanent damage if they don’t receive appropriate care.
    • For people of any age, all finger dislocations and all suspected pulley injuries require x-rays.
    • If there is deformity—misalignment of your finger or change in the structure of your bones—you need to consult a hand specialist.
    • If you heard a pop or snap and experience severe pain, swelling, and instability or can’t voluntarily move your finger joint throughout the entire range, there is a high probability that you have a fracture or complete tear of a tendon or ligament.
    • In addition, you should consult a doctor if and when any of the following symptoms are present:
        • persistent pain, swelling, or restricted range of motion
        • numbness, tingling, weakness, spasm, or radiating pain
        • failure of the injury to recover after 4-8 weeks of rest
        • open wounds have become inflamed or change color
        • *Did you know most hand injuries require an x-ray? Click here to find out why!*

**For the rest of this article, visit Dr. Chung’s blog!


50% OFF Initial Exam AND X-rays from Dr. Chung!

**Mention you’re a PG member when booking your appointmentThen bring your PG key card to the office with you!**

Rachman_ChungABOUT THE AUTHOR – Dr. Rachman Chung is board certified chiropractic neurologist who practices in San Francisco.  He is an expert in sport and spine injuries and complex neurological conditions.  Prior to becoming a chiropractor he was a semi-professional skateboarder who held numerous sponsorships and appeared in international videos and magazines.  He knows from personal and professional experience the value of having a highly skilled doctor with an expertise in sports medicine and neurological rehabilitation in order to recover from chronic and complex injuries.



References –
Hand Pearls by Mathew J. Concannon, MD, FACS and Jack Hurov, PhD, CHT
Sports Medicine Secrets by Morris B. Mellion, MD

  4 Responses to “Health & Wellness – Hand Injuries by Dr. Rachman Chung”

  1. Hello,

    I think these sorts of health and wellness articles are great and useful to the planet granite community.

    I am trying to understand what training a “board certified chiropractic neurologist” has (and what a chiropractic neurologist even is– is this the use of chiropractic techniques to treat neurological symptoms? ).

    I am also wondering what qualifications allow him to call himself an “expert in sport and spine injuries and complex neurological conditions.”

  2. Continuing my thought from my previous post, I guess I am bit disappointed that the article consists of a bunch of very general medical advice on hand injuries, that judging by his references came from 20 minutes of google searches, and then finishes with a promotion for his chiropractic services.

    Planet Granite is an excellent gym, and deserves to provide better information than this.

    • Hi Matt! Thanks for reading our post and for your questions! We contacted Dr. Chung regarding your concerns. He’s currently away at a conference but was psyched to respond to you when he gets back to SF. Thanks for your patience! ~PG

  3. Hello Matt, thank you for reading my article and taking the time to ask your questions!

    There is often confusion around which hand injuries are serious and which are not. As my first article for the Planet Granite community, I thought it would be helpful to provide a guide to this topic–since these are the most common climbing injuries amongst this sport.

    I’ve wanted to outline the specific signs and symptoms climbers should use to identify when to seek out a professional opinion, as well as how to stay safe and active while returning to climbing during and after injury.

    This guide was meant to be general in order to lead people to where they need to go and obtain a thorough diagnosis of their specific injury. To avoid a minor injury from becoming a chronic one, it’s always best to seek out the advice of a health practitioner.

    I also wanted to provide you with more information about my practice and the chiropractic profession in general. I treat a lot of climbers, athletes, and patients who have complex neurological conditions, and have completed over 1000 hours of training in clinical neurology. As a former semi-professional skateboarder, I also have a lot of personal experience with and recovering from sport and spine injuries. I therefore understand on both a personal and professional level the strengths and weaknesses of both Western and alternative medicines. To learn more about the differences between a medical and chiropractic neurologist, please visit my blog,

    In a nutshell, chiropractic is a four-year doctorate program for primary care providers and these programs include extensive training in the conservative management of neuromusculoskeletal and health conditions—which include sport and spine injuries.
    Chiropractic neurologists then undergo a minimum of three years post-graduate training before they are eligible to sit for the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. To learn about the accreditation agencies, please visit:

    Lastly, I have to admit the section labeled “references” should have more actually been titled “resources”. These sites were not the only sources of information I used in compiling this guide and was not meant to be an exhaustive list by any means.

    Moving forward, feel free to reach out to me directly to discuss any of the topics I present on this blog or on my website. I’m always happy to chat about these issues! You can reach me here at



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