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Finger Support for Climbers

Our S.P.Ort (Semilunar Pulley Orthosis) is a customizable finger splint designed to protect injured pulleys and help facilitate the healing process. It works well for:

  • Flexor tendonitis (soreness at the base of the finger on the palm side)

  • Complete A2 or A4 pulley injuries (acute and chronic)

  • Partial A2 or A4 pulley injuries

  • Returning to activity after a pulley reconstruction surgery

How does the S.P.Ort work?

The S.P.Ort is designed to support the A2 or A4 pulleys as these are the most important pulleys, and the ones that climbers most frequently injure.  As you can see, in these X-rays, (with the SPOrts in place), and in the corresponding diagrams, they are in the correct location to support these critical structures.

The A2 S.P.Ort reinforces the A2 and C1 pulleys.

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The A4 S.P.Ort reinforces the A4 and C2 pulleys.

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The A4 S.P.Ort reinforces the A4 and C2 pulleys.

The Importance of Taping Your S.P.Ort

After an acute pulley injury, with the S.P.Ort on the finger but not taped in place, the tendon-phalanx distance (*TPD-a measure of pulley compromise) is increased.

Figure 1: Cross-section of a finger with an untaped S.P.Ort

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If tape is applied as directed closing down the S.P.Ort, the TPD is decreased and the flexor tendons are reduced back to the finger bone, (phalanx).

Figure 2: Cross-section of a finger with a properly taped S.P.Ort

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Disclaimer

Any serious injury to a finger should be evaluated by a medical professional with knowledge of hand injuries in climbers. Ultrasound evaluations and in some cases MRI scans may be useful to guide treatment. In severe cases, surgery might be needed.


If you decide to treat yourself with a S.P.Ort for an acute injury, without seeking medical advice, you do so at your own risk.

The S.P.Ort is not designed for use in finger-crack climbing nor to allow an acutely injured climber to continue to climb or train without giving their body sufficient time to heal the pulley and then gradually strengthen it.

Using the S.P.Ort for a chronic injury to support a sore finger or stretched out pulley to alleviate soreness and tendonitis is safe, as long as it is not taped too tightly.

The S.P.Ort must be taped securely in place to be effective.

Who can benefit from the S.P.Ort?

Climbers with acute (complete or partial) tears of an A2 or A4 pulley, as well as climbers with a chronic pulley injury can benefit from using our S.P.Ort splint. We have developed instructions detailing both an Acute Pulley Injury Protocol and a Chronic Pulley Injury Protocol, which are included in your S.P.Ort kit.

Climbers experiencing a chronic pulley injury should wear the S.P.Ort whenever they train or climb.
The rigidity of a properly taped S.P.Ort will help support the pulley and flexor tendons while training and minimize the amount the pulley can stretch. Using the splint can facilitate less finger soreness after activities. Note: The splint may interfere with some holds (e.g. slopers and pinches) and is not intended for use while crack climbing.

The S.P.Ort was initially designed to allow for the non-operative treatment of complete A2 pulley ruptures - to optimize healing in as close to an anatomic condition as possible and protect the pulley as the climber returns to climbing.

The S.P.Ort also works well for partial injuries of the A2 or the A4 pulley which we identify commonly in climbers with ultrasound or MRI. Interestingly after a finger injury climbing, which may be associated with a popping sound and tenderness at the base of the finger, or over the middle phalanx, the soreness abates in a few weeks, and the climber may feel like he or she is healing up.  However, without protection of the injured pulley, returning to climbing or hard use of the hand can lead to further injury or simply healing of the pulley in a stretched-out position. For an example, see the ultrasound pictures of my pulley rupture on the Meet the Climbing Doc page. The S.P.Ort works really well for these partial injuries.

Many climbers have sore fingers after climbing. This is likely due to sustained pulley injuries over the years, treated to the best of their ability, but the pulleys have healed up in a stretched-out condition. This allows increased strain on the remaining pulleys and can lead to tendonitis in the flexor tendons. Many climbers at all levels have benefited from wearing the S.P.Ort for a period of time, to allow the inflammation to resolve, and to return to training and climbing more quickly.

It bears repeating however, that while rest is a four-letter word to many hardcore training fiends, and most climbers to some degree, if your fingers are hurting while you are climbing (from an acute pulley or tendon injury) you probably shouldn’t be climbing.

 

The S.P.Ort works well for:

  • Flexor tendonitis (soreness at the base of the finger on the palm side)

  • Complete A2 or A4 pulley injuries (acute and chronic)

  • Partial A2 or A4 pulley injuries

  • Returning to activity after a pulley reconstruction surgery

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Climber Beta

With the support of the SPOrt, my injury was able to heal fully WHILE STILL CLIMBING.
I'd definitely recommend Dr. Warme's SPOrt to others also suffering from finger injuries.

Jake H

Try it Out

Our custom S.P.Ort™ (Semilunar Pulley Orthosis) supports A2 and A4 pulleys after injury and aids the healing process.