Hand Care 101: Treating Rips

Any amount of extended work on the pull-up bar can wreak havoc on your palms. High repetitions of things like pull-ups, toes-to-bar, and bar muscle-ups (sound familiar? They’ve been featured in each of the first three weeks of the Open!) can cause the sensitive skin on your palms to get rough, and, in the worst scenario, rip open. Rips are not only painful and unattractive, but can be a huge hinderance on further training for days and even weeks to come if not treated properly.

As with many things, prevention is the best medicine — but even those who take great care of their hands can still rip, so knowing what to do in those instances is important. We want to make sure you all understand the most effective course of treatment so you can get healed and back to training ASAP. We’ll talk prevention in another post, so stay tuned!

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Treating a Rip:

  1. Wash the wound as soon as possible, with cool water with soap. In addition to any blood, you need to get all the bar grime and chalk out of it, so take time here. Yes, it will likely sting. But it will hurt a LOT more if it gets infected, so tough it out!
  2. If there is a flap of skin hanging off of it, cut it off carefully (do NOT pull it). And do NOT listen to anyone that tells you to super-glue it back on – that is crazy talk. That skin is dead, it wants to come off, take it off.
  3. Apply a medicated, blister-specific bandage like the ones shown above and leave it on for several days. Alternatively, you can apply an antibacterial ointment like Neosporin and apply a regular bandaid on top; then, after a day or two, you can apply the contents of a Vitamin E capsule in place of the antibacterial. This stuff is like a secret miracle when it comes to healing the skin!
  4. The general idea in treating the rip is to keep it clean, medicated, moist, and protected for several days. Use additional bandages or sports tape if necessary to keep the bandage secured while at the gym.
  5. It may still be painful for the first couple of days, but remember that we can always help you modify any movements requiring your grip, so don’t let your hand rip deter you from keeping up with your training! If you follow the steps above, you should be able to use your hands again as normal within several days.
Categories: WOD

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