As a CrossFitter, you repeatedly put stress on your hands with all of the lifting, pulling, swinging and climbing that you do. Here is a complete guide on how to take care of your most valuable assets – your hands.
Callus: “an area of skin that is hard or thick, especially on the palm of the hand or sole of the foot, as from continual friction or pressure.”
Reacting to a Tear
So you just repped out 100 pull-ups – high five! Wait… your hand is bloodied, ripped and blistered after you just completed your workout. What do you do next?
- As soon as you get a blister or tear on your hand, the first thing you should do is remove the remainder of the skin that is loose around the injured area. You can use nail clippers to do this, gently clipping at the remaining skin right where it attaches to your palm.
- Next, thoroughly clean and disinfect your poor blistered hands. This is very important. You do not want to get an infection from this, which can happen very easily considering how many of us touch the bars and pull-up bars everyday. Clean, clean, clean. Bactine is a very good cleaning solution in conjunction with soap and water.
- After your hands are cleaned and dried, apply some Neosporin, A&D Ointment, Eucerin or Vaseline to help with the healing and the pain.
- Cover your blister with a sterile bandage for the next 1-2 nights while asleep.
- After you have covered it at night for 24-36 hours, keep the area cleaned and air it out. Let it get lots of air. It should feel better and be healed shortly. If you don’t want to leave your blister exposed, blister pads are also great. They keep bacteria out, while letting enough air in for the skin to heal.
Maintenance to Prevent Tears
Calluses form after repeated damage is done to the skin. After a blood vessel breaks in the skin, a layer of dead skin forms over the area. Calluses are not a bad thing as long as they are not excessive. Over time, your hands form their own “gloves” from thick skin so that they are less likely to tear. Your tissue tolerance will become strong over time as well as your grip strength BUT, in the meantime, you don’t want your calluses to be too thick or too thin. Blisters and hand tears happen when your calluses are too built up with too much excess skin, that any friction against them will cause the skin to rip open. Here’s how to prevent these nasty little tears from happening:
- You want to shave or file the callus to where it is flat, in line with the rest of your palm. Use one of the following tools to shave down the extra built up skin after showering or soaking your hands. All of these tools work perfectly, find what works for you.
- Pumice Stone
- Double edged callus razor
- Cheap, disposable razor without any gel strips
- Nail file
- Ped Egg
Gymnastics Grips Made from Tape
Tearing your hand hurts and can take several days to recover from. Here is another preventative method that can be very helpful when you come across a workout that you think you might rip your hands on. “Tape Gloves” which resemble that of gymnastics grips.
Go to THIS VIDEO to see how to make this handy dandy tape grip.
That’s about it! If you want to read a couple of journal articles related to hand care see these links below:
For how to avoid busting up your hands with a minimum of effort and no fancy gear, gloves or tape:
Why you need to keep your hands clean after you get a blister: