Body maintenance is a secret to longevity in sports and athletics.
We see an example in LeBron James, who is arguably one of the best players ever to play basketball. LeBron splashes sizable amounts of cash on his fitness and health maintenance to remain in top shape and at an elite competitive level year in and year out.
Indeed, this has yielded results. He has spent 18 years in the NBA and is still strong, with more records to break in sight.
With CrossFit, the story is no different. For longevity and to stay in top, competitive, healthy shape, you have to assume a great responsibility in maintaining your body—especially your hands. This is because they bear most of the heavy work. This article highlights major hand problems usually encountered by CrossFit athletes and some ways to alleviate these concerns.
Calluses are thickened layers of skin that overlie body surfaces frequently exposed to friction and pressure. Usually, these body parts are your palms/fingers, your heel, and the ball of your feet.
Calluses are often described as similar to corns. However, they are markedly different upon further inspection. Corns are typically smaller, often painful compared to calluses, and usually found in spots between the toes or on top of them.
Why are calluses very common among CrossFit athletes?
CrossFit involves high-intensity functional movements, especially in strength exercises such as weightlifting, that can traumatize your fingers. As an amateur athlete, you may even see them a few days after you dabble into CrossFit. However, they are hardly troublesome in their wake. Why?
They are usually not painful and do not harm your health, making many people ignore them—although they might be a bit annoying and unappealing to see. Some athletes even tend to parade them as "signs of hard work" because it proves they have consistently invested time in exercising.
However, they are signs that your hands might need a break. With time and negligence, small, seemingly harmless calluses could evolve into sites of infections (when they crack) or become so protruded that they affect the normal functioning of your fingers. In other words, they could adversely affect your performance in CrossFit exercises.
Blisters are also quite common.
Apart from the fact that they are body responses to mechanical forces like calluses, they are markedly different from them. Blisters are painful, fluid-filled skin. They are also usually set off by more intense pressure and shorter duration than calluses.
Usually, blisters could deteriorate into painful hand rips that could adversely affect your performance or even keep you out of action for a while. Therefore, they are worth looking out for as well.
Adopting the wrong techniques or even wrongly executing the right ones for different exercise regimens can cause hand problems.
Generally, there are about four types of grips. They include the Overhand Grip, Supinated Grip, Alternated Grip, and Hooked Grip. Many CrossFit athletes typically use the Hooked Grip for Olympic lifts. The hook grip typically involves:
While this produces remarkable results when rightly executed, it takes a sizable toll on your thumb. When you wrongly execute it, the toll is much worse.
When you wear protective materials such as gloves or tapes on your hands during weightlifting, they directly receive the abrasion and pressure in place of your skin. Thus, your skin is spared the brunt of the mechanical stress of your exercise regimens—or most of it.
Many brands of protective material, especially tape, are on the market with subtle differences in their makeup. As a result, it might be difficult for you to sift through them to cherry-pick the ideal ones. Here are the defining features of ideal protective materials that may come in handy during purchase:
When your skin is dry and flaky, there is a higher chance of suffering from trauma and friction. Why? Because hydration is a protective mechanism against trauma! When there is no hydration, the hands are even more at the mercy of trauma and abrasive forces. This consequently spikes the chances of getting calluses.
Routinely moisturize, especially if your skin has the propensity to be drier than usual. The hydration that ensues produces remarkable results.
Deal With Calluses As Soon As You Spot Them—And Effectively Too!
It is best to keep an eye out for these calluses, no matter how uneventful their appearance may seem. The earlier you spot them, the easier it is to prevent complications. Nonetheless, when calluses appear, here are some methods of alleviating and managing them.
First off, upon inspection, you could file them down, especially the "sharp" edges of these protrusions on your palm. To avoid further irritation and achieve the best results, you should do so after they have been washed/exposed to water, perhaps after you have taken a bath.
Experts recommend using a pumice stone to pull this off; however, when using pumice stones, you have to ensure that you do not take off much skin. It could cause bleeding.
Also, you could resort to dealing with them chemically. Callus-Removing Gels or ointments/balms are valid options to remove hardened skin and make your skin look and feel better.
Take Regular Breaks
Sometimes, the most logical and result-yielding decision you could make in the care of your hands is to take a break when necessary. A moment away from the frenzy of CrossFit exercises and the thick of its high intensity gives your hands time to recover from injuries sustained during training. This is even more important when you have sustained troublesome hand rips or torn calluses that threaten your performance.
Tape Your Blistered or Callused Fingers When You Sustain Injuries.
As much as care is ideally meant to be prevention-oriented, corrective measures like wearing protective tapes are an option, especially if you sustained a tear or rupture of these calluses. Why? It prevents them from getting worse by covering them up and holding them in place. It also prevents them from interfering with your exercises.
When you properly tape up torn calluses, you can continue to lift with little or no impediment to your performance. The story is the same with blisters. Tapes can serve as a temporary fix in these two scenarios.
Chalk Your Fingers:
Chalking soaks up the moisture on your hand and prevents slips. Many resort to covering their fingers with chalk instead of tape to prevent their hands from getting sweaty and causing injuries that may be more debilitating than calluses.
Chalks are often adequate to a degree, but with excessive use comes the downside of hand dryness and skin irritation, and cracks if you use them too much. You could deal with this problem by regularly moisturizing.
Of all the preventive and corrective measures for hand care in CrossFit, the use of tapes stands out for the right reasons! It does not matter if you are a veteran athlete seeking to be more intentional about hand care or an amateur enthusiast seeking to embark on the CrossFit journey today. Our 0.3" × 45' (8 Pack) Kinesiology Sports Tape is tailored to meet your needs. Longing for longevity and consistent top performance in your CrossFit endeavors?
Visit our collection page to browse our catalogue and book an order today!