People who train in jiu jitsu, MMA, wrestling, rock climbing, basketball and other sports regularly are almost certain to have problems with their finger joints at some point in time. Although you can take time off to let them heal, many of us aggravate the problems in our fingers because we would rather keep training. Taping your fingers will provide you with support for recovery as you continue to train. Let’s take an in-depth in two methods of how to tape your fingers most effectively.
Tape Your Fingers using the X method
This method of taping fingers allows the practitioner to provide support to their finger while maintaining a good degree of flexibility to continue training. This method is far superior to just wrapping your finger in tape in one spot at a time because it is more durable to the rigors of training and less likely to fall off.
Your fingers are controlled by a set of pulleys as shown in the image above. Finger tape should be applied multiple times (2-4) around the lower pulley and crossed diagonally to the upper finger pulley where the tape will wrap around the upper pulley multiple times. After wrapping the upper pulley, finish the “X” design by crossing the tape back down and wrap the bottom pulley a few more times. You can wrap the finger more numerous times to provide a longer lasting support to your finger joints. Additionally, you can also apply more tension to increase the amount of support to your finger but too much tension can cut the circulation of blood off in your fingers.
I highly recommend taping your fingers in the X method if your joints are aching and throbbing but not severely sprained.
Buddy Taping your Fingers
This way of taping your fingers is best for severely sprained fingers or injured toes.
Buddy Finger Taping applies tape that hinders the flexibility of your fingers but provides a great deal of support to prevent further injury from occurring. Again, you’re going to want to tape right over the pulleys in your fingers but this time you’re going to apply the tape so that your injured finger is also taped to the adjacent finger. This insures that your finger will not bend during practice which greatly reduces the stress on your fingers. You can use finger tape to just wrap around both fingers or if you face the problem with the buddy tape falling off, you can use the X Taping method to bind both of your fingers together to achieve a more durable but same effect.
Strategies to Training with Injured Fingers
If you’re going to train with injured fingers there are a number of ways to help the recovery of your fingers.
1. Apply a good finger tape to your fingers using one of the finger taping methods above to provide them with support. Check out Tape Armor finger tape (www.tapeyourfingers.com). It is designed and cut for athletes’ fingers.
2. If you’re a BJJ practitioner, try not to death grip your opponent’s gi. If they are trying to break the grip, let it go, and just re-establish the grip when they come back.
3. Adjust your game to be less reliant on the grips while your fingers are injured. Spider guard is a position that will greatly increase the stress on your fingers. If your finger joints are swollen or suffering from chronic aching, try to work your butterfly guard or other styles of guards that rely less on the grip until your fingers are feeling better.
4. Utilize the pistol grip to save your fingers during training rather than the standard four-finger grip.
5. Ibuprofen can reduce temporary swelling but it will not help your fingers’ recovery in the long run.
I hope this article was useful and helpful in maintaining the health and longevity of your fingers. Feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment on this blog if you have any questions.