Injuries: What Goes Around Comes Around by Gerard Rull & Kike Morales September 17 2016, 0 Comments

What goes around comes around

By Gerard Rull & Kike Molares

9a to 5a: A long time injury that got me under-performing for more than a year.

A few days after competing at Briançon’s World Cup in 2012, something inside my hand popped while doing a route outdoors. I found out later I had partially torn the A2 pulley of my left ring finger.

After that, things seemed to go back to normal until April 2015. Back then, I was projecting an 8c, and just two quickdraws before the anchor, I noticed that my finger couldn’t fit into a two finger pocket. Surprised, I looked to my left hand, and noticed that my finger was completely swollen and blue. 

Back home, I chatted with my friend Edu Marin for advice and decided to spend the whole summer resting and come back to climbing in September. A tough but sensible decision to make, but only realising that with time.

In December 2015, and after three months of training – realising what it means to have the patience to deal with injuries – I  came back to what I thought it was ‘good shape.' The finger was still hurting, though, and that wasn’t normal at all. Of course, during this three months of training I went to the physiotherapist, stretched, and took good care of it. And that made the pain even more unexpected and awkward.


I climbed through the pain until June 2016, because it was supposed to be all fine, although I knew it wasn’t.

On April 2016, during the 3RD ROCK photo-shoot in Siurana, even feeling something weird still, I was feeling ‘good.' I fell on top of La Rambla (again), and managed to flash an 8b a week before.

But then things got messy. I went to the doctor, I did an ultrasound scan and an MRI. Everything looked fine, they told me once more. But the pain was there, so I decided to have surgery to investigate the remote possibility they suggested – something like a lax pulley interfering with the tendon.


The surgeon told me that he would open my finger from the top and check it while he opens it, to see if something was wrong and sure it was! When they arrived where the A2 pulley was supposed to be, well… they noticed that there wasn’t a pulley at all! 



The tendon had gotten stuck to the bone, and this is why everything seemed normal. Obviously, for this to happen, the tendon needs time – and you will feel a lot of pain, especially when crimping at Siurana.

They implanted a new pulley, and… wish me well. Hopefully it will be fine.

Now in September 2016, I’m already going through the first steps of recovery at Hand Therapy, Barcelona. There Doctor Vicenç Punçola – a very well known specialist at the climbing community – is helping me recover my hand mobility and get my finger back to normal.

My plans

It’s easy and complicated at the same time to speak about my plans right now. 

Easy because La Rambla is all I can think about: I want to do this route so badly. I know I’m will do it. I need to do it.

It's complicated because my finger is healing slowly. And it has to be like that. Slow means going back to doing 5a, and that’s going to happen in November. That’s how slow it’s going to be.

I've been thinking about committing myself to a hardcore physical conditioning program, but after chatting with another good friend and coach, Patxi Usobiaga, he discouraged me to do it.  He said, 'If you are in shape, you will push yourself too hard when you come back to climbing. It’s better to build the physical condition while you’re already climbing,' and he’s right.

Now it's time to take things slow, to build the most powerful of all the climbing skills: self-confidence, the belief in ones capabilities, and the commitment to one’s goals, whatever they take… even if it’s resting. I know I’m going to come back strong, I know how it's going to feel when I clip La Rambla’s chains. This feeling is in my gut already.

I realized that my style changed after the injury, I was climbing more static, adapting myself to a finger that was obviously badly injured. But now my dynamism is going to come back, and I'll feel more ready than ever. A muerte!

My advice?

If I have to think about any advice, it would be that you need to listen to your body: sensations are a good measure of how everything is doing inside.

At the same time... I felt in this case I followed my feelings. But when I checked them and shared them with specialist, they just didn't figure out what it was until they opened my finger. It's always good to see someone for another opinion.

P.S: I want to use this post to thank all my sponsors (3RD ROCK, Scarpa, and Beal) and people supporting me too. Thank you very much to Alice and all the 3RD ROCK team. We can undergo the training alone, but projects – and many other things in life, would be impossible without their support.