Skincare For Climbers: Tape Your Fingers
Finger tape is used in two main ways by climbers: to protect the finger skin and to support the finger after a tendon injury. Protecting your finger skin is pretty straightforward: apply a bit of tape in areas that are getting thin or are starting to tear. Adding a little tape can often buy you a couple more attempts on your climb.
The second use, as a way to support your finger tendons after a pulley injury, is a little more controversial. Recent research shows almost no improvement in strength between a taped and untaped finger, especially with ring-form taping. If you are going to tape for support, we recommend keeping a couple of things in mind.
Firstly, use the right kind of tape. You want the non-stretchy type of tape that sticks to your fingers and not just itself. Secondly, use either 8-taping or the H-method if improved support is your goal. These are the only methods that have shown some effect in research. Thirdly, think twice before you tape: are you using it as a crutch when in reality you should be resting?
Active recovery after an injury is all the rage these days. And in a scenario of high-volume, low-intensity climbing to maintain fitness, a bit of tape support can help, even if only as a visual reminder to pull a little less hard on your taped fingers.