I have always struggled with listening to my body and knowing when to hold back from climbing hard, rest completely or push though. I am a very determined person and have a hard time not focusing my attention on what I love--climbing. With most of my injuries I have pushed through--I have been lucky using this tactic in some situations and in others, like my shoulder, I believe I prolonged recovery.
As I have gotten stronger and pushed harder (and inevitably gotten older) I have felt more twinges and tweaks especially in my fingers. Like other injuries, one of the biggest questions with fingers that has gone through my head more than I like is--it hurts a bit--should I climb or rest? Last summer I choose to climb through which this time turned out to be a bad idea. I felt tired and worked, my finger hurt a little but I wanted to climb and it was my day to climb according to my climbing/training schedule. The backfire was big and loud as my finger made a heinous popping sound. Acupuncture, arnica and rest was the program I was on--I just wished I choose rest before preventing the injury--hindsight. I eased back into climbing three weeks later and months after I was completely healed. While resting--active rest is absolutely part of the program--during these three weeks of resting from bouldering I did thousands of pull ups on jugs (immobilizing the injured finger), many runs and hikes including a 24 mile hike where I found a new boulder field, tons of abs and anything else I could do to stay fit and not lose muscle.
I have moved on from that injury yet my finger problems are not over. I am still plagued by a nagging knuckle that swells up and hurts. Recently, Metolius just sent me a package of my favorite chalk (I am a proud member of team Super Chalk)! In this package was some of their Crimp Oil. I have heard of this but have never used it. My knuckle was swollen after a climbing session, the Crimp Oil was sitting there -- I might as well try it, I thought, it can't hurt. Keep in mind that this is not a magic cure but I was amazed by how much it really helped the inflammation and movement almost immediately!
Because of the knowledge I have slowly gained as I have struggled through my stubbornness and have not listened to my body I wanted to share some unsolicited advice. I understand it is hard to rest but give yourself a break and listen to your body. A few days of rest is better than the alternative--being injured and resting for months. So when you are questioning whether you should push through it is better to err on the side of caution and rest when you are tired or if something hurts. And if you have pushed too far which is hard not to do in the sport of bouldering -- Crimp Oil helps--it really reduces pain and swelling in muscles, tendons and joints! Here is to happy healthy climbing!