Injuries to the finger flexor pulley system in rock climbers: current concepts

J Hand Surg Am. 2006 Apr;31(4):647-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2006.02.011.


Closed traumatic ruptures of finger flexor tendon pulleys began to be recognized specifically over the past several decades. This injury, although rare in the general population, is seen more commonly in rock climbers. This article analyzes this type of injury and the current diagnostic and therapeutic criteria. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging are used to differentiate between a pulley strain, partial rupture, complete rupture, or multiple ruptures. Grade I to III injuries (strains, partial rupture, single ruptures) are treated conservatively with initial immobilization and early functional therapy under pulley protection. Grade IV injuries (multiple ruptures) require surgical repair.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Finger Injuries / classification
  • Finger Injuries / diagnosis
  • Finger Injuries / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immobilization
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mountaineering / injuries*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Rupture / diagnosis
  • Rupture / therapy
  • Tendon Injuries* / classification
  • Tendon Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Tendon Injuries* / therapy*
  • Tendons / surgery
  • Ultrasonography