Prior to starting CrossFit, you probably had “normal” hands. Hands that were nice and soft. Now that you’ve been doing CrossFit you might have noticed your hands getting rougher, developing calluses or maybe you’ve experienced a rip or it bothers your hands when you hold onto the bar for an extended period of time.
While we might be in love with fitness, none of us are in love with ripped hands.
On top of wearing hand protection (we’ll get into that in a little bit), the best treatment for hand care is prevention.
Here are 5 tips on hand care for CrossFitters:
1. File or shave down any built up calluses.
Calluses are good. They are natural padding that our body creates in response to overuse/friction. What’s bad is when our calluses are built up too much.
Using a pumice stone or a razor (not a fan of the razor as sometimes you could go too deep) can help keep calluses under control. There are even special tools like a sandbar or w.o.d. welder that can file down built up calluses.
File until the skin is smooth and consistent
2. Use moisturizer
As CrossFitters we enjoy using chalk. Chalk helps improve our grip but also dries out our hands. The moisturizer also helps prevent our calluses from hardening. It’s best to moisturize the night before or a few hours before a workout.
3. Get hand protection.
Using grips provide a second layer of protection and provides a better sense of comfort for your palms.
When selecting your grips, you don’t want a tight fit. You want the grips to be a little bit longer than your palm. And depending on which type of grips you get, we recommend using wristbands as sometimes the straps on the grips might bother your wrists.
Some of our favorites are JerkFit raw grips, Bear Komplex 3 hole (they also make a 2 hole variety for those of you with small hands), WOD&Done (single use tape), and Wodies.
4. When you do rip your hands, treat it as an injury.
Wash your rip with soap and water. Cut off the ripped skin as close to the rip as possible (cuticle clippers or even nail clippers work well for this). Left over skin can sometimes cause another rip so we want to get as much off as possible.
Once it’s clean and the excess skin is cut off, use a topical antibiotic like Neosporin. Then keep it covered with a Band-Aid or gauze and medical tape.
There are also other topical ointments such as Ripfix, DocSpartan and Sandbar Salve.
These options are also great for keeping your calluses moisturized when you don’t have a rip.
A good recommendation is to sleep with your rip hand in a sock that way it allows your wound to breathe and prevents the ointment from getting on your sheets.
5. Modify movements and tape up wound.
You can still workout with a ripped hand but you will have to modify movements to allow your rip to heal. So ask your coach for recommendations.
You also want to tape up your wound and use your grips for an extra layer of protection. If you take care of your wound, you should be back to doing pull ups and toes to bar in less than a week.