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I've been climbing off and on since I was a teenager, but one thing I've never done much of is taping my hands. As I gained more experience, it's value is now apparent.

What are some good techniques for taping fingers, hands, and wrists for different types of climbing, and how does each tape job achieve it's purpose? What type of tape is recommended or not recommended?

For example: I'm having intermittent wrist pain. How can I supportively tape it, yet not restrict it too much, and also not completely cover the palm.

Answers may relate to injury prevention or support, or just general protection of the fingers, hands, or wrist. Please be as descriptive as possible and pictures and/or videos are preferred in any explanations. Personal experience on effectiveness and tips with these tape jobs is also welcome and preferred.

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Are you starting to experience a specific problem in your climbing? More pain in your fingers or finger pulleys? Wrist problems? Are you getting into crack climbing and hand jamming, where you would need a tape glove to protect the skin on the backs of your hands? – DavidR Jan 11 '13 at 17:40
Well I was actually asking this way because I didn't want to ask a question that was too specific so that it could be helpful to a larger range of people. Maybe I should be more specific and ask separate questions for different tape jobs/methods/body parts? ...But I do have intermittent wrist pain that seems likely to be tendinitis. I know how to tape a wrist (and other joints), but not any effective techniques for climbing. The method(s) I know are too restrictive for climbing and cover the palm, which is no good. – manoftheson Jan 12 '13 at 8:32
Gotcha. I just wanted to make sure that if you had a particular problem, that it got addressed. FWIW, I don't know of a taping pattern that would address wrist pain in climbing, although one may exist. – DavidR Jan 13 '13 at 20:49
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I am only familiar with a couple but I wouldn't be surprised if there are many more for certain injuries or specific applications (e.g. ankle taping for off-widths).

Crack climbing

For crack climbing "tape gloves" are very helpful in keeping the thin skin on the backs of your hands and knuckles from getting torn up. There are several slightly different methods and a search should bring up plenty of results, but here are a couple:

enter image description here

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Finger "pulley" protection

Many people tape fingers with the idea of protecting the ligament "pulleys" of the finger flexor tendons, usually following an injury. I have read in several sources that this is ineffective, at least so far as in actually supporting the ligament, because it would have to be damagingly tight to work as people suppose it does. This page, also from, suggests that it may serve to limit (bad) motion or simply remind that an injury exists:

Tape and Other Catastrophes

If you are still curious about the finger taping methods see:

Avoid Finger Blowouts

enter image description here

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This is great! I'm going to leave it open for a bit so we can hopefully get more great contributions. – manoftheson Jan 13 '13 at 20:10
@manoftheson I'm glad it helps and I agree with not Accepting too soon. – Mr.Wizard Jan 14 '13 at 0:30
@manoftheson Now that it's been two weeks and there are no better answer, perhaps you'll consider the Accept? – Mr.Wizard Jan 26 '13 at 7:15
Your answer is great, but as you say, you're only familiar with a couple of methods, so I'm looking to see if we can get some more contribitions. I've been tempted to hit "Accept" a few times already, but I'm thinking accepting now may inhibit that. I'm going to edit the question to see if that helps get more input. – manoftheson Jan 26 '13 at 18:59
@theJollySin I've had the same problem and yet I have no solution other than shaving your wrists. :-p The backs of the hands can be done by putting tape sticky side to sticky side but you still have to tape these on somehow. I suppose you could put something under the tape but I fear the tape would have to be very tight to keep from sliding up your hand. Maybe you could get away with Coban™ over clean skin, under the tape, but I haven't tried. – Mr.Wizard Jan 29 '13 at 19:32

One case of taping I personally know to be effective has not yet been addressed. A typical injury in climbing is a lumbrical tear in the most severe case. More likely than a full tear is a strain, which does not even have to involve holding a one finger pocket. A typical symptom is a pronounced pain when load is only applied to some fingers (e.g. only index and middle finger) and much less pronounced when applied to all fingers. In this case it is very effective to tape those fingers together (usually middle and ring finger). The effect of the tape is not so much to stabilize tendons, but to make sure that you cannot use one of these fingers individually. Until I realized that this was my problem the pain came back repeatedly due to holding something the wrong way, after taping this way it (obviously) did not happen anymore and the pain receded permanently (give it time!).

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This covers the details of taping a wrist after an injury:

Basically you want to wrap strech bandage around the area first then add support to it using wide athletic/physio tape. If you still want to climb on it (if it's injured you may want to consider resting it to prevent further injury) make sure you allow good movement of your fingers and thumb.

enter image description here

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Is there a way you could achieve similar support for the wrist without entirely covering the palm? I haven't come up with anything myself. – manoftheson Nov 10 '14 at 22:54

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