Hand Maintenance

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How to prevent tears (Callus Management)

There are several ways to keep the hands from developing blisters and tears. First, if your hands are soft, thin-skinned, or generally unconditioned, you must slowly and gradually build up your calluses to meet the demands of your exercise. Don’t overdo your hand-intensive exercise while you’re building up the thickness and toughness of the skin, or you’ll just keep ripping your hands and not have a chance to develop good healthy protective calluses.

Once you’ve developed a tough and thick skin on your hands, it’s important to maintain the quality of the skin by keeping the surface well groomed. This means simply that the overall thickness of the skin on the hand surface is consistent throughout and the surface is smooth. Otherwise, over time, the calluses will have a tendency to get thicker in certain areas of the hand and not in others. You will develop “ridges” of thick skin that will eventually lead to a tearing of the skin.

What I like my athletes to do to try to prevent the hands from ripping in the future is to actually shave the calluses down to a level that maintains a relatively thick yet consistent depth of skin throughout the hand. Ideally, your entire palm surface should be one thick callus with no bumps or ridges in any one
particular area. In order to do this, groom your hands always after a hot shower or bath (this allows the calluses to swell up).

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While the calluses are still “swollen,” I take a foot shaver or pumic stone and carefully shave the dead callus bumps down a little at a time until the bumps are about even with the thickness of the rest of the hand.  Remember, whenever you groom or shave your calluses, don’t overdo it, since you don’t want to go too deep into your skin. Always leave enough thick skin so to facilitate your workout the following day. The goal is to maintain an even and consistent thickness of hard skin throughout the entire palm. My personal favourite is the Ped Egg


Courtesy of CrossFit Journal

What to do when you tear?

If you do manage to tear your hands you must properly take care of it to prevent infection and speed healing. 

1- Clean your wound
2- Cut off any excess skin
3- Soak it in a salt solution nightly. 10 minutes a day should be enough
4- Keep it covered. Use a band-aid, and during training use gloves or tape
5- If you want to speed up the healing a bit, thoroughly cover your hands in vaseline and wear a pair of cotton gloves or a sock on your hand when you sleep.      

            Coach Everett


Crossfit Bytown