As a gymnast, you put your hands under a lot of strain. Rips are a common occurrence in gymnastics. When a rip occurs, several layers of skin are removed from the palm or wrist area. Using equipment such as high bar, uneven bars, rings, or parallel bars creates friction against your hands’ sensitive skin. This results in a buildup of skin which eventually ‘rips off’.
Rips are painful and a hindrance for any gymnast, regardless of level. So what can you do to prevent rips? And once you get a rip, how do you properly care for it? Here are some helpful tips:
Preventing a Rip Take care of your hands even before a rip happens.The key to good hand maintenance is keeping your hands clean and moisturized. Use a gentle soap to wash your hands before and after every training. Don’t forget to apply a moisturizing product, like a lotion or balm. Moisturize every night before you go to bed.
If calluses are a problem, use a pumice stone or other alternative products.Using a pumice stone reduces the buildup of calluses. Rubbing a pumice stone on callused areas also keeps your skin’s softness and toughness balanced. However, be gentle and don’t overuse this method.
Use chalk or grips.Chalk — Apply small amounts of chalk on your hands to keep them dry. Applying chalk also helps you grip equipment better. Remember to use chalk moderately as you might create more friction by applying too much chalk.
Grips — Grips provide an additional layer of material to protect your hands from bars. It might take some time for you to get used to wearing grips but they’ll be extremely helpful. Do note that, like chalk, grips can also cause friction against skin that might result in a rip.
Treating and Caring For Rips
Wash it properly.
We know what you’re thinking: that’s painful! But the first thing to do when a rip occurs is to clean it well to prevent bacterial infection. Wash it off with warm water and soap.
Take off excess skin.If the skin has already been torn in one direction, it’s going to rip further. Use sterilized scissors to snip away excess skin. A word of caution: if you’re unsure of where to cut off skin, seek professional help.
Keep the rip moist.Keeping the wound moist helps the rip heal faster and minimize pain. Apply an antibiotic ointment or fragrance-free lotion to protect skin from further damage. Choose products without additional ingredients.
Allow your hands to rest.Your hands just took a beating. Avoid situations where you’ll put your hands under strain. Take a rest and let your rip fully heal.
There’s no denying that rips are a painful part of gymnastics. But knowing how to prevent and care for them will contribute greatly to your success and well-being!