Pulley Sprain Introduction:
Dr. Jared Vagy DPT, author of the best selling book Climb Injury-Free and Dr. Matt DeStefano DPT teamed up to teach medical practitioners how to make pulley protection splints with the help of three time youth national champion Ross Fulkerson. A PPS is an effective treatment for acute grade II or III pulley ruptures since it approximates the flexor tendons to the bone, as in holds them closer, to take stress off the injured pulley. A study by Dr. Andreas Schweizer and Micha Schneeberger, published in the Journal of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, evaluated the effectiveness of using a PPS after grade III complete pulley ruptures in rock climbers. The results showed almost 90 percent of the climbers who wore the splint returned to their previous climbing level after approximately eight months.
While you’re likely familiar with taping, a PPS differs in design and function. With tape, it’s difficult to achieve enough force to significantly change bone-tendon distance because it would cut off your circulation, especially if you wear it all day. The PPS, however, includes collateral bulges on the sides of the ring. These allow strong compression of the finger while giving adequate space to protect the nerves, arteries, and veins from being compressed. Additionally, it’s made from moldable plastic, which is more rigid than tape. Thus, it can be applied for longer durations with better compression. Medical experts recommend you wear this splint throughout the day (23-plus hours) for six to eight weeks to take stress off the injured pulley and allow it to adequately heal.