Proper Grip on Pole

by Mel

I just bought my new X-Pole and I had only practiced a few times when my middle finger started hurting.

I noticed it looked a bit swollen as well. It doesn't hurt a lot but when i bend it, that's when it hurts a bit.

I am not sure if maybe it had to do with me not griping the pole right??

Susan from PDFF says...

Sorry to hear about your injury Mel. While it might sound insignificant to regular folks, a finger injury can be a real downer for us pole dancers!

From what you describe, you may have sprained the joint in your finger. Of course, I'm not a doctor and I can't see what you've done, but that would be my guess. It's a fairly common injury, and usually not serious, but you may need to take a bit of time away from your pole to let it heal properly.

Improper grip technique isn't likely to be the cause of your pain, given that you're just new to the pole and probably have only been using one or two basic grips.

The more likely cause is just that your hands aren't used to gripping the pole at all. Many people are surprised to learn how much grip strength is involved in pole dancing!

Remember, you do have muscles, tendons and ligaments in your hands and fingers, just like in the rest of your body. And while muscles adapt relatively quickly to any increased demand we place on them, the connective tissues in the joints and near the bones are not as responsive, and so take longer to adapt.

Think of it this way...most people understand that if you've never run for fitness and you decide you want to start jogging, it's wise to start gradually so you don't injure yourself. That's because "too much, too soon" can cause fairly serious injuries when the enthusiastic new runner puts too much stress on these connective tissues and doesn't give them time to adapt.

The thing is, we tend to take our hands for granted! They are a major factor in the sport of pole dancing, so if you haven't used your hands for similar motions (like gymnastics or even golf or racquet sports) then you may find they need time to adjust to the demands of pole dancing.

So what to do about your painful finger? First, I'd suggest that icing it regularly would probably be a good idea. Some people find they get better relief by alternating heat and cold after the first few days.

You can do this by dipping your finger in a bowl of hot water (as hot as you can stand) for a minute or so, then into ice water (as cold as you can tolerate for a minute). Finish with the cold, as that's what will reduce inflammation.

Some people find that taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen helps to reduce pain and swelling. And gentle stretching and self-massage will help to keep the joint mobile and the circulation moving so it heals faster.

There are also natural anti-inflammatory creams that you can apply to help reduce the swelling and speed healing. Arnica cream comes to mind, and you can likely ask at your local health food store for other suggestions.

And I know you don't want to hear this, but you're probably wise to stay off your pole (at least with the injured hand) until it's feeling better.

If you continue to pole dance with an injury, it's likely to take much longer to heal. So while it may not hurt that badly now, if you don't take the time to recover properly from the injury, it may linger for quite some time, which could prevent you from progressing in your pole dancing.

I hope this helps you Mel, and I wish you a speedy recovery so you can get back on your dance pole soon!

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