By Leif Arrhenius
As strength athletes, most of us have had the painful experience of ripping calluses on our hands and other parts of our body. I have had many calluses ripped off in my short athletic career and have had to learn how to adapt to and treat these injuries. I have a few steps that will help the healing process move along a little quicker, and allow you to get back to training sooner. I recently tore a callus off of the base of my right pinky finger doing hang snatches, and have used these steps to help get my hand back to shape. In this article I will mainly talk about hand calluses.
Of course it is better to prevent calluses from ripping, so here are some steps to help prevent that from happening-
*The best way to take care of your hands during a workout is to minimize any damage in the first place by finding the best technique available for whatever activity you’re engaged in.
*After every workout wash your hands with soap and water. If used, thoroughly wash off any chalk as soon as possible. Chalk dries the skin and makes it less pliable.
*Apply a moisturizing lotion to the front and back of the hands. Frequently use lotion on your hands.
*Regular use a file or pumice stone will reduce the size of calluses. Don't file too much because your hands still need tough skin there for protection.
But when a tear does happen, (which it frequently does if you are a frequent lifter/thrower/ or athlete) here are some steps and items I have found to help me out-
Supplies needed- Mueller Germa-Tan, Cramer Nitrotan, New-Skin Liquid Bandage- Second Skin Blister Squares, And any type of a knuckle bandage.
*The first thing to do is remove the excess skin carefully with clean scissors or even nail clippers.
*Then it is important to clean and disinfect the cut. Soap and water is good.
*When the cut is dry I would then use Germa-tan or Nitrotan on the cut. Germa-tan and Nitrotan are both disinfectants that also contain tannic acid. Tannic acid actually "tans" the skin and helps with stopping bleeding and closing up the wound. The only problem with Nitrotan is that it comes in a yellow color and when used on the skin, it dyes yellow. What I would do is get a small piece of gauze and spray either of the tans until the gauze is loaded. Then I would put that on the cut with a piece of plastic over it and cover with a knuckle bandage. This will keep the liquid on the cut for an extended period of time. I would apply pressure on it every so often so that the liquid is sure to get on the cut. The liquid should cause a stinging feeling, but don't worry that just means it's working. When the cut stops stinging more spray can be added. I like to put these sprays on right after the cut happens and leave it on until night time. The spray can be applied every hour or so depending on what you like.
*During night time I like to leave the cut open or just have a band aid on. When more skin starts to grow I like to put lotion on before I go to bed so my hands and the new skin don't dry out.
*During the day and while doing physical activity, I like to dress my cut in a different way. First I spray the cut with either G-tan or N-tan to disinfect the cut and wait for it to dry. I then apply 1-2 coats of New-Skin Liquid Bandage on the cut and let it dry. I then apply a square of Second Skin blister pads over the area and cover with a knuckle bandage. I like to spray the area around the cut with pre-tape spray or skin tuffner so the band aid stays on better. If I am not working out during the day I leave the bandage like this. This helps with the healing process, stops the skin from being rubbed, and provides protection for the cut from being poked etc. If I am training or working out, I like to tape around my palm with athletic tape ( I like the stretchy kind) so that it covers the band aid and the cut. This allows me to still practice and not have pain or re injury to the cut.
*Once new skin has covered the wound continue using hand lotion as described above. If allowed to dry up, the skin will crack and continue to tear in the same spot.
* I repeat this process everyday until it's not needed. Using these steps I have found that I can have a callus fixed in about a week and can return to normal activity.
Another product that might work is superglue. I know some people that like to use superglue on their callus cuts, but I haven’t found much success in using it.
I believe that these steps can help not only with hand calluses but also calluses found on other parts of the body. The spray works well on all other types of cuts and abrasions and the second skin is grate for blisters. I hope this advice can help you all in your training.