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Foot pain and crack climbing

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Foot pain and crack climbing

Postby ElGreco » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:25 pm

Hi all,

I have a friend who is getting into crack climbing but cannot stand the foot pain when jamming. Do you have any tips or remember your own experience?

I remember it being intensely painful the first few times, and that it got better fast, but I am not sure how. Maybe my technique just improved, I got used to the pain, or killed off my nerve endings.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Re: Foot pain and crack climbing

Postby CClaude » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:19 pm

Can be caused by many things.

I am am assuming that there isn't a structural problem with the foot (ie: broken bones that have healed incorrectly, bone spurs, etc) which should be best addressed with a doctor.

The most likely thing is the kind of shoe that you are climbing in and the fit. A shoe with a down turned toe, especially if its fitted tightly will certainly cause the pain when crack climbing. Its best to find a shoe that has a flat toe that is snug but not tight. The toes should not be curled. A standby for desert cracks (such as Indian Creek) is the 5.10 Mocasyms. They are great for thin hands (ie: ringlocks) on up, but if you need to edge on stuff when the crack is even thinner, they are out of their realm. My personal favorite for all cracks regardless how difficult they were, is the discontinued LaSportiva Barracuda's. In the LaSportiva lineup, the Muira's (both womens and mens), the Katana Lace-ups, the TC Pro's and the Mytho's all fall into this catagory. In the 5.10 lineup, the Mocasyms, Copperheads, and they have a high top out. I know Mad Rock has a velco shoe that fits into this catagory also.

In some cracks, there will be pain, such as tight hands. It becomes how much do you really want it. The pain will also get better as you get used to it, so in the painful size start out in large doses (sorrry, I mean small doses) and slowly get used to it. As your technique gets better, the pain will also get less

Perservere, it gets better
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Re: Foot pain and crack climbing

Postby fatdad » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:59 pm

Good advice from CClaude. One question I think of when reading the OP is where the foot hurts and is it specific to the type of crack being climbed. Sometimes the pain is attributable to how your shoes fit, though in lots of instances I suspect it's probably more the result of poor technique since he or she is just starting out.

If you're climbing a thin crack and your toes are curled in your shoes, the knuckles on your toes are going to take a beating. Similarly, if you're trying to climb a fist crack with a pair of floppy slippers, it's pretty obvious that your feet are going to take a beating since the shoes provide almost no support.

Technique also plays a large part. Witness the number of folks who tape up because they're unable to climb a crack without mangling their hands. Likewise, you need to learn to be judicious with foot placement to avoid hammering them. I think the best treatise yet written on crack climbing was a Dale Bard article in an old Great Pacific Ironworks catalog. If you go to Supertopo and do a search under the Forum, so one kindly posted it there a while back.
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Re: Foot pain and crack climbing

Postby psycobill » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:18 am

Tell them to build an adjustable crack machine. Talk about building a pain tolerance + absolutely having to use good technique. I did this because of a lack of good cracks close by & reaped the benefits.
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Re: Foot pain and crack climbing

Postby carolces » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:39 am

I'm sure the pain has every bit to do with technique and foot gear, that said, you can ease the pain (quite rapidly) if you mix about 8-10 drops of pure essential oil of sweet birch into about an ounce of hand cream or lotion and then apply to top and bottom of foot, massaging in until it is completely absorbed. This can be made prior to your climb and packs in with gear easily. I am a great(or grand?) niece of Luigi Cesaletti from San Vito Di Cadore. I am a member of the American Herbalist Guild and have been working in Aromatherapy for over 15 years. Buona Fortuna!
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Re: Foot pain and crack climbing

Postby Autoxfil » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:43 pm

What kind of pain? My ankles hurt from the torquing when I first started climbing cracks, but they strengthened quickly. My feet have never hurt at all, and I'm proficient on cracks of all widths.

I assume it's a footwear issue - for routes that are pure thin hands and smaller, especially in granite, I like my Five Ten Gambits, which are a very soft, flat-toed shoe.They edge horribly and are only used for super-easy climbing or the aforementioned cracks.

For all my other climbing I use Muiras, sized as snugly as possibly while still allowing my toes to lay completely flat if I plant my foot on the ground and stretch them out. They still edge very well, but slot comfortably into cracks.
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Re: Foot pain and crack climbing

Postby ElGreco » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:33 am

Thank you all for the input!
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