Please note this is some general information about our personal experience with gymnastics rips; we are not medical professionals. Please consult medical professionals if you are concerned about your rips.
Rips…the name itself, R, I, P.. rest in peace because these can be painful!
But, we're here to share some of our personal tips on healing gymnastics rips, how to care for your hands and in turn prevent rips in the future.
As always, here is a quick lesson, What is a gymnastics rip? and how they happen?
A Gymnastic Rip happens when the skin on a gymnast's hand peels from the hands' palms or the area surrounding the wrists, which is also referred to as a tear;
For some gymnasts, they'll experience a “Full Rip”, which means the skin fully peels back to create an open wound, however, other times they may experience a blister.
These Rips & Blisters typically occur from a continuous action of friction, for example, swinging or gianting on the bars. Unfortunately, friction on bars is unavoidable as a gymnast, and as a result, for many gymnasts, rips are unavoidable.. or so you thought!
Due to a gymnasts repeated training on bars, they develop “Calluses”. A Calluses by definition is a “thickened area of skin that appears because of repeated irritation or pressure to that area of skin”, which perfectly describes our beloved sport Artistic Gymnastics… oh how we love you, gymnastics!
What Causes Rips?
So now that we know what gymnastics rips are, What causes them?
Friction! Can you guess what friction we're talking about?... YES! You guessed it, BARS! The friction created when swinging and working bars causes the skin to blister, break and sometimes peel to create rips.
Your hands are more likely to rip if you have soft hands, no calluses build up or too much calluses build-up. So how do you prevent them?.. We're getting to that bear with us!
Dry Skin is another contributing factor of why we gymnasts get rips. But why do we have all have dry skin on our hands? It's such a common issue in gymnasts right?
Well one word, CHALK !
I mean we use chalk which helps reduce moisture to help with our grip on bars, but we forget that IT REDUCES MOISTURE... Duh? It makes our hands dry!
PRO OF CHALK: We don't fall off bars.
CON OF CHALK: We get Dry Hands.
So, we purposely dry them out in the name of staying on the bar; The problem is we don't re-moisturise them afterwards.
So Gymnasts, listen up! You need to moisturise to counter the effect of our beloved favourite CHALK!
Guess what we made it… If you’ve read this far, you are committed, and we imagine you’re probably that gymnast that always rips.. We feel your pain, and we’re sorry.. BUT!
Here’s our unprofessional and non medical advice as gymnasts who have suffered from rips and our ways to prevent them!
So now that we know what causes rips (Sorry it took so long), what is the best way to prevent them?
The number one tip we can give you is SHAPE and SMOOTH your calluses. You need to keep the calluses thick so that they can protect your hands, but also have them smooth, so they don't catch on the bars.
Secondly, as stated above, MOISTURISE! Dry hands will cause your calluses to crack and break, which causes a weak point in the calluses which is a free invite for rips!!
How can you prevent them?
This is all helpful information, but how do you smooth & shape calluses and what do you use?
What to use?
We recommend a synthetic pumice stone; they give you the best control.
When you notice your gymnast's calluses getting white and flakey - It’s pumice time!
How much should you file?
If you run your finger across the calluses and feel a “shelf” that catches, keep filing with your pumice, but if you run your finger along the calluses and it's round and smooth but not catching, then you’re good to go!
As we've stated, moisturising is a key step in avoiding rips. But what should you use and when should you use it?
What should you use?
We could be biased, but we love Giddy Balm we wouldn't sell it if we didn't believe in it; it's a natural eco-friendly option.
However, there are many alternative options out there, you need to find what's best for you!
When should you use it?
We recommend using the giddy balm after a bath or shower as it is more likely to penetrate the skin and keep your gymnast's hands hydrated.
Even with these steps, rips may still occur every once and a while these steps do not guarantee no rips, they just reduce the likelihood of them occurring.
Ok so, now to our unfortunate gymnasts who are dealing with the deadly rips right now! What do you do?
Step 1: Clean it!
First things first, Clean the wound; we recommend washing it with warm water and soap (If you can bear it).
If there is a flap of excess skin that has peeled back, it’s best to cut it off and remove it with a clean sterile scissors with adult supervision or assistance.
Step 2: Repair The Skin:
After your wound is clean, you want to kickstart the healing process, you can do this by applying an antibiotic cream however, it is important to note many antibiotic skins can cause dry skin over prolonged use.. which as we know is a No No when preventing rips.
We recommend trying an all-natural solution that promotes healing first, such as the Giddy Balm Lavender or an alternative.
Giddy balm lavender as Lavender soothes and calms the skin, reduces redness, balances oil production, and heals wounds through the acceleration of collagen, which shrinks wounds.
Step 3: New Skin
The next step is the hardest one; you need to allow a new skin layer to grow in order to get the rip to heal.
The best way to ensure this happens is to not let the skin get dry, this will lead to cracking and re-ripping.
It’s important to apply the cream or natural balm (Giddy Balm) as much as possible (every 1-2 hrs) to prevent infection and to ensure the new skin doesn’t dry out.
We hope we’ve helped you with some of our personal tips to prevent and heal the dreaded gymnastics rips.
Lots of Love,
Aimee & The EMG Team