I Ripped My Hands. Now What?

It happens to the best of us. Sometimes, despite prevention through proper hand care, self discipline, and movement substitutions… you’ll tear a callous. Here’s what to do next.

So You Ripped Your Hands

Despite its regular occurrence in CrossFit boxes, a hand tear is an injury, whether it’s a minor blister or a bloody, full-on blowout. Let’s treat it as such.

1. Wash Those Puppies. There’s no sugar coating this one. It’s going to suck. But an open wound needs to be washed with soap and dried thoroughly. Bite down on a chewy RxBar and shove those mitts under a running faucet, Hoss.

If you’re a huge whimp, let’s at least use some wound wash. We keep Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Wound Wash in our first aid kit. And the best part: NO STINGING. (Cue angels singing.)

2. Use What You’ve Got. If the displaced strip of skin is still hanging on, don’t rip it off! Pulling on that chunk of flesh could make a bad situation a lot worse. Instead, pat that baby back into place. It will provide valuable protection for the raw skin underneath for the next day or so. Don’t worry, we’re not going to leave it flapping around. Keep reading.

If that skin is already history, skip on to #3.

3. Cover That Sucker Up. Time for antibacterial ointment and a bandage. Palms are sweaty messes, so you’ll want to use something with strong glue, like a fabric bandage.

(Editor’s Note: My favorite is New-Skin Liquid Bandage. Heads up, it stings like CRAZY for about ten seconds, but later on you’ll be able to wash your hands and hair without yelping in pain.)

4. Clean EVERYTHING You’ve Touched. Make sure to run antibacterial wipes over every surface you’ve come into contact with, including floors, equipment, and rigs.

But I’m Not Done With My WOD Yet!

We give you full credit for wanting to finish, but let’s do it smartly. Remember, you’re technically injured. You absolutely must go through the steps outlined above before you continue. Don’t finish your WOD with gaping wounds on the floor/rings/barbell, etc. That’s just gross, and asking for an infection.

Once you’re patched up, we’ll need to substitute some movements. Here are a few suggestions:

Nix pull-ups. Sub ring rows.

Muscle ups and bar muscle ups will need to wait. We recommend ring rows (feet elevated on a box) plus ring dips.

Skip toes-to-bar. Subs: GHD Sit-ups or V-Ups on the floor.

When you’re finished, you’ll likely need fresh, sweat-free bandages.

Healing Up + Prevention

Healing up can take anywhere from a couple of days to a week or more. Make sure to keep your hands clean, and avoid movements that could re-open your wounds. A rich balm like Aquaphor, Bag Balm or WOD Welder will keep your skin pliable and speed healing.

Lastly, read up on our guide to hand care and must-have gear to prevent future tears!