Almost every gymnast at some point in his or her career will experience a rip. Very few are able to engage in gymnastics for more than a few months at a time without having at least one possibly several rips. However, many people especially those new to gymnastics do not know what rips are, much less how to help prevent them or even how to treat them to reduce the time spent with healing.
The first and most important step to treating a rip is to always ensure that it is carefully washed with soap and warm water to remove any bacteria and prevent an infection from setting up. This is especially important because of the concerns that can occur with infections. Infections can create so much pain in a rip that a gymnast may be forced to take time off that they cannot afford to lose for some reason.
It is very important to never use either hydrogen peroxide or Betadine on any rips no matter how large or small. These products kill the skin cells that are healing and make it take much longer for the wound to heal. To avoid this problem it is best to stick to just keeping the rip very clean using soap and water and always keeping a clean bandage on it. Another product that many gymnasts have had great success with it called DuoDERM.
DuoDERM is created with idea of creating a moist environment for cell regrowth and produces a much faster healing time than a typical band-aid can provide. However, they are not always readily available. Due to this, it is important to understand other practices that you can use if you do not have access to DuoDERM such as using Neosporin and gauze bandages.
One method that is not always well known amongst the younger gymnasts is using a product such as Preparation H or any other type of hemorrhoid treatment. The best treatments to use are those that also contain a topical anesthetic, which helps to reduce the pain from the rip. This can help reduce the overall swelling and help promote faster healing.
Some methods that are used to help prevent rips are well known while others are less well known but equally effective. The first method is using neoprene rubber bands across the wrists and hands to help reduce the friction. This can help eliminate rips all together however is not completely effective.
Another option that you can explore is the use of a callus trimmer, which allows you to shave portions off to reduce the risks of rips. How effective this method is depends on the size of the callus and how long it has been there. Some gymnasts find this to be highly effective, while others have found little benefit to the method.
Another option that is available is to use is creating a tape grip to wrap tightly around the hands using either trainer’s tape or elastic tape. This is also effective in covering any rips or calluses that are already existent but have not actually created problems yet. This method is one of the best since it can be used both before rips and after without using any chemicals or ointments that can stunt cell regrowth.
It is important to note that using methods to treat rips such as dipping the hand into a mixture of bleach water, or even using products such as Tuff Skin, which is a taping base, is not advisable because of the pain and stinging sensation that are created without significant improvements. If you feel that a rip is especially bad, or has an infection then it is advisable to see the doctor to allow for medical treatment of the rip. If possible seeing a doctor before the infection sets in is the best choice, even if it is not always possible to do. Always consult with a doctor if you have any questions about treating your rips as well.