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Gymnastics Rips [Prevention and Treatment Guide]

gymnastics rips

If you’re a gymnast and you haven’t had the unpleasant experience of having gymnastics rips, consider yourself exceptionally lucky. I might need you to share your skincare routine and the extra effort you put into being cautious.

On the contrary, if you are someone who has had a good share of bloody experiences, welcome to the club! I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve gone home with aching hands from the gym, as a beginner. It came down to the point that I could count the days I didn’t get rips or worsen the ones I already had, on my fingertips. How could I not? Those were the only fortunate episodes I seldom had.

Aside from those days, I had openly proclaimed that ‘honestly, nature just hates me’. It was way later in my gymnastics career that I realized the mistakes I was making and how I could prevent getting rips ever so often (they were lifesavers).

Therefore, I sincerely intend to help you with my personal experience and save you the misery of having to go through it all yourself. 


What are gymnastics rips? 

Needless to say, the term is self-explanatory. What, however, is not explanatory is what types of injuries or minor wounds fall under the category of rips. To elaborate on that, if the skin on your handles or wrists is stretched or torn off to the extent that it is painful, you have a rip in your hand.

Similar is the case with having blisters and unhealed cuts. It is a common misconception that until your wound isn’t bleeding, it isn’t considered a rip. Let me clarify the misapprehension by establishing this once and for all; there are no such passing criteria for rips. 

On the topic of gymnastics rips, an important mention should be that of calluses. Primarily, the bars you perform gymnastic skills are responsible for these.

Calluses develop if there is repetitive rubbing or a particular part of the hand is subject to exceptional friction.

In this skin disease, the outermost layer of the skin is thickened (more than the usual requirement for protection).

On the positive side, calluses are rarely ever painful, nonetheless, one can’t nullify their existence due to the problems they can cause if not smoothed out. 

The question that is left unanswered as of yet is; are all rips the same? Or are there different causes of rips? Would each of them require a different type of treatment? If any of these questions were spiraling in your head, you’re in luck.

Mainly, there are 2 causes as to why you may have gymnastics rips; 

1) Dry skin

Dry skin is susceptible to many skin diseases and painful happenings, such as the one you are in the middle of.

I know, dry skin doesn’t sound like THAT big of a deal after all but trust me it is. I learned it the hard way too and boy, am I thankful that I eventually did!

Henceforth, if your skin is dry and on top of that you make use of gymnastics chalk, it can victimize your skin even further (chalk adds to the dryness). I am not saying you should stop using chalk, it is almost a necessity for gymnasts as it aids you in maintaining your grip over several gymnastics events.

The only possible solution to this is taking better care of your skin. But how? Don’t worry, I am going to deliver all the antidotes I know of to you. Just keep reading. 

2) Excessive Friction 

The second factor you may use in this case is the natural occurring of friction. When you grip the bar to perform your skillset, the friction that is produced between your hand and the bar can cause your skin to rip apart.

This is also where callus plays its part. If your hands have no or very little callus, the chances that it will have to endure rips and blisters are far from slim.

As a gymnast, your skin should be balanced out; there shouldn’t be excessive callus (increases the possibility of it getting caught on an event) or an almost negligible amount of it. On the contrary, it should be smoothed out. Wearing gymnastics grips helps prevent rips and excessive friction too.

How can you protect your skin from enduring rips?

This is my favorite part of the entire discussion! We’ve made it past the painful phase, this is the part where your journey of getting freedom from these distressing rips begins. 

There are two significant quick fixes for rips that you can make use of like a gymnast; Moisturizing and maintaining your calluses. 

1) Moisturizing 

No matter how many times I stress upon this, it probably still would be less. Your skin will love you for moisturizing it timely. Think of moisturizing cream like water for you. Similar to how keeping you hydrated increases your mobility, moisturizing gives a ‘sort of’ boost to your hand’s skin durability. However, be mindful of the ingredients your moisturizing cream of use contains. 

Bonus tip; go for moisturizers with more natural ingredients and dimethicone. (You’re welcome!)

2) Maintaining calluses

If you grab the skin on your palm and you can feel that it has thickened or isn’t sensitive to touch, it is a sign that your skin needs smoothening. Some of the ways that you can get rid of this soon to become’ a problem are; 

  • Soak your hands in water that is soapy and warm to remove excessive skin.
  • Make use of a synthetic pumice stone

Bonus tip; before you hunt for a more easily available alternative to pumice stone, consult a skin specialist to ensure its safety for use. You don’t want to mess with your skin, especially as a gymnast. 

How can you treat your skin once it is ruptured? [Step by Step]

1) Attend to your wound

It hurts and you’re mad, it’s okay and I completely understand the mixture of emotions you are presently feeling.

However, if you take good care of your skin, the problem isn’t going to hang around for too long. On that note, let’s get down to work. 

First and foremost, you are going to clean your wound. If it is a blister, you might want to remove the unnecessary skin carefully. At all costs, avoid making use of any balm right away. 

2) Get a healing balm

After cleaning and aiding your wound, let’s focus on its healing.

Healing balms like the rip stopper are your best hit at trying to do so. 

If you can get your hands on one that is anti-bacterial and contains natural healing ingredients, nothing would be better. 

3) Make the most of your inactivity time

Wait till the lights are off. Before you go to bed and your hands can finally rest, you might want to wear gloves (light-weighted preferably) or use other treatments that you may have come across.

This is because during the day it may be a cause of irritability if your hands are taking the day off but you have to carry on with your day-to-day activities. Be sure to apply your healing ointment before you head to bed, at least for a week. 

Don’t Forget To Keep Up With Protective Measures For Your Skin

Congratulations! Your skin has finally healed and you are back at the gym. Nonetheless, you should take a lesson from the discomfort you formerly encountered. If you forget it entirely and move on with your life, I’m afraid to break the news to you that history may repeat itself.

The only way to avoid it is to take better care of your skin and also wearing gymnastics grips.

Notwithstanding that, you may encounter gymnastics rips once in a while but the occurrences are sure to be lesser than they would have been otherwise.