You can always tell an aerialist by their hands and calluses are seen as a badge of honour but how well are you actually looking after yours?
What are calluses?
Calluses are a build up of hard skin on the parts of your hands that experience the most friction and pressure.
Usually they can be found at the bottom of your fingers and across your palms. Callusing of the hands is expected when training aerial hoop and is a form of natural protection. However without proper care, the skin can break or rip which is sometimes painful.
How to prevent rips and tears
Use chalk and rosin sparingly
Dry skin is more prone to breaks and tears so try to keep the use of chalk and rosin to a minimum. Also,after every training session, wash your hands thoroughly to ensure all remaining residue is removed. This will prevent your hands getting unnecessarily dehydrated.
File down rough skin
This is a simple yet effective tip that can be done on a daily basis. Using a coarse emery board or pumice stone, gently file down any rough skin to a smooth finish. This will stop any loose skin catching and ripping as well stopping the temptation to pick at it.
Moisturise, moisturise , moisturise
Keeping your hands moisturised will stop the skin becoming dried out and cracking. Using a nourishing cream such as O’Keeffe’s Working Hands hand cream after training will keep them lovely and soft while minimising tears.
Practice correct grip form
A full reach around grip with the middle of your palm over the hoop and thumb held firmly over your index finger will keep your hands locked on making it the idea grip position.
Sometimes after a particularly intense session or when your hands fatigue quickly, the burning sensation can make you change your grip but try to be aware of this and correct your positioning.
What to do if you get a tear
Wash your hands immediately
To prevent unwanted infection and help the healing process, wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and pat dry. It may hurt depends on how severe the tear is but if its just a bit of rough skin, it shouldn’t hurt at all.
Don’t pull the skin off
This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway…don’t just pull the skin off! – It’s likely to make it worse. Instead, use a clean pair of nail scissors or cuticle nippers to remove the loose skin without further damage.
Remember, prevention is better than the cure so by giving your hands the love they deserve you will be able to train harder and longer without injury!