What To Do When You Rip a Callus

Ripped callus below the little finger.

Ripped callus below the little finger.

Ripped calluses are not only painful, they can easily take 2 weeks to heal. Add another 2 weeks where the callus can tear again if you go too heavy, too soon, on Deadlifts or Barbell Rows and that means almost 1 month of training lost.

Unless you treat your ripped calluses properly to speed up their recovery. Here are few strategies that I’ve used when I tore a callus while lifting weights, and how to treat torn calluses to quickly get back in the game.

Ripped Callus – Keep Lifting or Not?
I’ve always continued training with the ripped callus. Just put the skin back if you still have it, throw some chalk on top to stop the bleeding and to prevent dirt from getting into the wound, and finish your training. Yes this will hurt, but your training won’t last more than 30mins after this so just do it. Can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

How to Treat Ripped Calluses.
Don’t be one of those guys leaving blood on the bar for the next person – clean your equipment. Then cleanse your ripped callus with soap so the dirt gets out of the wound. Once you get home:

  • Cut The Callus. Trim it close to the wound but don’t cut too much/too deep or you’ll weaken the surrounding skin. Just remove the big flap.
  • Smooth The Edges. Cut/shave the remaining callus so it levels off with the rest of your hand. But again – don’t be aggressive with this.
  • Apply Salt. Soak your hand in warm water with salt for 10mins. This will hurt, but it’s the fastest way to recover. Do this several times a day.

Do NOT leave the torn callus or glue it back on – you need to clear the dead skin for new tissue to grow. Cut the dead skin, it will boost the healing process. Dry hands take longer to heal so moisturize your hands a lot (I use cold cream).

You could wear gloves until your callus heals, but keep in mind gloves increase the diameter of the bar and mess with your technique. Better is to cover the base of your middle/ring finger above the torn callus with athletic tape.

To prevent calluses to rip again, make sure you grip the bar correctly, use chalk, and shave your callus every 2 weeks. Read this post for more information.

See also

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