Climbing injuries- cause and prevention

Rock climbing is an exciting and physically demanding sport that requires a high level of strength, endurance, and technique. While it can provide a great workout and an adrenaline rush, it can also lead to a variety of injuries if proper precautions are not taken.

One common injury in rock climbing is a strained or sprained wrist, which can occur from holding onto the rock with too much force or from falling onto an outstretched hand. To prevent wrist injuries, it is important to use proper hand and finger positioning when gripping the rock and to always be aware of your body's position relative to the wall. Wearing a wrist brace or using wrist wraps can also provide extra support if an injury may be present.

Another injury that is common in rock climbing is tendonitis, which is an inflammation and changes in the tendons of the area.  Common areas where tendonitis can occur from climbing is at the elbow, wrist, or shoulder. This can be caused by overuse, injury, or improper technique. To help prevent tendonitis, it is important to warm up before climbing, use the most optimal technique, and having the appropriate rest between training sessions.  Resting and icing the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and pain.  It is important to seek appropriate advice regarding management and rehabilitation for tendonitis.

Shoulder injuries are also common in rock climbing, as the shoulders are heavily used to support the body's weight. To help prevent shoulder injuries, it is important to maintain good posture while climbing, use proper technique during movements, warm up and perform the appropriate strengthening and stretching exercises outside of climbing.  Using kinesiotape can also help to provide extra support in the instance of certain injuries or conditions.

Finger pulley injuries are a common occurrence in rock climbing, as the finger pulleys are responsible for allowing the fingers to bend and straighten. These injuries can range from mild strains to more serious ruptures and can be caused by a variety of factors such as overuse or un-optimal technique.  The mechanism of a finger pulley injury typically involves tearing or rupturing of the thin fibrous bands that make up the pulleys. This can occur when the fingers are placed under too much strain, such as when attempting to hold onto a small hold or when falling and over-gripping.  The severity of the injury can vary based on the extent of the damage to the pulleys.

Treatment for finger pulley injuries typically involves rest and ice to reduce inflammation and swelling.  Specific stretches and strengthening exercises are helpful in rehabilitating the affected finger or fingers, and a graduated program with returning to climbing. In severe and rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged pulleys.

To help prevent finger pulley injuries, it is important to use proper technique when climbing and to avoid placing unnecessary strain on the fingers. Wearing finger tape can be helpful to support the pulleys in the instance of an injury.  It is also important to listen to your body's limits and to rest or reduced the nature of your climbing if you experience any pain or discomfort in the fingers.  These injuries can be prevented by using proper technique, warming up, and avoiding excessive strain on the fingers. With proper care and treatment, it is possible to fully recover from a finger pulley injury and return to climbing at full strength.



In the event of any more serious injuries, such as a fracture or dislocations, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Physiotherapy can also be helpful in recovering from these types of injuries and in preventing future injuries from occurring.

Overall, the key to preventing rock climbing injuries is to use proper and optimal technique, warm up before climbing, and perform the appropriate supplemental exercises to keep your body strong for climbing.  It is also important to wear the proper protective gear, such as helmets and climbing shoes, and to listen to your body's limits.  By taking the appropriate steps, you can enjoy the exciting and challenging sport of rock climbing while minimizing the risk of injury.