Rock climbing and mountain climbing carry risks that range from the minor to the serious.
Rock Climbing and Mountain Climbing Injuries
With the right safety measures and equipment, falls are not very common concerns regarding rock climbing. There are, however, more typical injuries rock climbers face. The most common injuries are to the fingers, especially to the tendons and ligaments. There are actually no finger muscles. Fingers are served by fibers that can become strained. Another word for this fiber is “pulley”. The annular pulley tear occurs when a finger tendon “swiftly bears the weight of (the) whole body”. Generally, this may happen when a climber is “crimping”, or holding onto an area that can only support the tips of the fingers. More serious injuries involve the tendons that connect from the elbow to the fingers. There are also overuse injuries that are chronic for some climbers. Tendonitis is one of them. Damage can become irreversible if warning signs, such as nerve tingling, joint pain, and stiff tendons are ignored.1 Wrist pain and weakness, elbow problems, shoulder issues, and back and neck pain, are other typical injuries for climbers.2
Treatment and Prevention
To heal a pulley tear, the climber should rest for several months. Resting, icing, stretching, and massaging the tissue can help. When resuming climbing, the athlete should tape the finger for support. To prevent some traumatic injuries, climbers should use proper safety equipment, including a helmet. It is important that climbers are properly trained in how to “climb smart”.3 Many injuries can be prevented with the proper training. When not climbing, athletes should “do the opposite motion of what (they) would use when climbing”. Instead of pulling, pushing exercises should be performed. Wrists should be extended instead of flexed. Instead of having the chest and shoulders rolled in, the climber should open their arms and chest. Rest is crucial for gaining strength. Proper diet and water intake are important. If injured, especially in the tendons, it is necessary for the climber to rest. Surgery may be needed in serious cases. Chiropractors can help give the climbers stretches and exercises that will help with recovery and allow them to train in a healthier manner. They can also treat many musculoskeletal concerns.4 Accidents may still occur from equipment, but “anchors rarely fail”, and, if they do, it is likely due to “inexperience in setup”. Further, many accidents can be prevented by using “better belay practices such as tying a knot in the end of the rope” or by the climber wearing gloves. Falls may also occur during “freeze thaw cycles” in the seasons. It is important that the climber is familiar with the terrain.5
2, 4 http://elementalseattle.com/common-climbing-injuries-and-ways-to-avoid-them/
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