As climbing is a sport that encompasses the whole body, there are various different injuries that can occur as a result. Commonly seen are injuries to the upper limb, whether that be the shoulder, elbow or hand as these all take a lot of force when you are relying on them to hold your body weight. Add to that the chance of falls or landing awkwardly when jumping down and you have included the whole body.
Before discussing upper limb problems it is important to consider the whole body and the link between the upper, lower limbs and the trunk (kinetic chain). This is the basis to training with ‘body tension’ positions as all the body is utilised when moving across the rock. It is not uncommon to see climbers with multiple problems (often on the same side) and stresses in one part of the body can result in pain somewhere else.
For example, if you don’t use your legs when climbing your upper limb will have to work harder (so use your legs!). If your shoulder is unstable then you might not experience shoulder pain, but elbow pain as it works harder to maintain the stresses through the upper limb.
Therefore, if you have a specific weakness, concentrate on strengthening it and you will possibly find other areas will also improve.
See our page on ‘finger pulley injuries
‘ for more information specific to this injury. Other common conditions include tendon pain, usually at the shoulder or elbow.
We see many climbing injuries here at the Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic and some of our clinicians regularly engage in climbing themselves. Therefore we are well placed to assess and treat your climbing injuries and get you back on the rocks or walls.
See New ‘Physio Clinic’ Q&A session (ukbouldering.com) for a previous thread of Q&As with our Physiotherapy team covering various cases.