≡ Menu

Latest News

Rock Climbing Injuries… and How to Care for Them

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

Over the last couple of weeks, there have been some videos making the rounds on Facebook that will make your heart race just by watching the first few seconds! The big topic that’s going viral? Speed climbing, a form of vertical racing that only lasts six or seven seconds. Take a look at the video below to see how these spider-like athletes fly up a wall multiple stories high!

Speed climbing, along with some other rock climbing sports, is slated to enter the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. The decision to include rock climbing in the Olympics reflects a broader global interest in the sport, which combines strength, balance, agility and mental problem-solving skills. Rock climbing can be a great solo or group sport for building strength and confidence, while also getting in a solid cardio workout!

Unfortunately, as rock climbing becomes more popular in Houston and elsewhere around the world, we’ll likely see a rise in rock climbing injuries, as well.

Common Rock Climbing Injuries

This past summer we discussed climber’s finger (what it is and how to treat it) on the blog. This overuse injury occurs when the flexor tendon pulley tears, which can cause pain and swelling – typically in the middle or ring finger. If you think you may have sustained this type of injury, stop climbing and use NSAIDs and ice to manage pain and swelling. Once the injury has healed, you may return to climbing, taping your finger for extra support.

A partially dislocated shoulder (subluxation) is another common rock climbing injury that can occur when climbers overextend their reach. This injury does require physical therapy. See an orthopedic physician or your primary care doctor for an evaluation.

Tendinitis (inflammation of tendons, which connect muscle to bone) can be quite common among rock climbers. You’re probably familiar with many forms of tendinitis, including patellar tendinitis (in the knee), tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and Achilles tendinitis (in the heel). Climbers are most likely to experience this type of inflammation in the arms or shoulders. Treat with rest and ice; prevent with stretching!

See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor for a Climbing Injury

Have you sustained a climbing injury? Are you concerned about a chronic pain or tender joint? Consider seeing a sports medicine provider near you at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546 or schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.