In recent years, high-risk sports have been gaining more and more followers, making rock climbing and cycling two of the most practiced sports by young people today, despite all the risks that these two sports imply.
The most common injuries among more experienced climbers are different types of injuries due to wear and tear; all of them less serious, but equally annoying and dangerous if they do not heal properly in the long run. That’s why it’s important to consult a leading orthopedic surgeon in Singapore to treat any injuries they are suffering from.
For those who want to start practicing climbing and want to be clear about all the risks surrounding the sport, we will give you a detailed list of the main injuries that may develop below.
Ready? Well, let’s start!
Common Orthopaedic Injuries
Among climbers, one of the most common injuries is to the rotator cuff of the shoulders. The most common position of a climber is to have the arms above the head, making the weight of the whole body rest constantly on the shoulders and causing them to wear out gradually.
Shoulder cuff injury is usually caused mainly by excessive wear and tear or poor execution of the technique, which can lead to severe tendonitis or tearing.
Another of the most common injuries among climbers is tennis elbow, also known as epicondylitis, which is the inflammation of the tendons that attach to the forearm on the outside of the elbow.
During climbing, the elbows do not stop working and support the full weight of the climber, both when making climbing movements and when staying in suspension in the same position while rotating from one side to the other of the wall.
This injury usually causes pain and inflammation of the area and can be treated conservatively through the continuous application of ice, physiotherapy, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. However, if the problem persists for more than a year and there are no signs of improvement, the only alternative will be surgery. Otherwise, the injury will only get worse and become chronic, which may even lead to surgery not providing a definitive solution.
If there is one part of the body that really suffers during the practice of climbing, it is the fingers. A climber constantly needs his hands and fingers to hold on, which makes this fragile area of the body compromised and subject to excessive pressure that ends up causing all kinds of injuries in the area.
The most common injury to a climber is to the A2 pulley of the ring finger. Each finger is made up of a set of tendons and ligaments that allow us to carry out the usual movements of flexion or grip of the hands, these two movements being the most used and essential when climbing or building.
In turn, these tendons and ligaments are attached to pulleys that help them stay close to the finger bones, which tend to fracture or tear during climbing more easily. The A2 pulley injury usually manifests itself with a strong snap in the finger, followed by severe pain, swelling of the area, and the appearance of bruises.
There are also other common injuries to the fingers of climbers, such as the tear of the flexor tendons that surround the pulleys, and the strain or tear of the collateral ligament that usually occurs during side-loading movements in which the climber changes grip with the help of the hands. Finally, there is also another very common injury to the fingers of climbers called “trigger finger”, which is caused by excessive wear of the flexor tendon that begins to swell and does not respond properly to pressure.
Treatment of all these injuries is usually limited to the placement of a splint, application of ice, plenty of rest, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. However, surgery may also be required if the injury is very advanced.
The most common wrist injury among climbers is that which affects the fibrocartilage complex triangle. This cartilaginous structure, which is found on the little finger side of the wrist, is responsible for providing stability to the climber so that he can turn or hold on to his hand while climbing or changing position.
The usual symptom experienced with this lesion is a dull, persistent pain in the wrist that increases and becomes unbearable. Rest, splinting, and anti-inflammatory medications usually work quite well, but after that, it is always helpful to use an adhesive tape that secures the wrist and provides additional support.
Surgery may also be required if the tear is very severe and has affected the surrounding tissues, and the affected area must be cleaned so that the tissues can regenerate; this operation is also called “debridement”.