How Do You Know If You Have the 3 Common Climbing Injuries?

13 July 2021

Rock climbing and Bouldering has been gaining popularity in Singapore, with more climbing gyms popping up all around the island. It is a great way for thrill seekers to get a full body workout while catching up with their friends. What many fail to notice is that just like any other sport – there is a risk of injury as well. In this article, we will be sharing the 3 most common climbing injuries that we see in our physiotherapy clinic and how you can avoid them.

1) Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s Elbow is a tendonitis injury and contrary to popular belief – it is not exclusive to golfers. Golfer’s Elbow causes pain on the inner corner of your elbow. It is a condition that affects the tendons in your elbow and it occurs due to the constant loading of the elbow in flexed positions while climbing. The constant loading on the elbow in flexed and pronated positions while moving across different holds when climbing causes a strain on the tendons.

How can i tell if i have Golfer’s Elbow?

Common signs and symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow includes:

  • Tenderness/soreness on the inner corner of your elbow
  • Pain during warm up which subsides during the sessions and comes back again after the climbing session
  • Pain during daily activities such as washing hair and flushing the toilet

2) TFCC Injury

climbing injuries

TFCC injuries are the second most common climbing injury among climbers. TFCC injury is related to the wrist – the TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) is a load-bearing structure in the outer corner of your wrist which acts as a stabilizer. TFCC injuries tend to happen due to overuse or impact such as a fall. While climbing, there are large traction forces that go through your arm that pulls apart the TFCC. Climbing routes with hand holds such as slopers can cause large traction forces. Over time, there could be wear and tear which may cause an overload injury or even tearing of the TFCC.

How can I tell if i have a TFCC Injury?

  • Pain at the outer corner of the wrist during floor loading activities such as push ups
  • Feeling a “clunk” in your wrist while loading and pulling on a hold

3) Finger Injuries

Finger related climbing injuries are common and can occur when you are loading your weight on small grips in climbing routes. The constant loading of your body weight on your fingers can cause wear and tear to your finger pulleys and lead to a finger injury.

How can I tell if i have a finger injury?

  • You may hear an audible “pop” when you tear or rupture your finger pulley
  • Tenderness in your finger which may travel down your palm and arms

General guidelines to climbing injury free

A general rule of thumb is that climbing should be a pain free experience. If you are experiencing pain that persists while climbing – it would be a good idea to get assessed by a physiotherapist.

Think you may be experiencing a climbing injury? Make an appointment with one of our physiotherapists to get checked out – more often than not, leaving a potential injury unattended can cause the condition to deteriorate over time. Simply give us a call at 62263632 or whatsapp us.