How to avoid common climbing injuries

How to avoid common climbing injuries

October 24, 2018

How to avoid common climbing injuries

Rock climbing and bouldering are difficult skills to master and unfortunately, poor technique and bad habits can lead to some very common climbing injuries, usually in the upper body.

Here at The Treatment Room we work side by side with Surrey Summit meaning we understand exactly what it takes to be a rock climber and boulderer so we can help you to avoid these injuries.

Core Strength

Core strength is key when it comes to good climbing technique. Core engagement allows the climber to keep their hips and body close to the wall, reducing the strain on the upper body, arms and hands.

Foot Placement

Foot placement is vital and should allow you to fully rotate around a hold, balancing on your big toe; known as edging. Slipping off a foot hold can result in sudden shock loading of the shoulders and elbows, resulting in either an instant injury or slowly causing overuse weakness in your upper body that will require rehabilitation.

Common climbing injuries

  • Joint subluxation (shoulder, elbow)
  • Rotator cuff strains and tears (shoulder)
  • Pulley tears (fingers)
  • Tendinopathy/tendonitis (wrist, forearm, shoulder)

Although shoulder impingement injuries are frequently experienced by climbing athletes, elbow tendon injuries are arguably most common; with most climbers experiencing either golfer’s or tennis elbow at some point in their climbing careers. Tendinopathies (tendon injuries) occur when the tendon is overloaded, generally through repetitive strain (Scott, Blackman & Speed, 2015). Over crimping of the hands – perhaps due to lack of strength or range of motion in the shoulder, training with poor technique and over training can be causes of repetitive strain in elbows. If left unmanaged, the injury may become chronic and bring about more complications such as nerve problems and reduced range of movement.

How can The Treatment Room help?

The Treatment Room is uniquely positioned with specialist knowledge to assist with climbing injuries as we work alongside Surrey Summit giving us full access to the climbing wall. Your initial session with a Treatment Room therapist will begin with an assessment of the injury and you as an athlete as a whole to rule out any areas that lack strength or range of motion that could be causing a compensation mechanism. Your therapist will decide from the assessment, how best to proceed with your treatment; utilising a combination of manual therapy and rehabilitation exercises to target any areas of pain, weakness or overuse.

Our therapists at the Treatment Room are keen to get you climbing as part of your rehabilitation therefore part of the process may include use of the climbing wall. We aim to get you back on your A game, and back to climbing fitness!


If you would like to have a chat about any of this further, please contact The Treatment Room on 01483 682136 or click here for more information.

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