Climbing is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in the world. Peter Harley (Registered Physiotherapist) has been treating a host of climbers this month as they await the re-opening of The Junction Climbing Centre!

As exciting as climbing is, it’s extremely challenging and requires both mental and physical strength. Weekly training, bouldering and hang board sessions can advance your technical skill-set, but overload can lead to injury.

Many climbers have experienced the dreaded twinge on the inside of their elbow during or after training. This pain can become increasingly worse, weaken the grip, and make climbing feel impossible.

Our goal at Physiohaus is to keep you climbing regularly and enjoying it! Today’s post is about a common injury called “Climbers Elbow”. A medical referral will often call this “Golfers Elbow” or “Medial Epicondyle Tendinopathy”. All of these diagnoses are saying the same thing.

This pain is typically an overload injury that is prevalent in climbers due to:

·the gripping demands of the sport

·our bodies challenge in adapting to these demands

When we climb, our palms are usually turned away from our bodies with fingers and wrists in a flexed position. The muscles that flex the wrist and fingers and the muscle that turns our palms away attach on the inside of the elbow on the same bone.

When climbing, we flex our wrist and fingers over the hold and pull down to leverage our body weight upward. This transmits force through that small area of muscle attachment. Over time the repetitive loading can go beyond the capacity of the tendon, and causes pain.

Peter has been working on shoulder strengthening exercises with a focus on finger flexor recruitment during the exercise. It makes good sense given the load on these muscles when you are on the wall. Choosing good parameters for how much force, how many reps and how fast you pace these exercises is all part of load management and what accelerates your return.

If you are stuck with recurring elbow pain that limits your training, give us call!