Finger growth plate injuries are the most common youth climbing injuries. The purpose of our study was to understand youth awareness of the most common youth climbing injury and safe training practices. We surveyed climbers, ages eight to 18 years old, at the 2017 USA Climbing Sport and Speed Youth National Championships. A total of 267 climbers completed the survey (mean age = 14 ± 2.7 years; 52% male). The A2 pulley injury was reported as the most common youth climbing injury by the largest portion of participants, 36%. The second most commonly identified injury was at the growth plate of the finger, 15% of participants, which was reported as significantly less than the A2 pulley injury, p < 0.001. Six percent of climbers reported the correct safe age to start double dyno campus board training. Roughly 18% of athletes identified growth plate injuries exclusively as a stress fracture, whereas 29.2% of those climbers self-reported as informed about finger growth plate injuries, but only 7.4% of climbers who self-reported as uninformed answered this question correctly. Misperceptions about skeletally-immature climbing injuries are prevalent amongst youth climbers. Education on the prevalence of finger growth plate injuries and the scarcity of A2 pulley injuries in youth climbers can increase diagnostic accuracy, improve care, and reduce long-term complications.
Keywords: epiphyseal fracture; finger injury; growth plate injury; perceptions; rock climbing; youth.