Rock climbing injuries

Sports Med. 1995 Sep;20(3):199-205. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199520030-00006.


Rock climbing has become increasingly popular in the past decade. However, the increased participation exposes a greater number of climbers to potential injury. The risks involved with climbing increase in proportion to the skill-level of the climber: the higher the skill-level, the more hours are required for training and on more difficult routes. The hands are used as tools for the ascent, with much of the climber's weight placed upon the fingers and also distributed through the wrist, elbow and shoulders. The combination of repetitive climbing and the excessive weight-bearing demands of the sport result in cumulative trauma to the upper limbs. Prevention should begin with educating climbers on the potential risk for injury. Although adequate rest between climbs and decreased training when pain is first encountered would aid in alleviating numerous problems, additional search directed towards improving training, treatment and rehabilitation programmes is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Elbow / injuries
  • Hand Injuries / epidemiology
  • Hand Injuries / etiology
  • Hand Injuries / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mountaineering / injuries*
  • Mountaineering / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Sprains and Strains / etiology
  • Sprains and Strains / prevention & control
  • Wrist Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wrist Injuries / etiology
  • Wrist Injuries / prevention & control