Rock climbing injuries

Sports Med. 1997 Apr;23(4):261-70. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199723040-00005.


Three-quarters of elite and recreational sport climbers will suffer upper extremity injuries. Approximately 60% of these injuries will involve the hand and wrist, the other 40% will be equally divided between the elbow and the shoulder. Most injuries will be tendonopathies secondary to strains, microtrauma or flexor retinacular irritation. However, up to 30% of these injuries in up to 50% of elite climbers will involve the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) region. These injuries are more serious and consist of varying degrees of flexor digitorum sublimis insertional strains, digital fibro-osseous sheath ruptures and PIP joint collateral ligament strains. Early changes in climbing schedules, stretching and exercise habits, and protective digital taping are necessary to protect and rehabilitate these athletes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Finger Injuries / etiology
  • Forearm Injuries / etiology
  • Hand Injuries / etiology
  • Humans
  • Mountaineering / injuries*