Preventing climbing injuries
There are a number of actions that you can take to help prevent injuries from occurring in the first instance, or stop them from escalating into major problems.
Warm muscles are able to respond to sudden changes in load and length more readily than cold muscles, so it is advisable to develop a routine to adequately increase the temperature in the appropriate muscles prior to activity. This is most easily done by doing light exercise to the point where you are lightly sweating (a temperature increase of approx one degree Celsius). Read Amanda's article for a more in-depth look at warming up and specific warm-up exercises.
The purpose of the cool down is to return your body back to its normal resting balance as quickly and as smoothly as possible. After strenuous or prolonged muscle work this will require slow relaxing stretches in key areas to prevent long term shortening of muscles and loss of movement e.g. fixed flexion of the fingers.
Rest is your body's recovery time, if the tissues have been suddenly overloaded or repeatedly loaded over a long period of time beyond the capability of that tissue it will show signs of stress, and if pushed further may well become an injury. This is the time when appropriate rest to allow the tissue to recover and adapt is most valuable, listening to your body can be a significant factor in injury prevention.
If three days of rest or alternative activity has not had the desired effect on your niggle, make an appointment to see a sports practitioner
This regime is generally used if there is any injury; the acronym stands for the principles of rest, ice, compression and elevation.
the area to prevent further damage, potentially prolonging the rehabilitation process and time out needed.
the affected area. Use ice cubes in bag, proprietary cold packs, a towel soaked in very cold water or a bag of frozen peas (mark the bag accordingly and don't use the peas for food!) Note: if using ice or items straight from the freezer, wrap them in a thin tea towel to prevent ice burns on the skin. The length of time you apply the ice will be dependant on the nature of the injury and the stage of healing. Consulting a sports specialist for advice would be appropriate.
of the injured area is important to help control swelling and limit tissue damage.
the injured area is important to help the return of swelling to the main trunk.
Once the acute phase is past (the first 72 hours) it is important to exercise the area as advised by your sports practitioner and not to over exert it.
Alison Macfarlane is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Sheffield Hallam University and a private practitioner at Hallamshire Physiotherapy Ltd
. She has worked in sport for over 30 years and has worked with many national governing bodies including United Kingdom Athletics (UKA). She was also the physio for climbing Team GB. Her specialist area is the rehabilitation of sports injuries.
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