Our newest member of staff has written a piece on injury prevention – take note ahead of this weekends Winter Boulder Series Final!
Having seen a few articles about injury prevention around and having injured my shoulder recently it seems a good time to write a few tips for avoiding injury, and if it happens, treating it before it worsens. The main points regarding injury prevention are simple but still often get overlooked.
Warming up is something everybody knows they should really do however is something lots of people miss out in exchange for getting straight on routes. Getting into the routine of warming up in 3 stages; pulse, stretching and climbing specific, will help prevent injuries and allow you to further your climbing. 5 minuets are needed to raise your heart rate after which some stretching (preferably dynamic for a warm up) prepares the muscles, tendons and joints. Any static stretches should be performed for less than 10 seconds as longer than this can start to decrease the muscles reflexes. After this a period of low grade climbing gets the body ready and can be used to practice foot or body work. After your climb a cool down period and some static stretching will decrease recovery time.
Another key cause of injury is over training, or over specific training. Muscles and particularly tendons take time to recover between training and if they don’t get this they will weaken each time and the chance of major damage increases. If you train in specific ways you will build up uneven muscle groups and these can pull joints out of line. Making sure you have adequate rest days and varied training will avoid this.
Even with doing both of the above injuries will happen, sometimes from bad technique over time, sometimes from a fall or slip, and sometimes from just pushing yourself hard. When it does happen the one thing not to do is to try push on through as this will inevitably lead to a longer-term injury that requires a much longer recovery. The most common injuries are shoulders, elbows and fingers as these take a large amount of the impact climbing.
If you feel muscle pain, static stretches (try stretching the opposite motion to climbing, abduction instead of pulling in) and rest should solve the problem quickly. For tendon/joint pain rest and sports massages should ease the problem. For any advice on improving your techniques to avoid injuries feel free to talk to James Hunter, on free coaching Tuesdays. For any queries about climbing aches or pains James also runs a Shiatsu Works for sports injuries.
By Seth Ford