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Is blogging about climbing bad for your tendons? Coping with climbing injuries.

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
3 min read

Chatting with other climbing blogger friends online today, including Tom, Narc, and Jon it dawned on me… we were all trading injury rehab and treatment tips, all morning. Trading links about rehab exercises, frustrations with doctors and physical therapists giving the standard “stop climbing” advice, and links to Dave Macleod’s cold water bath for finger (and maybe elbow) recovery. Steph Davis even chimed in with advice from her M.D. brother. It got me to thinking…

Is blogging about climbing bad for your tendons?

I inquired, out to the universe, whether that could be possible, and the affirmative response came from Ryan in Boulder. Ryan was uninjured, as a climber, until he started blogging at The Boulder Diaries.

I jest, a bit, but it is that time of year, again. We’ve all spent a long winter in the climbing gym, as a sad, sorry substitute for real rock. We’ve been pulling hard, and lifting hard, and working hard to get in shape for our winter real-rock excursions, and, the upcoming training season.

Over Valentines day dinner with some of my climber girlfriends, we sat down at the restaurant and proceeded to spend the first twenty minutes talking about the various experiences we’ve all had with elbow tendinitis and recovery. Climbing Partner has been fighting off some finger injuries… just as his right hand healed, now he’s having trouble with one of the fingers on his left hand. Ever since just before my last Red Rock trip, I’ve been babying my left rotator cuff… and after a good bench and climbing session on Monday, which I should be recovered from by now, instead I noticed this morning that it hurt to lift my arm to shampoo my hair. I’m not worried — I just need to hit on a rehab / balancing / stability routine that helps instead of hurting, and my shoulder isn’t interfering with my climbing. So far. And, goodness willing, it won’t.

I have the world’s best massage therapist (who doubles as an awesome climbing partner), Amy Moorhead, at Old Town Massage in Silverdale (hi, Amy!). But I keep trying to develop a good, healthy, long term relationship with a climbing-experienced physical therapist, since those of us blessed (at least for the moment) with health insurance can benefit from PT early on, before the injuries become too serious. I know, if I could just find a good PT, he or she could help me sort out this little shoulder hiccup in a jiffy. To date, though, I’ve had a hard time finding PTs who are willing to do some homework on climbers and climbing, and have been less satisfied with my climbing-injury-related PT than, for example, my biking-injury-related PT.

If there’s a climbing-oriented physical therapist in the audience, please feel free to post your contact info in the comments so that other climbers can find you.

For now, I’m going to try to find a time to get in with Amy for a massage, and continue my search for a decent local PT, but I’m also going to try to take it a little easier in the gym for the next couple of weeks so that I can really enjoy my Red Rock trip coming up. After that, hopefully I’ll be able to spend much more of my time on real rock than in the gym. While I tend to bang myself up more outside than indoors, I also tend to have fewer repetitive-stress type injuries when climbing out side. Partly, I think it’s because I get a good cardiovascular warm-up doing the approach; and then, I pace myself well through a day outside (something I don’t always do in the gym).

But first, it’s time to ice my shoulder. And, soak my hands in ice water for as long as I can stand. And while I try very hard to not take any kind of pills that might hamper my natural recovery, it’s feeling like an ibuprofen night, washed down with some extra omega-3s and a huge glass of water.

What are your tips and tricks for preventing and coping with injuries? Are there professionals in your community who are skilled and experienced with climbers, who you recommend? Please, share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments, below!

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.