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Common Climbing Maladies & How to Prevent Them

Aug 18, 2007
If you pursue climbing as a hobby, then you would need to weigh its pros and cons. Unlike any other hobby, climbing demands extreme endurance, which may not come easy for many. Gymnastic and technical ability is a prerequisite, but neither of these are a avoid injury. Foresight, continuous practice and wearing the appropriate gear can help you prevent injury. Given below are few common maladies that occur while climbing:

High Altitude Hypothermia

Climbing in cold weather conditions can be life threatening, especially if the activity involves ascending high altitudes in wet and windy conditions. Hypothermia is a hazardous condition that occurs at high altitudes. A person is said to be suffering from Hypothermia, if his body liberates heat faster than it is produced. Hypothermia forces the constriction of blood vessels and increases the release of hormones, which is insufficient to maintain the body temperature. In such a situation, the core temperature of the body falls below 95 degrees F with the person losing conscious and slipping into coma.

Hypothermia shows a range of symptoms such as numbness of fingers and toes, exhaustion, slurred speech, shivering, violent or irrational behavior, stumbling, lethargy, muscle cramps, dizzy spells and violent bursts of energy.

Prevention of Hypothermia would demand some precautions. You would need to dress in layers; a combination of good insulating materials like silk, wool and new artificial fibers like polyester and terrycloth can withhold the heat. Headgear is mandatory as majority heat loss occurs through the head. Additionally, you should include simple sugars in your basic meals as generate body heat quickly.

Dehydration

While ascending from low level to high altitude areas, you may find change in air pressure and thickness. Sometimes, climbers might sense shortness of breath with an increase in heartbeat due to lack of oxygen.

In such areas, you may even become dehydrated due to absence of water content in the air and constant sweating. Dehydration occurs when there is a loss of electrolytes of potassium and sodium in the blood. Extreme dehydration through electrolyte imbalance can be seen through confusion and disorientation. In such cases, it is vital that you should consume more fluids especially water (approx. 3 liters per day).

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder pain that occurs due to intensive climbing is a consequence of injury to the rotator cuff or the biceps tendon where it attaches. In such cases, you would need to determine whether the pain is a result of biceps or rotator cuff tendonitis.

Rotator Cuff and Bicep Tendonitis- Tendonitis is a muscle over-exertion injury and causes excruciating pain when the shoulder muscle is sore and has not been warmed up. In case of bicep tendonitis, the pain is in the lower region and to the front of the shoulder. The only cure is self-healing and a recommended 4-6 weeks recuperation period to strengthen muscle groups.

Common maladies: Injuries caused by faulty rock surfaces

To prevent freak accidents while climbing, you would need your climbing helmet. A climbing helmet protects your head from falling rocks, ice blocks, tree branches, or other debris.
About the Author
Rock Climbing Wall manufacture Extreme Engineering is a leader in Rock Climbing Walls. Check out our new Spider Zone Climber at http://www.extremeengineering.com.
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