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Rockclimbing And Tendonitis

Jan 16, 2008
There are many risks to rock climbing. Some of them are more serious than others and some of them are downright uncommon. However, there is one common risk that many rock climbers overlook, the risk of chronic tendonitis. Tendonitis is a real problem that many climbers experience and because it seems minor at the time they will try to climb through it, eventually making their situation worse.

Tendonitis

The condition is called tendonitis because it is quite literally the inflammation of your tendons. It can happen essentially anywhere in your body and often results in more severe injuries if ignored. The tendon is the fibrous tissue that connects your bones to your muscles, meaning if you fail to treat it, you are weakening the essential connection between parts of your body. Tendonitis can occur in your shoulders, forearms, elbows, or fingers while climbing and is usually the result of overexertion or repetitious motions such as using a specific hold over and over again.

Tendonitis Symptoms

For those suffering from tendonitis, the symptoms are often similar, regardless of where it strikes. First, you will notice a sharp or persistent, achy pain. It might become tender and start to swell, followed by a restriction of movement in the area of the injury. Weakness in surrounding joints will usually follow.

For climbers, the most common and affective form of tendonitis is in the fingers. Finger tendonitis results in sharp pain in the affected finger or fingers along with a lingering pain that shoots upward to your elbow.

Why do Climbers Get Tendonitis

Tendonitis is so common among climbers that you can probably expect to suffer from it at least once every couple of years if you train often. Medically, tendonitis is a result of overuse, repetitive and sustained exertion, awkward sustained postures, insufficient recovery times, and cold weather.

All of these are common circumstances for a climber, someone who is often overexerting themselves in awkward positions and cold weather. It is no wonder then that climbers contract tendonitis so often.

Treatment

If you do suffer from an inflammation of one of your tendons, you must step away from climbing, resting your affected body part, while icing it for at least 24 hours and as long as 48 hours. In addition, you should apply heat after icing to relax the muscles. Add an NSAID pain killer such as ibuprofen as well to reduce swelling. Tylenol works in some situations, but is not nearly as effective as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Long Term Problems

If you do not deal with your tendonitis quickly, it can start to become worse and will eventually cause you your tendons to weaken, resulting in a possible tear. If your tendonitis does not subside or lessen within two weeks, you should visit a doctor and discuss your situation for more pointed treatments, including physical therapy, prescription strength drugs, ultrasounds, or medical injection to reduce inflammation. If your tendonitis gets bad enough it may even require surgery to repair tendon damage.

Tendonitis is a serious condition that can eventually cause long term damage if not handled correctly and quickly. For a climber, this can mean the end of a hobby or lifestyle. Take care of your body and ensure that if you start to feel the pain and discomfort of tendonitis, it is dealt with in the right manner.
About the Author
Tony Brian is a freelance writer for outdoor sports magazines and a contributing writer for paintball accessories specializing in climbing and Tendonitis.
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