Background: The sport of rock climbing has its own spectrum of injuries, almost half of which involve the wrist and hand.
Objective: To examine the incidence of acute wrist and hand injuries in 545 members of The Climbers’ Club of Great Britain.
Method: A total of 1100 questionnaires were sent to current members of The Climbers’ Club of Great Britain for them to detail any hand and wrist injuries sustained to date. In decade years, the climbing grades and time spent climbing at each grade were determined. From these results a total and historic climbing intensity score for each climber could be calculated.
Results: Half of the questionnaires were returned complete. The respondents were almost entirely male. There were 235 wrist and hand injuries in 155 climbers (28%). The climbing intensity scores were significantly higher in the injury group than in those who had not suffered a wrist or hand injury (p<0.05). Finger tendon injuries were the most common injury, followed by abrasions/lacerations and fractures.
Discussion: The most common injuries found in rock climbing involve the wrist and hand. The predominant injury to the hand involves the finger tendons or pulleys. The greater the climbing intensity calculated over a climber’s career, the greater the likelihood of sustaining these injuries.
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