Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Indoor rock climbing: who gets injured?
  1. D M Wright1,
  2. T J Royle1,
  3. T Marshall2
  1. 1University of Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, University of Birmingham
  1. Correspondence to: Mr Marshall, Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, The Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK t.marshall{at}


Objectives—To determine the frequency of overuse injury in indoor climbers, the common sites of such injury, and the factors that influence the probability that a climber will have sustained an overuse injury while climbing indoors.

Method—A semisupervised questionnaire was used to survey overuse injury in 295 spectators and competitors at the Entre-Prises World Climbing Championships held in Birmingham 3–5 December 1999. Statistical analysis included simple cross tabulations, calculation of odds ratios, and multiple logistic regression to explore the effect of several factors simultaneously.

Results—Some 44% of respondents had sustained an overuse injury, 19% at more than one site. The most common site of injury was the fingers. Univariate analysis showed that the probability of having sustained a climbing injury is higher in men (p = 0.009), those who have climbed for more than 10 years (p = 0.006), those who climb harder routes (p<0.0005), and those who boulder or lead more than they top rope (p<0.0005). The relation between lead grade and climbing injury is linear. Multivariate analysis removed the effect of sex as an independent predictor.

Conclusions—Many climbers sustain overuse injury. The most at risk are those with the most ability and dedication to climbing. Climbers should be aware of the risk factors that influence injury and be able to spot the signs and symptoms of injury once they occur.

  • rock climbing
  • overuse injury
  • pulley tendon

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.