Jerry Pike attended the BMC Climbing Injuries Symposium in Manchester over the weekend of the 26th & 27th November. The meeting brings interested doctors, physical therapists, sports scientists and climbing coaches together for mutual continuing education.
Jerry described the highlights of the meeting as follows:-
Volker Schoffl (German orthopaedic surgeon who looks after the German climbing team).
Spoke on the epidemiology of climbing injuries in his practice, but also on the risks in sport generally.
Overall climbing is a safe sport (despite high perceived risk) with a much lower rate of injury per thousand hours activity (standardised method for comparison) compared to many sports, with rugby the highest risk.
Finger injuries are commonest and mostly involve flexor tendon pulleys. Crimping on small holds produces very high forces, so to reduce injury risk, practice climbing and training on more open hand technique.
In shoulder surgery, superior labrum anterior posterior (SLAP) tears are the most common injury seen. The mechanism of injury was discussed (with video demonstration) and often involves a foot slipping, with shock load transfer to the arm.
Michail Michailov (Bulgarian Sports Academy)
Explained the demands of climbing (and factors in success), particularly in relation to upper body strength, endurance and specific grip types.
He also showed the 3D force transducer equipped finger board that is used to objectively test the Bulgarian climbing squad (with video!).
Interestingly, they hope to make this commercially available with a smartphone app to provide data to allow climbers to train specific aspects of fitness, see real progress, but avoid overload injuries.
I suspect this will become a standard training tool, in the same way power meters in cycling have superseded heart rate monitors.
For a PhD scientist, he was a great advert for his product with impressive strength demonstrated at the Saturday evening boulder session.
Dave MacLeod (BMC climbing ambassador and Sports scientist)
Great talk for the late night Saturday slot, speaking about climbing injuries both from a personal and science based approach. I’ve previously read his first book (9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistake) and currently working through his latest book (Make or break) which covers a lot of the lessons from the lecture.
Inspirational, but also underlines the importance of head v physical strength for hard trad climbing.
Overall, a long but worthwhile weekend both from a professional shoulder surgical educational aspect and personally as a climber wanting to improve.
Author – Jerry Pike
Tel: 07884 349896 Fax: 01420 257003