Body

  • Broken Hand
  • NSAIDS: To Use or Not to Use
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  • Hand: Arthritis
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  • Body: Pain Meds vs Sex
  • Appendectomy and Climbing Training
  • Body: Injury Truths
  • Body: BPA and Waterbottles
  • Body: Bouldering for Bone Density
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  • Back

  • Lumbar Bone Spurs
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  • Abdomen: Muscle Tear/Hernia
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    No items found.

    Shoulder

  • Thoracic Musculature Tightness
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  • Dodgy Elbows Revisited
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  • Do Compression Sleeves Work?
  • Elbow: Tennis Elbow
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  • Elbow: Tendonosis
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  • Elbows: Minimizing Fingerboard Injuries
  • Elbow: Medial Epicondyle Tendonosis
  • Elbow: Stress Fracture
  • Elbow: Pain and Hangboarding
  • Wrist

  • TFCC Tear
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  • Wrist: Klienbock's Disease
  • Wrist: Ruptured Tendon
  • Snap, Crackle, Wrist
  • Wrist: Fractured Scaphoid
  • Wrist: Instability
  • Hand

  • Broken Hand
  • Hand: Hook of the Hamate Fracture
  • Fingers: Everything You Need to Know About Finger Stress
  • Hands: Dupuytren's Disease (lump in palm)
  • Hands: Numbness and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fingers

  • Swollen Right Index Finger
  • Pinky Numbness
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  • Hand: Arthritis
  • Finger Numbness
  • Fourth Metacarpal Break
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  • Freezing Fingers Today, Benefit Tomorrow?
  • Cysts in Fingers
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  • Fingers: Everything You Need to Know About Finger Stress
  • Fingers: Hyper-extended
  • Fingers: Cysts and Pain
  • Fingers: Cracked Fingertips
  • Fingers: De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
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  • Fingers: Torn A2 Pulley
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  • Leg

  • Leg: Achilles Tendonitis
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  • Knee

  • Outside Knee Pain: Tibiofibular Joint
  • MCL Injury
  • Blown Knees
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  • Knee: Rockfall Causes Lump
  • Knee: Chondral Injury of the Lateral Tibial Plateau
  • Leg and Knee: Broken Femur and Shattered Kneecap
  • Knee: Ruptured ACL
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  • Knee: Synovial Cartilage Damage
  • Ankle

  • Osteochondral Talus Fracture
  • Knee Tendonitis after Ankle Fusion
  • Snapped ankle tendon
  • Possible Death of the Talus Bone
  • Broken Talus Bone
  • Ankle: Loud Pop Ankle Roll
  • Feet

  • Bunions
  • Dr. J Attacks Fungal Toenails
  • Feet: Broken Foot
  • Feet: Gout and Pseudogout
  • Feet: Toe Fracture
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    Hand: Arthritis

    02-Jun-2015
    By

    Rustam Gelmanov gives his all. No way around it, climbing takes its toll on joints and tendons, and can cause the onset of arthritis, especially if you overdo it or are injured while still relatively young. Photo courtesy of Bernhard Fiedler. I’m 28 and have sport climbed for 10 years. I push myself hard but have taken most of the last year off. Since April 2010 I have been experiencing degrees of pain in the base of my thumbs—mostly my right thumb. I’ve talked with two hand specialists and X-rays indicate that the joint spacing in my hand is good, but I was told that I am developing arthritis and should quit climbing. If it seems like it is arthritis, is there a way to be sure, and what is the next course of action?

    —Injuredclimber, Rock and Ice Forum

    Our opposable thumbs rather than our intellect differentiate us from the mass of the animal kingdom. As a result the joint suffers considerably by way of wear and tear, and is typically the first joint to succumb to arthritis. That said, gee whiz, you’re a bit young for age-related dilapidation!

    A few metabolic disorders, such as gout, can cause the formation of crystals inside the joint, resulting in arthritis. These, however, tend to involve more intense relapsing and remitting pain as well as considerable inflammation, none of which you have mentioned.

    In all likelihood your doc is on the money with his or her estimate of the situation, at least from a conservative perspective, i.e. the likely worst-case scenario is early stage osteoarthritis (OA). It is more common to see signs of joint degeneration such as a narrowed joint space or bone spurs by the time you feel the symptoms, but that is not always the case.

    An Australian climber, “John Doe,” who in retrospect was probably the first to onsight 5.14a (5.13d at the time of his ascent), has the thumb dimensions of a button mushroom. I have never seen him use his thumbs since they are of no functional length.

      Solution: Don’t do pinches, drink fish oil like it’s the elixir of life, and traction your thumbs like you are milking a cow’s tits.


    This article was published in Rock and Ice 199 (January 2012).

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