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Injuries and Medical Advice

Body: Chronic Injury

I have been climbing for 18 years and suffer from different injuries that come and go every year. I am not sure if I need to start doing some cross training (I usually hurt myself when I try) or change my diet, etc.

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I have been climbing for 18 years and suffer from different injuries that come and go every year. Right now I have inner elbow pain that hurts right on the pointy elbow bone. In the past few years I’ve had hurt fingers, elbows, wrists, back, knees, etc. It seems like every time I start getting through one injury, another pops up. I once hurt my back stretching in bed. I am not sure if I need to start doing some cross training (I usually hurt myself when I try) or change my diet, etc.

Jeremy Hensel, Boulder, Colorado

I’ve found out the hard way that being constantly injured is categorically unsuccessful with the Ladies. The mating drive is not driven by empathy. In one particular year I broke ligaments in both elbows, and knees, and sustained multiple fractures in a finger, followed by several more breaks in an ankle. My Hottie wouldn’t even look me in the eye, I was so pathetic. One morning, as I got out of bed, she told me my bum was getting bigger.

That was the year following my graduation, the first year since I started climbing where I was not subjected to an eight weeks’ time-out for exams twice a year. I had blamed this training apnea for not becoming a world-dominating weapon.

Alas, I realized too late that these study interludes actually did me a great service.

Every injury has a pathological flow chart behind it, showing where decisions were made and the breakdown guaranteed. But hindsight is always 20/20. The trick is to recognize the chance of injury — is that niggle in your shoulder getting worse? Does your back feel a little too tight? — and proceed with care. Intuition is your fairy godmother and Discipline is her dungeon master. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and you will be injured much less frequently.

Sorry to hear about your back, man, but it’s your own fault, beds exist for two reasons. Regarding your elbows, read Dodgy Elbows, Rock and Ice, No. 156 (or on www.drjuliansaunders.com/resources/). Regarding your historical ailments, I would bet the deed to my house that your climbing goes in fits and spurts, albeit partly due to injury. You sound super-motivated, but it seems you can’t get into a consistent groove with training. Avoid the ups and downs as much as possible, cross train when you can, and if you are returning from injury, do it slowly.

Here is a good principle that will help with your diet: Eat only things that once lived (and are not part of an artificial nanotechnology cocktail).

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