. 5 Common Rock Climbing Injuries That Involve The Hand & Wrist | Advanced Hand

5 Common Rock Climbing Injuries That Involve The Hand & Wrist

5 Common Rock Climbing Injuries That Involve The Hand & Wrist

Rock climbing and bouldering have gained immense popularity over the years for being a fun and unique way to exercise while also experiencing the adrenaline rush. Alas, they are intense sports that can increase one’s risk of an injury, especially in the hand and wrist.


Aside from the usual scrapes and bruises that most rock climbers would have gotten at least once, more serious injuries that involve the ligaments, bones and tendons of the hand and wrist can occur too.


Here are some of the common injuries to take note of and their accompanying symptoms so you know when to seek treatment with a hand and wrist specialist in Singapore – keep reading to find out more. 


1. Trigger finger


Not just common in golfers, trigger finger can also affect rock climbers due to the repetitive and tight gripping actions needed when climbing. The condition develops when the protective sheath which the tendons glide through becomes thickened, causing constriction and resulting in inflamed tendons. Friction between the tendon and damaged protective sheath will only worsen with frequent climbing and if treatment is not administered. 


When a trigger finger occurs, you may find your finger locked in a bent position, limiting movement and causing pain that interferes with daily activities. Other symptoms to take note of include a small lump at the base of the affected finger, stiffness, pain that may radiate to the hand, and a clicking or snapping sound when moving the affected finger. 


It is crucial to seek prompt trigger finger treatment in Singapore so you can go back to enjoying rock climbing as soon as possible. 


Learn more: What Is Trigger Finger, the Causes & Simple Ways to Prevent It


2. TFCC injury


Another common injury among rock climbers is a Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) injury. The TFCC acts as a stabiliser for the pinkie finger side of the wrist and is prone to injuries, either due to wear and tear or from suffering trauma to the area. In most rock climbing cases, falling on an outstretched hand or overuse of the wrist can cause a TFCC injury


Symptoms of a TFCC injury include chronic pain (if left untreated), instability in the wrist, a limited range of motion, weakness and hearing a clicking or popping sound while turning or moving the wrist.


Hence, visit a hand and wrist specialist early to get your TFCC injury treated. Conservative treatments like immobilisation and taking oral anti-inflammatory medications can help you to manage the symptoms most of the time. 


TFCC injury hand and wrist specialist


3. Finger fracture


Rock climbers need to take note of finger fractures as well, as they are a common injury that occurs from falling from a height and using the hands to break the fall. Symptoms such as pain, swelling, bruising and deformity will usually present themselves quickly and result in a limited range of motion, so it is essential to seek treatment immediately. 


Treatment options will depend on the severity of the finger fracture and how displaced the bones are. Finger fractures can also be associated with finger joint ligament injuries.  

Learn more: The Common Hand & Wrist Injuries Due to a Fall & How to Treat Them


4. Wrist fracture


Like a finger fracture, a wrist fracture can also occur when rock climbers fall onto an outstretched hand. Symptoms include obvious deformity, tenderness, bruising, swelling and severe pain of the wrist. 


Treatment options range from putting a cast on the wrist to surgery so that bones can be placed back in the correct positions. The most appropriate treatment depends on the type of wrist fracture you have sustained, your activity level and the presence of other injuries. 


It is advisable to consult a hand and wrist specialist early so that suitable treatment can be administered to speed up the recovery process. 


5. Flexor tendon tear


Rock climbers use a lot of finger strength to grip onto jugs and this is made possible by the flexor tendons that run from the inside of the elbow, down the forearm and into the fingers. They make bending the hand and flexing the fingers possible.


But a flexor tendon tear can occur during rock climbing too, such as when a finger or thumb is violently pulled away from you (for example, when the belayer makes a mistake) while you are grasping tightly onto a jug. Look out for symptoms like numbness, difficulty bending the fingers and loss of blood flow to the finger. 


Prompt treatment is crucial for flexor tendon tears to repair torn tendons.Visit Advanced Hand, Wrist & Nerve Centre for rock climbing injuries


hand and wrist specialist prompt treatment

Do not hesitate to reach out to our friendly staff here at Advanced Hand, Wrist & Nerve Centre if you are suffering from a rock climbing injury.


Our hand and wrist specialist, Dr Jacqueline Tan, is committed to helping every patient get back to enjoying life again in the quickest way possible. 


Book an appointment today!