Rock Climbing Hand Injuries
Bollen and Wright studied the x-rays of the hands
of 36 rock climbers (mean age of 31). The x-rays of the climbers revealed that
17 of them had osteochondral cysts and 14 had osteophytes.
In addition, the climbers tended to have greater cortical thickness and
scalloping of the neck of the proximal phalanx. (Bollen, S., Wright, V.
Radiographic changes in the hands of rock climbers. British Journal of Sports
Medicine. 1994; 28:185-186.) All of this means that rock climbers get proliferative
arthritis in the finger
joints because ligament
injuries to the fingers are so common among rock climbers. Sprains,
ruptures, and chronic attenuation of the collateral ligaments of the finger
(PIP) joint and the thumb metacarpophalangeal joints occur in rock climbers.
PIP joint collateral ligament injuries predominantly involve the long finger
and occur during a maneuver known as "dynoing," meaning rapid
ascension of a rock face. As the climber ascends rapidly past a pocket in the
rock in which his or her fingers
are placed, a finger can become trapped and bent, stretching the ligament
to the painful area is what the rock climber should consider to not only
heal the current painful condition, but also to help prevent osteoarthritis
from developing long term.
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