Tag Archives: climbing injury

The 5 Stages of Mourning a Climbing Injury

injury 2

…and the cycle of injury begins again. Photo by @mariaenglishteacher

Periods of injury can be trying for climbers. You may feel a range of new emotions that are difficult to understand. You are not alone. The Kubler-Ross model, most commonly applied to grief and loss, can also be observed in injured climbers during climbing withdrawal and recovery. These 5 stages are meant to guide you through your grief process, better equipping you to cope with your injury and loss of climbing. Proceed through your journey with an open heart and remember your injury is as unique as you are.

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Climber Problems: Elbow Injury


Courtney Sanders putting those elbows to the test.

Got aches and pains? We’ve got Kristen DeStefano, our physical therapist, to the rescue!  Today she talks elbow pains, and how to deal with ’em.

The outdoor climbing season is in full swing now, and you’ve been getting after it every week with gym sessions, hang board routines, and campus boarding in between. What you might not realize is these repetitive and high stress movements are a killer on your elbows. When it comes to climbing, whether you are a lifer or a top rope hero (What Kind of Climber Are You?), chances are your elbows are going to start to ache at some point in your career. Don’t worry! You’re not doomed. Here’s what could be going on.

The elbow is a joint made up of the lower part of the humerus and the upper ends of the ulnar and radius, which make up the forearm. Four movements can occur at this joint. They are flexion (bending the elbow), extension (straightening the elbow), supination (turning the palm up), and pronation (turning the palm down). At the lower end of the humerus, you will see two bony prominences on either side. These are called the medial epicondyle (on the inside) and the lateral epicondyle (on the outside). These areas serve as muscle attachment sites, and therefore can be common spots for injury, particularly in climbers.

Elbow 1

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Climber Problems: Shoulder Injury


We ask a lot of our shoulders while climbing, so don’t forget to give a little back to em’.

Today our friend and favorite physical therapist Kristen DeStefano is back! Last time she gave us a lesson on the A2 pulley strain and now she’s filling us with knowledge on shoulder injuries. The shoulder is a complicated place, so get comfy and prepare to be schooled.

The shoulder is a very tricky and complex joint. Injuries to this joint are not only extremely common, but can be disabling to climbers, even during their daily routine. Research shows that 20% to 30% of the general population is affected by rotator cuff pathologies, which only becomes more prevalent and disabling with age. So, when those nagging shoulders are slowing you down at the crag, or you’re just trying to stay healthy, here are some helpful tips.

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How To Deal When You’re On The Injured List

Learning how to climb with one foot.

Learning how to climb with one foot is kind of like learning to climb for the first time.

The worst part about being injured is not the pain, but the mental game.  I have been at times overwhelmed, in tears, thinking about the setbacks, how long it will take me to get back to where I was, and how much I just plain miss climbing, and the climbing community.  I was just starting to get super psyched on bouldering outside. That was new for me and it felt satisfying.  Then I made one dumb mistake doing something I’ve done a hundred times.  I just needed to jump 2 or 3 inches further back and I would have been fine.  Instead, as I was jumping off this problem, my left foot didn’t land completely on the crashpad, and it hit part of the boulder.  In a second, my ankle was fractured, and my life was very different.

I’ve never had an injury before.  As you may recall about me, I’m the “newb”.  I have never really been athletic in my whole life, very much the city gal, and certainly have never injured myself (unless you count, like, breaking a nail as an injury).  So, having no idea what I was in for, for the first week, I was surprisingly positive.  I watched Courtney Sanders’ video about training with her ankle injury a bunch of times, and read up about training while injured online.  There are a number of inspiring stories like this one, or this one, or great tips, for example from pro climber Steph Davis on how to train when you have to stay off one leg.  And from Evening Sends on how to not be annoying about being injured. Having armed myself with knowledge, I was feeling upbeat, and thinking to myself that this was going to be a great opportunity to focus on other aspects of fitness, and that I would get back to climbing, barely missing a beat.  Well, I’m here to admit that isn’t exactly how it’s been going.

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Climber Problems: The A2 Pulley Strain


Cate’s pulleys hard at work.

Today we’re tackling one of the most common climbing injuries: The A2 pulley strain or tear. To school us on on the topic we’ve recruited our friend and ladies climbing night regular Kristen DeStefano, who happens to be a super knowledgeable physical therapist and badass climber to boot. Read on for how to protect those hard-working and under-appreciated A2 pulleys.

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Interview with Beth Rodden

Beth Rodden on the FA of Meltdown, 5.14c (unrepeated). © Corey Rich. www.auroraphotos.com

Over the last few years, Beth Rodden, arguably one of the best climbers out there, male or female, disappeared from the pages of climbing magazines and blogs. During that time she battled a cycle of injury, surgery, and re-injury, as she attempted to make sense of the sport that debilitated, captivated, and catapulted her. In the last year, after sculpting, chipping, and remolding herself, Beth has emerged as a different kind of climber.  In her redefinition, Rodden embodies the role of ambassador, designer, storyteller, nutritionist, traveler, and writer. She’s broadened her inspiration from an aesthetic, unclimbed line in Yosemite, to include her granny, a food revolution, and contentment with sending a climb she might have previously warmed up on. Crux Crush was fortunate enough to talk with Beth as she reflects on her personal evolution, as well as the transformation of climbing as a sport. We’ve shared the full interview below as well as some beautiful pictures from the talented Corey Rich. Enjoy and climb on!

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