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Dear Climber

The problem you are experiencing is a common one and there are a number of factors, including your age, frequency and intensity of use and indoor vs outdoor climbing.

You may have sustained an acute injury or possibly developed tendonitis. Triceps tendonitis-like I sustained last year and am still dealing with-is quite common. Repeat or overuse is a problem for us, especially as we tend to use our muscles in a very unbalanced way.

Bouldering is great for building strength but also really hard on the body. Likewise, climbing in the gym a lot (you didn’t say how much indoors you are doing) is also hard on the fingers and body in general as it tends to be quite gymnastic in nature. Injuries are very common. And I can vouch for the fact that as you get just that bit older, your body will be less forgiving of gym exploits and bouldering.

I went to see a sports doctor who also looks after the Eagles and he quite cheerfully told me that as you get older and keep doing the same activity that previously never caused a problem, issues like tendonitis crop up. And tendonitis will tend to run whatever course it’s going to-in my case he said 12-18mths. It’s important not to aggravate it because you can certainly make it worse. This doesn’t mean not climbing but it does mean being careful. I certainly wouldn’t be bouldering at the moment. Stretching like you are doing is really important generally.

The only person who can tell you whether you sustained an acute injury or if it may be more of a chronic problem is a good sports GP who may refer you to an elbow specialist (surgeon). Not because you need surgery but because often they are the ones who can tell you exactly what’s going on and how to manage it. You may benefit from physio or other rehab with specific exercises etc.

Hope this helps. I would suggest that you have it checked out by a reputable sports doctor. Opinions about how to manage these problems varies a bit as well.

If you want to discuss further then please feel free to email me at cawa@climberswa.asn.au.

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