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Injury in traditional and sport rock climbing.

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University of Connecticut, Integrated Residency in Emergency Medicine, Hartford, USA.


The objective of this study was to compare patterns of injury found in traditional rock climbing with those found in sport climbing. A questionnaire was administered to rock climbers by mail, in person, and via the World Wide Web. Injuries that occurred while rope-protected climbing on rock were analyzed regarding the anatomical location and the mechanism and activity at the time of injury. Ninety-four climbers reported sustaining an injury while rope-protected climbing on rock. Most injuries occurred while leading and involved the upper extremity, especially the fingers. Falling was the predominant mechanism of injury on traditional climbs, and stress over a joint while attempting a difficult move was the most common mechanism on sport climbs. Potential for injury prevention lies in teaching climbers to recognize the limitations of the fingers as weight-bearing structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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