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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Jul;26(7):739-44. doi: 10.1111/sms.12505. Epub 2015 Jun 24.

Risk factors of hand climbing-related injuries.

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Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
EA 3450 DevAH - Développement, Adaptation et Handicap - Faculté de Médecine et UFR STAPS, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France.
Laboratoire d'Analyse de la Posture, de l'Equilibration et de la Motricité (LAPEM), CHU de Nancy, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France.
EMGO + Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of general practice and elderly care medicine, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Cabinet de kinésithérapie, Barcelonnette, France.
Institut Lorrain de Formation en Masso-Kinésithérapie (ILFMK) de Nancy, Nancy, France.


This study aimed to investigate the protective mechanisms or risk factors that can be related to the occurrence of hand climbing-related injuries (CRIH ). CRIH (tendon, pulley, muscle, and joint injuries) were retrospectively screened in 528 adult climbers. The questionnaire contained anthropometric items (e.g., body mass index - BMI), as well as items regarding climbing and basic training activities (warm-up, cool-down and session durations, number of session per week, hydration, practice level, climbing surface, and duration of the cardiovascular training). Higher skilled climbers and climbers with BMI above 21 kg/m(2) were more likely to have experienced CRIH (P < 0.01). Climbers with BMI above 20 kg/m(2) were more likely to have tendon injuries while those with a BMI above 21 kg/m(2) were more likely to have pulley injuries (P < 0.01). Skilled climbers, who climb more difficult routes, may use smaller grip size and a reduced number of fingers. Higher BMI will require a higher force to climb. Both high level and elevated BMI may increase the demands to the hands and fingers leading to CRIH . These risk factors are difficult to address as we cannot recommend the climbers to climb easier routes and decrease their BMI below 20 kg/m(2) .


Climbers; fingers; risk factor; traumatology

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