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lunate bone necrosis - aka kienbock's
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Mar 1, 2011, 11:24 AM
Post #1 of 3 (1316 views)

Registered: Jul 27, 2007
Posts: 24

lunate bone necrosis - aka kienbock's
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i've just been diagnosed w kienbock's disease ( its a degeneration of one of the wrist bones, the lunate due to lack of proper blood flow. no one knows why it happens and its rare.

what is so troubling, tho, is the doc said the one phrase i am really unable to accept: i might not climb again - ever. i thought people on this forum might be able to relate to the gravity of those words for me. and maybe offer advice or a story of friends recovering. i'm trying to build up positive thoughts to battle the struggle ahead...i've already determined i WILL climb again.

i have come to accept a period of time without climbing. but i can't imagine a life without it. i still want to climb hard, climb 5.12, aid climb the nose, denali...these were realistic goals before yesterday.

please please save any nasty or negative comments. it's not the place for them.

thanks climbers!



Mar 1, 2011, 5:48 PM
Post #2 of 3 (1264 views)

Registered: May 12, 2003
Posts: 71

Re: [cgalitsky] lunate bone necrosis - aka kienbock's [In reply to]
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Having endured avascular necrosis of the talus and eventual fusion in my ankle, I sympathize with your condition. Lifeís not fair, and thatís that. But Iím skeptical of the assessment that youíll have to quit climbing.

It sounds like your doc isnít a climber or isnít even in tune with the competitive mindset of athletes, including climbers. Consider working with someone else. Find an orthopaedic surgeon who skis, rides a bike, runs, surfs, or maybe even climbs. Tell that person youíre willing to do what it takes to keep doing what it is you love. The two of you can plan from there.

If it comes to surgery, the post-operation downtime is going to have the potential effect of dropping the level of difficulty you can tackle. You might think about training strategies to minimize this or you might think about shifting your goals. Is climbing at a difficult grade such as 5.12 as important to you as, say, climbing some of the classics that are a grade or even a few grades easier? Maybe shifting your focus will bring you to a more comfortable place.

You also mentioned Denali, suggesting that you have some mountaineering goals. There are a lot of challenging summits that only require one tool. So maybe you want to think about how youíre going to maintain a self-arrest instead of whether youíll be able to lead WI5, M6.

Finally, itís okay to lean on your friends. Surround yourself with good partners, people who will help you keep upbeat about what it is youíre climbing at the moment. Be honest with them about how your wrist is doing. Simultaneously, be realistic about what you feel itís safe and reasonable to attempt at the cliffs. The point is for you and your partners to keep communicating and to have fun.

Best wishes.


Mar 1, 2011, 6:04 PM
Post #3 of 3 (1260 views)

Registered: Oct 3, 2002
Posts: 2824

Re: [cgalitsky] lunate bone necrosis - aka kienbock's [In reply to]
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Sorry to hear about your condition. I can tell you that most of us have some type of obstacle (medical, balancing work, free time etc) and our only choice is to find away around them.

Listen to your doctors, listen to your body, explore new ways of doing things, adapt to the "new" you and you will find your way back to climbing.

I speak from experience; I have been diagnosed with extensive arthritis in my feet (toes), not fixable and now arthritis in my fingers, also not fixable.

I still love to climb and have managed to adapt (I am not saying it was easy) to my new reality. I don't climb in the gym as often as I did (I used to go 4x per week), I do other fitness activities (winter hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing) and go to a personal trainer to improve my overall strength. When I do get outside or indoors to climb, I cherish the time, knowing that it's limited.

Good luck!

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