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atb


Jan 31, 2013, 10:00 AM
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youth climbing and injuries
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I realize there is no clear answer to this question, I'm just looking for educated opinions, especially from climbers who started out pre-teen and are now past puberty and still climbing.

I am not a climber myself but my 9 year old daughter is. She has been climbing casually for several years and recently joined a climbing team at the local gym. She really loves the sport and always wants me to take her climbing when we have free time. On average she climbs 3 times a week at the gym for a total of about 5 hours and she pushes herself pretty hard. She prefers top rope and can climb 5.10 according to her coach. This fall she started participating in local bouldering competitions and enjoyed that a lot too. I am so happy she has found a sport she really loves and it is a lot of fun to watch her improve.

All was rosy but then I stumbled across this article:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...articles/PMC2658987/

In reply to:
Based on injury data, climbers younger than 16 years should not participate in international bouldering competitions and intensive finger strength training is not recommended.

The section titled Injuries to pubertal climbers' hands was particularly worrisome, for example:

In reply to:
No single trauma was associated with any of the fractures. Repeated micro-traumas causing fatigue fractures to affected area were suspected.

In reply to:
The long-term effects of high impact and stress on the finger joints of young climbers cannot be predicted, as there are too few longitudinal studies to understand whether such changes may lead onto the early onset of osteoarthritis.

So my question is, should I be concerned? Is 5 hours a week not enough training for this to be an issue? There are other kids her age that train almost every day so obviously there is a big range and the article does not define how much training is considered intensive or excessive.

I have told her that she should just be having fun, enjoying the sport and not worrying about competitions. I also told her she should let me know right away if she ever experiences any pain in her hands or anywhere else but so far she has not. Is there anything else I should do?

Thanks for your advice.

Adam


(This post was edited by atb on Jan 31, 2013, 11:57 AM)


Syd


Jan 31, 2013, 12:22 PM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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It could be worse:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSc_Gxq1two&feature=player_embedded#!

Top roping in the gym, the worst injury she's likely to get is blown pulleys ... which will blow her career as a concert pianist.


atb


Jan 31, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Re: [Syd] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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I'm not so worried about the safety of the sport in general, just it's effect on pre-teen bone development. Has anyone ever seen problems like those mentioned in the article?
Attachments: sm34827.f2.jpg (101 KB)


gblauer
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Jan 31, 2013, 1:38 PM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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I got my kids involved in the sport when they were young. My son suffered a growth plate fracture in two of his fingers while bouldering. They required surgical repair (pinning).

Climbing can be tough on growing bodies...ask her about pain in any of her joints...it could signal potential issues. Follow up if her pain gets worse.


kiwiprincess


Jan 31, 2013, 2:18 PM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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I have seen a teen girl who's fingers were Curling. She was Training to a programme including pull ups etc.That is NOT ok

I think as long as she rests if theres any swelling or pain , Kids don't seem to pay much attention to that so you'll have to check her.
Don't let her wear her shoes too tight- This cripples older climbers.

There is a book called "one move too many" written about climbing injuries by two doctor/ climbers and there is a chapter called the next generation in it.
They do lots of studies and have statistics from german climing teams
A quick summary keep away from Campusing, adding weight, Extreme bouldering, too many dynamic moves and constant crimping

I think a real danger is that climbers talk about weight etc alot and would advise you are there also, so you know what she's being exposed to body image wise.


shockabuku


Jan 31, 2013, 9:03 PM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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Have you talked to your child's coach about it? Any decent youth coach should be aware of these issues and organize the training program appropriately.

I have two daughters who started climbing on a competitive team at the ages of 14 and 11. Both have been pretty successful to include one climbing at the youth world's competition. Neither of them have had any significant finger injuries. One had a finger problem before she started climbing from gymnatstics. They've been through 4 different teams.

I see boys who train themselves, and overtrain, and don't have the sense to stop when things hurt, incur significant injury at a somewhat alarming rate. Generally, with girls, and with teams with decent coaches, it doesn't appear to be a problem.


atb


Feb 1, 2013, 7:56 AM
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Re: [shockabuku] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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Thanks everyone for the thoughts. I wish there was a clear answer but I didn't really expect one. I will speak to her coach next and see what he says.


Shanna


Feb 12, 2013, 1:28 PM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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New article from Eric Horst at DPM, titled Kid Crushers- training youth climbers, provides general guidelines for kids and training. Link:
http://www.dpmclimbing.com/articles/view/kid-crushers-training-youth-climbers


(This post was edited by Shanna on Feb 12, 2013, 1:28 PM)


kiwiprincess


Feb 14, 2013, 2:13 PM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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I sent you a PM with a summary from Book

Reccomendations:

Get an annual Orthapedic check up
Rest if pain,swelling or reduced motion.( check her regularly)
Stretch and warm up, eat well.
No Campus
Crimping alot is most likely to cause injury.
Comfortable fitting shoes
Be around to Monitor Pressure on her.


(This post was edited by kiwiprincess on Feb 14, 2013, 2:16 PM)


atb


Feb 15, 2013, 5:41 AM
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Re: [kiwiprincess] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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Thanks so much for all the information! I talked to her coach and he thinks she will be safe at her current 4-5 hrs/week, probably closer to 4 really. He thought injuries sometimes showed up with kids climbing twice that much. I might print out your summary to show him and get his opinions.


DouglasHunter


Feb 22, 2013, 2:44 PM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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This is a area of sports science that is not well understood by anyone. That being said, at no point should your daughter engage in the use of a campus board, finger board, climbing with extra weights. Those are the things that are most likely to cause problems.

Also if you are scientifically minded you should seek out the research done by Thomas Hochholzer who has studied youth climbers. Also, while not climbing specific a book like Children's Exercise Physiology by Rowland can provide a lot of good quality information regarding general issues concerning kids and sports, but it is written to the sport science audience so if you don't have some knowledge of sports science it might be a difficult read.

One other thing, a lot coaches push kids toward difficulty very fast without much emphasis on movement skills. Make sure that your daughter's coach is emphasizing skill development and not just pushing difficulty. This will go a very long way to keeping your daughter safe. Ideally her first couple of years climbing will be spent on skill development and not much else.


aerili


Feb 26, 2013, 10:46 AM
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Re: [atb] youth climbing and injuries [In reply to]
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atb wrote:
I have told her that she should just be having fun, enjoying the sport and not worrying about competitions. I also told her she should let me know right away if she ever experiences any pain in her hands or anywhere else but so far she has not. Is there anything else I should do?

Thanks for your advice.

Adam

Hi Adam,

I have a professional background in exercise science and training and your attitude is exactly right about "how" to promote and engage kids in physical activity --> focus on fun, not competition. It doesn't mean they can't be competitive/compete, but the ultimate goals should not be about winning and performing.

You are right to be concerned about injury as well. Climbers seem to think young people never get injured because they just recover so quickly, but it ain't the case.

Edited to add: I feel uneasy personally trusting coaches to know how much is too much. A lot of coaches know little to nothing about training well. Also, they certainly don't follow their players long term to know outcomes. So keep that in mind. But it's good to bring up your concerns and keep them aware.

Lastly, someone suggested "stretch and warm up". Stretching (statically) IS NOT a warm up. You want tissues (especially in the upper body) to be stiff, not compliant, for climbing. Stretching will not help this. Stretching is not known to prevent injury anymore, either. Dynamic range of motion exercises are okay, however.

I would only recommend stretching once your daughter has climbed enough to start feeling pumped. Static forearm and finger stretching can help ease pump more quickly.


(This post was edited by aerili on Feb 26, 2013, 10:52 AM)


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