Michelle

8th Feb 2016

Question:

Since you had to take time out of climbing due to injuries I would like your advice having recently dislocated my elbow, I am keen to get back into climbing but equally don't want to rush things incase I do more damage, I am seeing a physio but feel he is over cautious with his advice.  Not climbing is frustrating, so do you have any advice or suggestions on what I should do so I can enjoy what makes me truly happy.

Answer:

Bad luck with dislocating your elbow, that sounds incredibly painful!
Firstly, my main piece of advice is when at all possible, try to find a practitioner (in your case it’s a physio) who has a sporting background and interest; in an ideal world they would be a climber too. This will mean they see things differently and will be more willing to work with you on wanting to climb rather than just flatly saying no.
It is possible that due to your specific injury, you need to follow the advice to the letter But if you got a second opinion, it may be slightly different and more flexible on what you can and can’t do.
We sports people can be terrible at underestimating things and getting ‘back to it’ too quickly, which usually means setting back the injury even more. It is sensible to heed advice but I also think you’re right, there are some physios who will just give you the textbook solution, without thinking laterally a bit and working round an injury if it’s very important to you.

The other thing to add and it’s probably obvious but try to root out anybody who has suffered a similar injury and grill them on what they did to recover. If you can’t find anyone to talk to face to face, there are plenty of climbing forums out there and I’m sure you aren’t the first person to have done this.

The best thing to do is to arm yourself with as much info as possible and then you can not necessarily treat yourself but you can enter a treatment plan with your eyes wide open.

I hope it recovers well. As I said don’t rush it, a few weeks/months now doing the correct rehab, will mean years of climbing to come. But if this stage isn’t done properly, it could mean years of problems and long term pain.

Finally, if you can’t climb at all, you can do weights for the other side of the body to keep things topped up. And getting out in the fresh air either running or walking does wonders for blowing away the blues...