Rock and Ice-Climbing Medicine

  • Volker SchöfflEmail author


Rock and ice climbing diversified from mountaineering with various forms of activities, such as sport climbing or deep water soloing. The overall climbing performance is depending on physiological factors (e.g. finger strength, BMI), mental capability and technique. Climbing sports can be performed from a young age up to a very advanced age. The overall injury rate is low, with most injuries being of minor severity. Nevertheless the risk of a fatal injury is always present. Both injury rate and fatality rate vary from the different subdisciplines performed and are the lowest for indoor climbing, bouldering or sport climbing. They are naturally higher for alpine climbing or free solo climbing. External factors as objective danger through, e.g. wind chill or rockfall add to the risk. Most injuries and overstrain are on the upper extremity, mostly at the hands and fingers. Climbing is known to be beneficial for both the musculoskeletal system and the mind. It is used in physical therapy, behavioural training and similar social integrational activities.


Alpine climbing Bouldering Climbers’ back crash pad Competition climbing Deep water soloing Extensor hood syndrome FLIP-syndrome Ice axes Ice climbing Ice screws Indoor climbing Lumbrical shift syndrome Pulley injury Rock climbing Sport climbing Tenosynovitis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sports Orthopedics and Sports MedicineKlinikum BambergBambergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic and Trauma SurgeryFriedrich Alexander University ErlangenNuremberg, ErlangenGermany
  3. 3.Medical Commission UIAABernSwitzerland
  4. 4.Medical Commission IFSCTurinoItaly

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