Wrist injury (climbing) – advice needed.

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  • #61126

    I’m needing some advice on a wrist injury. My left wrist is very crunchy – feels inside the joint (Radius Locality I think). I mostly feel pain when climbing using pinches and slopers (particularly when my thumb is out). I’ve been to two physios and one Osteo over the last few months. They can’t seem to pin point a particular muscle or tendon. Feels close to the joint – orig I thought it was closer to the ulna. They don’t think it’s anything major.

    Background – I was following TFTNA for 7 months and was quite pleased that I had shown restraint and was getting stronger and fitter without injuries.

    I moved house 5 or 6 months into training and my Box (for step ups, Bulgarian splits etc) was of a different height. The change in setup (too-high) contributed to straining my hip flexor and also getting sore lower back. Coupled with running heaps.

    All felt quite minor but long story short I ramped up my bouldering (once per week to 2-3 times) to compensate for skipping some strength sessions and I picked up my wrist injury. No particular injury caused it. But climbing my hardest over subsequent sessions was making it worse.

    Osteo just hurt – a lot. And after two sessions “realised that it wasn’t just that it needed loosening up”

    Physio has had me doing wrist extensions and curls. Plus stretching. He said I could climb so long as pain is only 3/10 and doesn’t linger afterwards. I tape my wrist for support.

    I followed their advice. I can now do wrist extension with 4kg but still very crunchy (feels nasty but pain is manageable). After the injury I could barely do 1kg.

    The improvement since has plateaued and I’ve stopped the physio sessions as the massage wasn’t really doing a lot and the prescription was to keep doing what I’m doing. After some research I have also started doing rice bucket exercises along with the stretches. I get pain (very manageable – near radius) when rotating left wrist (in rice) anti-clockwise 360 degrees (pain from 4-3 o’clock.) clockwise is fine.

    Would love to gain some insight from anyone who has experienced this before.

    My training has suffered a lot. Kind of written off this season



Posted In: Injury & Rehab

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    david_spittle on #62056

    MRI results attached.

    GP referred me to an upper limb specialist. That’s booked in for three weeks time.

    Any idea if I should continue my physio exercise?

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    david_spittle on #62058

    MRI report attached

    Thomas Summer, MD on #62116

    Hi David!

    Looks like your wrist is just stressed too much. That’s also what’s shown in the MRI.
    I would be carefull with the exercises. Better stop them for some days. Do hot and cold contrasts and gentle traction to the wrist (gentle pulling at your hand).
    Good that you see specialist.

    All the best!

    david_spittle on #62192

    Thanks Thomas. I decided to take a break until my appointment.

    Hopefully it will mend.

    Pete Dickinson MS,PT on #63076

    Wrist grip strengthening can also be accomplished with suitcase carries, light bottoms up KB carries.

    david_spittle on #66096

    So I’ve had three appointments with a surgeon to discuss.

    Step 1 – I went back to a brace for six weeks (he said that proper rest was probably one thing I hadn’t tried – fair comment). I still used my wrist but I kept it on religiously for day and night and dropped all climbing and strength training. Doctor also said that the physio I had been doing probably hadn’t been helping with it mending (mainly the wrist extensions could have been aggregating it).

    Result: No difference apart from reduced range of motion and what I perceive as the associated pain from trying to mobilise it again. Was worth a try though.

    Step 2 – removed brace and received a steroid injection into back of the hand.

    Didn’t really notice much apart from perhaps I could mobilise it more and arrive back at the same feeling/ discomfort as before I saw the surgeon.

    Step 3 – he said leave it for another few months and then go back in July. He said I can return to activities but try not to do anything where it may impact palm to ground type thing. Also take it easy. Basically back to where I was at the start.

    Doc said he wouldn’t bother with another injection. He said he could have prescribed it to the scaphoid lunar directly but the one I had to back of the hand would have worked if it was going to as it spreads around.

    Doc also said an anthroscopy would be the way to fully determine the problem. He also said he has a policy where he doesn’t do one without also doing a procedure. Such as burning the muscle to create scar tissue to shorten it. But that said – he’s never really diagnosed the problem with much conviction to make me feel confident that this will solve the problem.

    I’m at a loss really. At least I can scramble again and I’ll prob do some easy trad again soon. My ego never really lets me go easy bouldering so I’m going to put that one off for a while if I can.

    My wrist couldn’t handle a pull up (I tried yesterday)but I think I need to start something similar to what Pete suggested. To strengthen the supporting muscles.

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