My 16 year old son has pain in his wrists, possibly tendonitis, from rock climbing?
My 16 year old son is an avid rock climber.
He has been climbing for over a year, and is in love with the sport. The past few months his wrists started to bother him. He describes the pain as either pins and needles or a deep/sharp ache.
He is a very healthy kid, eats great, and is active. He is moderately lengthy and skinny (5’9”, 130 lbs) and his wrists are very small; if that could be somewhat of a contributing factor to his pain. The coaches at our local climbing gym said he would “climb out of it”.
He has discontinued climbing for the past month and the pain seems to be getting worse and not better. He says that they feel better when he is involved in some sort of activity that he has to use his hands (climbing, swimming, surfing, etc).
We have briefly been ice dipping. He has been ice dipping 20-30 times the past 5 days.
Some days his wrists feel better, some days they feel even worse.
A friend of mine said that it could possibly be carpal tunnel, but he does not have any numbness or tingling in his hands or fingertips.
My suggestion is that it could be tendonitis.
He’s getting really frustrated cause it is taking so long.
Do these kind of injuries take a long time to heal?
I am interested in buying your dvd but I am curious if you could help me or give me any advice or tips that could speed up the healing process.
Should he be taking any specific supplements?
Should he be doing any strengthening exercises?
Should he go on with his daily activities or minimize everything? As much information as you can give would be greatly appreciated.
p.s: We read of another boy who rock climbs on your blog who seems to be suffering from the same thing. You said it might be because of his protein and magnesium intake. My son has a high protein consumption and takes a daily vitamin that contains 300 mg Magnesium.
Hello Michelle. Thanks for caring enough about your son to get involved.
Ok, so where to start.Some thoughts, then some questions.
1. "Climb through it." Maybe. Makes me cringe a little bit though. It's either that this is new for him and he will adapt to the stresses placed upon his system by rock climbing, or the stress is overwhelming his system's ability to grow and compensate and he'll hurt more/hurt himself more if he keeps climbing.
2. It's definitely a Tendonitis
dynamic, whether or not there is any actual tendon damage.
Sometimes the muscle is SO tight that it causes the kind of pain you talk about. Which isn't good for the tendon.
Could be he started in too fast and stressed his tendons, which freaks out the immune system and then makes the muscles SO tight that they hurt.....
3. "Do these kind of injuries take a long time to heal?"
It depends. Maybe. Too many factors to tell, but overall, left to their own devices, yes. Let's go with "This is going to be an ongoing problem unless you learn how to reverse it now."
4. As I recall, that other climber kid never responded back, so I'm glad we can continue. Rock climbing and wrist pain, and hand pain, and forearm pain, etc, is a rich topic, and a lot of people are suffering.
5. He feels better when keeping his hands active because that creates circulation, and literally keeps things loose(r) and mobile. I'd say don't climb, but do keep his body active.
6. Strengthening exercises? There's not much more strengthening than hanging from a rock by your fingers...
In other words, no. :)
7. I wouldn't worry about the small wrists thing. That's pretty much an urban myth.
8. If/when you get a DVD, I'd go for 'The Tennis Elbow Treatment That Works'
over the Carpal Tunnel option.
9. Rock on on the ice dips. Keep at it for the near future. His response is good clues for me/us.Questions:
1. If he doesn't have tingling in his hands, where does he feel the tingling?
2. Where does he feel the deep ache?
3. He's 16, so I'm assuming he eats lots of food...say more about how much protein he eats in relation to everything else.
4. Where in California are you, in relation to San Francisco?
5. When he started climbing, did he ease into it or jump into it? How hard/often did he climb all that year?
6. Did he have any ache/soreness etc before this started hurting?
7. Did this pain come on slow, or come on fast?
8. Do his fingers/wrists curl forward at night?
Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expertwww.TendonitisExpert.com