I was privileged enough to be at the BMC injury Symposium this year, both as a participant and a speaker. It is a biannual event where climbing injuries and issues are presented and discussed by a number of interested parties from different areas of the climbing and medical world. We were very fortunate to have Volker Schöffl and his wife Isa – the authors of the original and fantastic book “One move too many”, and they presented a number of excellent sections on injuries, surgery and impacts of training on younger climbers. They spoke eloquently and with great detail on their areas of expertise and we all took a lot away from the descriptions and photos of Volkers surgery. He also showed some excellent studies into what treatments were helping what kinds of injuries and gave useful insight into a surgeons mindset when looking at various types of diagnostic images.
We had an excellent demonstration from Waqar Bhatti as to ultrasound imaging techniques when looking at and diagnosing tendon and pulley tears. He had a number of volunteers get their fingers ultrasounded, and it was great to see the difference between a non-climber, an old, broken climber, and Steve McClures fingers. It has to be said that the expertise on show here was fantastic, and after speaking with another radiographer, the techniques on display were rather unique and not something that just any old imaging technician could do.
Other talks included the use (and indeed overuse) of water in climbers and sports people, and it was suggested that Tim Noakes new book “Waterlogged” was a very good read for those interested in the subject. Surgical and physiotherapeutic measures for shoulder tendonopathies and pain were looked at by Volker and Charlie McCall, a taping workshop featuring Tom Randall (and daughter) was very educational, though apparently I need to work on my thumb loop – Isa Schoffl also took us through some more therapeutic taping measures, as opposed to simple protection measures.
Gary Gibson and Robert Bradshaw Hilditch gave two excellent and entertaining presentations about podiatry and the forces involved in shoes and feet within the climbing community, ranging from the sizing issue, right through to general foot pathologies that are normal for them to see. Open handed vs crimp vs slack 3 finger pulling was looked at by Stewart Watson, and the Austrian climbing team osteopath Klaus Isele gave an interesting workshop on fascia, stretching and reciprocal inhibition.
We were also treated to a keynote speech by John Dunne in the evening, giving us a great insight as to how his climbing career progressed even through the course of several injuries and episodes of surgery.
Our lecture was on Soft Tissue Therapy and climbing injuries – giving an overview of injuries, healing times, what affects the healing process, fluid mechanics, physiology of overuse injuries, trigger points and how soft tissue therapy, myofascial release and dry needling help with the rehabilitation process after injury and their role in injury prevention. If you’re interested in the notes drop us an email and I can give you a better idea of the content.
The expertise covered a vast amount of medical area from arthroscopy to rehabilitation to helping the next generation of climbers not damage themselves through their enthusiasm for the sport. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and I would go to another one in a shot. Highly recommended.