Forearm pain after climbing (Read 1189 times)


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Forearm pain after climbing
August 19, 2023, 01:56:09 am
Bit of a weird one that I haven't been able to find any information online about. Will try to get to a physio when I can but just wanted to check if anybody has any ideas...

Fairly often when I sport climb at my limit, around 6 hours later I get the worse pump imaginable in my forearms. Certain route styles seem to aggravate this more than others, latest one is a 25m vertical crimpy route that is infamously pumpy.

The pain in my forearms isn't a normal pump you get from climbing, it is normally painful enough to wake me up in my sleep, and I've had it last up to two weeks (though more commonly it lasts a couple of days). The pain is deep in my forearms and making a fist or opening my hand is agonizing when it happens. My hand feels locked in a half open position.

Stretching out the forearms (and ibuprofen gel) normally helps to alleviate it.

I've had it happen after only climbing a single pitch, so didn't seem related to the quantity of climbing (though definitely related to intensity). It has happened today after two goes on a route I'm trying. I didn't feel trashed or anything when at the crag but have just been woken up by the pain in my forearms at 3am  :thumbsdown:

Thanks in advance (also hello, have been lurking for years but this is my first post)


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#1 Re: Forearm pain after climbing
August 19, 2023, 08:55:18 am
Definitely sounds like something to get checked out, especially to rule out

My uninformed guess/what I think sometimes gives me pain in the body of my forearms would be inflammation/irritation/tightness of tendon/tendon sheath/nerves. When warmed up and climbing could imagine it 'functions' but is then exacerbated by the additional inflammation/trauma from climbing/when it stops moving (eg when asleep).


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#2 Re: Forearm pain after climbing
August 19, 2023, 10:10:37 am
Does not sound normal to me. This is the kind of thing a good generalist doctor should be well equipped to figure out. A blood sample to evaluate your nutritional status would probably not be a bad idea.


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#3 Re: Forearm pain after climbing
August 19, 2023, 11:45:24 am
Thanks guys, will visit gp next week.


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#4 Re: Forearm pain after climbing
August 19, 2023, 03:11:16 pm
If you get any tingling or numbness in your hand it is probably some variation of compartment syndrome (eg Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome,, although this typically happens during exercise rather than 6h later. If the hand sensation is normal then it might be harder to figure out a way forward, but ensuring adequate hydration and electrolytes would be the first obvious thing. If you're on any kind of restrictive diet that could certainly have impacts.

Do you do any other intense exercise of other muscle groups to compare whether this is limited to your forearms?

I'd have thought some blood electrolytes would be the first test a GP would do (maybe some general screening tests like ESR, CK) and obviously they'll advise you to stop climbing. If initial tests normal and assuming you want to keep climbing, further testing might be beyond the average GP.

Good luck, and let us know.


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