Incredible India

Incredible India

If you have never been to Mumbai before it is probably quite a flash in the beginning. The noise, crowds, cars, TukTuks, food, the smell (which definitely takes some getting used to), the monsoon, the completely different culture – all these experiences at temperatures beyond 30 degrees. To focus on the competition is possibly nowhere harder.

Some climbing teams brought their own food and only ate in their hotel rooms in order to stay healthy. Team Austria has been in Mumbai last year already, we’ve found a very good restaurant which we attended every evening. Indian food at its finest!! So incredibly good!

Medical view

Watching the athletes during the comp I noticed that many climbers are on their range-of-motion limit: stretching out in order to barely reach that volume on the other end of their physical possible range. This complex variations of the sport and the tendency to injure big joints still seem to be a big topic.

For the competitor the main health issue here in India is nevertheless food poisoning. Most athletes were scared of getting a bad diarrhea, which some of them actually did. But it happened less than last year, when India hosted its first Worldcup ever. Team Austria was fine though – no food and injury issues.

Cultural differences

A female competitor from the Islamic Republic of Iran suffered from shoulder pain during the qualification, however she made it into semis for the first time. Treating her at the muscelus deltoideus combined with more rotator cuff muscles allowed her to move nearly pain free in the physiological range of motion. The shoulder was stable after the treatment. I told her to see an expert in Iran, after the comp.
The treatment itself was nothing new. But treating a woman from the islamic Iran in a hotel room definitely was. In order to avoid cultural differences we organized that she was accompanied by a female friend. In the hotel lobby there was one additional person, a man who was always by their side, to make sure that the women of the Iranian Climbing Team behave according to the social rules of Iran. That means they are not allowed to remove their headscarf for example. Back home in Teheran there are even certain times when only women train in the climbing gym. Of course they also wouldn’t be allowed to see a man in a hotel room. But in this case it was a medical issue, the patient was not alone and so they made an exception. The climber was really thankful that I could help her so that she could climb her fist semifinals. And I was happy because she performed well and I got the best safran from Iran. 🙂

Severe case and fun times in Vail

Severe case and fun times in Vail

It is already a pleasant routine to fly to Denver, to train one day in Boulder before heading up to the town of Vail. On this trip we missed Anna Stöhr, who decided to do the asian tour and skip the comp in Vail and the next one in Mumbai. But two others had their tenth anniversary of being here in Vail – climber Katharina Saurwein and coach Heiko Wilhelm!

With the first daylight and a jetlag we went fishing at 5am to serve the team with breakfast before 8am. No fish unfortunately but the coffee and donut afterwards were a known reward 🙂
For me it was again an inspiration to see how motivated the young crew of climbers is whom we are traveling with.

Medical view

The town of Vail is situated at around 2500m altitude, the air is very dry and with the sun out it can be very hot. All this, the jetlag and quite a high bouldering wall result in special conditions. So Vail seems to be one of the physically most challenging competitions around the season.

Severe case?

This time one of our climbers described severe stomach ache right after the qualification round. She had problems with walking, pain and described shortness of breathing at the same time. Back in the hotel I did a brief check on her. In the meantime her symptoms were:
Strong back pain and stomach ache, dry lips, she felt sick and was nearly vomiting. The stomach ache was described as “cramping”. It got worse as we did some steps together. Breathing was still a problem.
These symptoms could seldomly but possibly result from cardiovascular system problems. If this would be the case, I as an osteopath can not provide the right medical support. I have to make sure that she gets the best care, which means bring her to a hospital (know your limits!).

In her history there was a medical check up earlier due to partly similar symptoms, the result showed no limitations on her health. Nevertheless I was already asking for a transport to the local hospital in Vail to get urgent care.
At the same time I treated her in order to get the balance Sympathicus – Parasympathicus reaction.
And I made her drink a sugary soda. After that I worked slowly on both of her psoas muscles to calm them down.

The treatment worked out. We did not have to go to the hospital.

My diagnose

A cramping psoas syndrome and a strong sympathic reaction, both things could be a possible result of the competition circumstances (see above).

One other very positive thing changed in Vail. I see an increasing number of physiotherapists, kinesiologists, chiropractors traveling with climbing teams. It is about time! Maybe this is also one of the first olympic greetings!?

Big in Japan!

Big in Japan!

Japan has a very welcoming and friendly culture! I love it 🙂 The hecticness in Tokyo happens in a silent and friendly way, that’s just mindblowing. And the food, sushiiii hmmm, so good. When I’m writing this I’m already on my way home, right now in 12 000 m altitude.

Team Austria did well. After trying to climb sick in China Jakob Schubert climbed really well in finals in Japan, ending up on a good 5th place. In bouldering very little differences can decide whether you’re going to make it into finals or not. Anna Stöhr did very well and showed great effort but her ranking does not reflect her performance at all. Unfortunately Katharina Posch, Berit Schwaiger and Alfons Dornauer didn’t make it into semis. Franziska Sterrer and Georg Parma did a very good job as well and could climb in semis. It was a well organized competition with only friendly and welcoming people around us. And the lightshow before the finals was just amazing!!!

Medical Issues

During the qualification swiss climber Petra Klingler found a tricky beta for the last boulder problem. She pulled hard on a crimp with here left arm. While the forearm was rotated she heard a popping sound and felt pain as well as tingling sensation. It would not be Petra if she would let go at that moment… good or not… After a brief check I knew that the neurological status is ok. By triggering the flexor muscles the tingling sensation could be solved. Later on with more time to examine her it turned out that she had a partial rupture of a side ligament on the elbow. Petra was qualified and very psyched to start in semifinal. Taking the higher risk of damaging the ligamentous structure even more, I prepared her as good as possible. That means applying a tape to support her elbow. Well the story continues. After making it in to finals, it was quite a task for me. Because of course there was no doubt that she wants to climb in finals. It was a tough call. I would never decide in such a situation. But I have to guide in a way. That means, we had another talk, check and an even stronger tape than in the round before. And it worked! I have to say that luckily I know Petra already better than most athletes (if not from Austria) because she has seen me in the Therapierbar (my clinic) a few times already. That made our work together and the whole process much easier. When you look at the pic of her in finals, you don´t see the strong supportive part of the tape because I covered it with some kinesiological tape. This was the tape bandage which supported her joint but allowed her to almost bend and extend normal.

Climbers statements on weight and changes in competition

Climbers statements on weight and changes in competition

It’s interesting how bouldering competitions changed within the past few years. It affects the style of bouldering, injuries, nutrition and weight aspects as well as competition rules. Besides the sport gets more and more worldwide attention.

For me as physio this development is of course significant as well. I also want to know what athletes think about these changes so I interviewed some of them. And I also took the chance to ask the chief route setter in Hachioji some questions. Watch the videos below:

 

Back to China

Back to China

This year I skipped the World Cup in Chongqing for family reasons. So my asian tour started with Shanghai, a surprisingly clean and silent city. Unfortunately half of the team already was or got ill (fever, headache, flu), similar to the german team. Nevertheless we took a very comfy and fast train (320 km/h) to Nanjing where the comp took place.

Injuries are changing

After treating the athletes of team Austria I was able to help climbers from other countries, as Valeri Kremer (Israel), Sean McColl (Canada), Ievgeniia Kazbekova (Ukraine), Petra Klingler (Swiss), Alannah Yip (Canada) and Rustam Gelmanov (Russia). Seeing it from a medical point of view, Valeri and her fingerpain-problem might become a rare case. In the past two years more and more injuries on big joints occured, instead of finger problems. Finger injuries are becoming a symptom of the outdoor climber, less of a competition climber. The style of the boulders, meaning climbing on big volumes, running and jumping, less crimping etc. is changing the inury behaviour. At this comp I treated minor muscular aching, sore backs, knee problems, finger as well as shoulder problems. We’ll see what the next comp in Tokyo will bring!

Stuck at the airport in Shanghai I used the time to interview swiss climber and Boulder World Champion Petra Klingler. She’s talking about her life after the World Championships 2016. Watch the video below: