Saturday, April 6, 2013

Elbonics Continued

I took almost the entire month of March off from climbing. It seemed like a lifetime.

I rested.

It was so boring I wanted to die. What do people do in the evenings?

I read a book.

It was okay. I considered reading another but that seemed like an admission of defeat.

Anyway I eventually, finally, got more information about my injury. I went back to the doctor to discuss the results of my MRI.

He told me I had "avulsed" my "palmaris longus" off of the "flexor wad."

When I stared back at him blankly he explained that this meant I had ripped a tendon entirely out of my elbow.

It seemed like terrible news to me but the doctor didn't seem to think so. In fact he sounded amused. He said he was rather intrigued by my injury because you don't usually see injuries to this particular tendon.

I was willing to indulge this idle chit-chat up to a point but all I really cared about was the bottom line. What did this mean?

"Oh it's good news!" The doctor said, at long last. "You don't need the palmaris longus. More than ten percent of people don't even have one! You'll be fine. Just treat it like a strain. Wait until the swelling goes down, and then you can go back to climbing."

What a relief.

The doctor sent me to physical therapy, and after my first session the therapist said he didn't see any reason why I couldn't return to the climbing gym. He said I should take it easy.

I promised I would take it nice and slow...

So I've been to Brooklyn Boulders four times in the past week. It is so good to be back. The elbow feels fine now. But I am trying to take it easy. And I am avoiding the crimpiest problems. I am relieved to find that I can still climb more or less the same as before, although I think I need to build my strength back up a little bit.

Tomorrow I am going back to the Gunks for the first time since November. I can't wait. I have many goals for the year, many 5.10 climbs I want to tackle. I have booked a trip to Squamish for early June, so I need to find a way to get in some practice climbing cracks and on granite. I also suddenly feel a strong desire to discover more of what Millbrook and Lost City have to offer.

So many goals, but for now I am just thrilled to be going climbing again.


  1. Four times in the past week! Way to take it slow! Just kidding -- very happy for you that you recovered relatively quickly. Good luck as you continue to come back.

  2. Thank you. It still feels okay so I think I am lucky indeed.

  3. Take it easy. Your injury need to heal 100% before you get back to your routine. For now, continue your physical therapy, until your injured elbow is fully recovered. Don't push yourself, or you might never get back to climbing ever again.

    1. Hey thank you for your concern. It has been several months and it has been fine, knock on wood.