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General Climbing Discussion

Climbing with a fused ankle

1:44:55 AM
Has anyone had any experience or know of anyone that has climbed with a fused ankle, and has any ideas of the limitations and the major issues that go along with the loss of mobility in the ankle joint in regards to climbing?

As seems to be the want of surgeons and doctors I've been told that my climbing days are over. I've been thinking about it ALOT (especially now that I'm almost healed and the potential for climbing is mere months away) and I don't really see how it would stop me from climbing, there will just be certain things that will be difficult to do.

Anyway if anyone has any info I'd appreciate the input..

11:59:38 AM
My climbing partner had a little skiing accident last year. Had a nice steel thingy wedged into his ankle. He climbed on it. Well in fact. The major problem he had was scraping the steel rod on the wall/rock.


12:11:23 PM
I know of one climber with a badly damaged ankle. I don't know if it's technically fused or not, but it was pretty well rooted after a nasty fall at an indoor gym. He was dropped a fair way on lead, hitting the ground. Ouch.

I was talking to him about it a few months ago. he still climbs, and I seem to remember him saying that yes it does restrict him, but he finds ways around most of it.

Come to think of it, I know another guy who had an ankle fused after a mountaineering accident. I think he was glissading while wearing crampons. I don't know why that's bad, but aparrently it was. He seemed to climb very well with it, although he didn't like slabs at all. Still, having a medical excuse for not liking slabs sounds like a fine outcome to me.

If you're getting negative advice from your medical team, you might want to consider seeing someone who knows something about climbing. Most medical professionals simply have no idea what it is that we do. I saw a great physio following a shoulder reconstruction. He is a climber and a skiier, and had a fantastic grasp on how the injury would interact with climbing. Let me know if you want his details.

Cheers, and best of luck,


12:23:39 PM
My guess is that Tim is refering to Julian, as in:
Athlon Sports Medicine - Melbourne based osteopath. Who better to treat your injury than Dr Julian Saunders, who pulls down grade 31 or more himself.

12:55:31 PM
I remember watching a guy called Phil Steane lead a route with calipers on both ankles, and making it look pretty easy (it was a grade 22 if I recall corectly). I remember reading in a profile that his injury involved him taking a fall, and having the trigger of a friend pierce his spine resulting in partial paralysis.....nasty. Anyway, im guessing the calipers which support his ankles keep them pretty rigid, and he seemed to climb ok, so as long as your ankle has some strength when it has healed, hopefully a loss of motion might not be the end of th world. Good luck.

1:12:05 PM
G'day Andrew,

I guess we could consider Elaine who climbs without a leg!!! I think your right, there will just be things / moves which are difficult, but climbing is all about using technique to improve your ability to conquer gravity; you'll be just starting from a slightly different place than everyone else.

Hope to see you around some time,

Cheers, Richard

1:41:25 PM
That Elaine chick sure sounds inspirational ...
The main limitation will be your attitude, (if you let it).

Any physical limitation would apply more to free climbing than aid climbing, so if you still want to get to some radical places invest in some etriers!

Donut King
2:25:53 PM
was that the same guy who was profiled in ROCK a few issues ago?

The articel was quite good, and goes to show that a fused ankle should NOT stop you climbing.

Hey Mike I dont think Julian would like being called a phsio...inst he an osetopath?
But regardless I'm sure Juleian could help the guy with the fused ankle, he is a top bloke

2:51:27 PM
Mick Hampton has a very nasty destroyed semi-fused ankle from a fall at Araps many years ago. It dosn't seem to stop him from bush bashing into endless Grampians crags and doing new routes.

3:42:45 PM
>My guess is that Tim is refering to Julian, as in:

I wasn't referring to Julian actually, although I have been treated by him and would recommend him without hesitation. I was actually referring to a bloke called Stuart Imer, who works out of South Yarra Physiotherapy Centre. Ver very experienced in outdoorsy sports injuries.


3:47:15 PM
Yep the article was definitly in Rock at some stage in the last year or so.

There are 11 messages in this topic.


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