Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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Book Review: "One Move Too Many..."

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One Move Too Many…How To Understand The Injuries And Overuse Syndromes of Rock Climbing is written by Thomas Hochholzer and Volker Schoeeffl, and edited by Sam Lightner Jr. It’s a tight and tidy 230-page paperback book published by Lochner-Verlag that addresses the afflictions of persons who “free climb” on rocks. The sport of rock climbing has its fair share of unique afflictions that are addressed in this book, which is the first English version of the German book Soweit die Häne Greifen. In the Introduction, it is noted that this version has been edited with more of an American/British slant.

Having written, edited, and read many books on all aspects of outdoor, wilderness, and sports medicine, I found this one to be very informative and at times even entertaining. It begins with a section on “Anatomical Basics.” Sometimes it seems that precious real estate on the pages is taken up by photos of climbers rather than with more useful anatomical drawings, but who can resist the opportunity to portray the love of the sport rather than a dry illustration?

Although the book is written for laypersons, there is much to recommend in it to medical professionals, who can always use a refresher in anatomy and physiology. In circumstances like the explanations of tendon sheaths and pulleys, the authors cross the line into more technical medical jargon that makes this book more useful to the medical professional. In the section on Injuries, there are graphic descriptions, but not always complete therapeutic recommendations. For instance, why show a picture of pus draining from beneath a fingernail without an explanation about what it represents and how best to treat?

Furthermore, I take issue with some of the recommended therapies, such as disinfecting open wounds with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or povidone-iodine (Betadine). These agents are not recommended for routine open wounds, so (assuming that nothing was lost in translation) some clinicians will not agree with all of the offered advice. The authors do much better on the orthopedic injuries, sprains, and strains. The photos of injuries are gory – terrific! There is some attention paid to injury prevention, which is always welcome.

The section on “Overuse Syndromes,” which is very complete, leads into discussions of the “Medical Aspects of Training,” “Stretching and Muscle Development,” “Rehabilitation,” “Taping,” “Nutrition” and finally, a wonderful section entitled “The Next Generation…,” which discusses the medical impacts of sport climbing activities on youngsters. What a great idea. We have our children perform all sorts of strenuous activities on athletic fields and in other exhausting venues without giving much thought to the sequelae. These authors have not forgotten that we reap the injuries and afflictions that we sow.

In summary, with the caveat that this book is not meant to be a medical self-help volume, I think it probably belongs in the library of every person who seriously pursues the sport of rock climbing. Because injury prevention is implicit and explicit in the writing, the reader comes away with an enhanced understanding of the rigors and risks of the sport, not in a discouraging fashion, but in a way such that he or she is informed and hopefully inspired to become better conditioned and prepared for the inevitable mishap. 

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Tags: Climbing High , Products

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.

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