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2015 Was a GREAT Year of Videos-


Dr. Lisa worked hard to create many videos on numerous topics. Focused on attaining understanding on anatomy and the important aspects of your rehab that might not have been thoroughly discussed, this is a compilation of our episodes from The Climbing Doc. Regardless of sport, there is something to be gained for athletes of any addiction.


We’re pretty happy to have such a great list… Check out our creations for the past year-



Episode 1:

Finger Injuries: Kinesiotaping vs Climbers Tape

climbing injury taping for stability of pulley tendon pain


Dr Lisa, the local medical provider for USAClimbing in Boulder, discusses why compressive tape is good for new injuries and why it shouldn’t be used instead of climbers tape for some injuries. Also discussed are the how and why of both stability tapes (Athletic Tape). Check out her website at for more info and guides/educational tools/coaching.




Episode 2:

Self-Care: Forearms



Join Dr Lisa, author of Climbing Injuries Solved for a discussion of the basics of elbow self-care for the climber including PNF stretching, and the Pin and Stretch Technique. Learn more at and/or book an appointment at




Episode 3:

Climbing: Intro to Pulley Tendon Injuries.



The basics. Understanding your anatomy and learning how your pulley tendons work to harness your strength to create motion within your fingers.




Episode 4:


Low back Pain and Hip Flexibility.



Learn quad and hip stretches to prevent low back injury and pain with relevant anatomy and theory covered.





Episode 5:


Armaid to the Rescue!


How does the Armaid work? Discussion of why/how and best uses of this tool for maximum benefit. Become a primal climber with a bit of homework!




Episode 6:


Arm Fix: Gear Preview for Forearm Solutions.


Discussion of climbing focused self-care tools, protection of veins and their safety, and the new toys The KnotOut has so kindly shared with us! Buy these tools through




Episode 7:


Overview of Phases 1-4 of Rehabilitation.


Ever wonder what marks the difference between phase 1 and phase 2 of care? Of if you need help from a doctor? This video briefly details what is needed at each phase and what our goals are, especially in the beginning.




Episode 8:

Pain, Natural NSAIDS and Inflammation Control.


Diet can increase inflammation or it can aid us to get your injury under control. Learn a few foods and get on top of your diet to ensure you are doing everything you can to heal quick!




Episode 9:

Chronic Shoulder Injuries and the Big Picture.


Why does your shoulder always hurt? Does your injury come back over and over? Let’s discuss the big picture as to what might the the issue. Regional stability and mobility discussed.




Episode 10:

Forearm Solutions: The Pin-and-Stretch Technique.


Grab a tool and let’s get going! Learn to work on yourself to unload your flexor tendons and to prepare your body for your next climbing sesh! #climbing #selfcare #prevention



Episode 11:


Shoulder Mobility and Rogue Fitness Bands.



Harness the true power of your shoulder by restoring motion and mobility. Produce joint motion in an adhered, tight joint to return your normal ranges of motion. Not for unstable, hypermobile, or injured joints.



Episode 12:


Part 1 Climber’s Tape vs. Kinesiotape and the Finger.

Learn the differences between kinesiotape and climbers tape and learn the why behind the how of application of kinesiotape for finger injuries.




Episode 13:

Part 2- How to tape your pulley tendons with Kinesiotape.


Learn kinesiotape jobs for pulley tendon, collateral ligament, and capsular sprain type injuries. Video one contrasts the difference between the two tapes, video two goes into applications.




Episode 14:

Part 3- Continued Kinesiotaping for the Pulleys and Joints.


The final part of understanding the difference between climber’s tape and kinesiotape and how to apply it. Understanding is the best short cut one can take ;-)




Episode 15:


Forearm Gains with Self-Care Tools.


Learn to work on yourself with tools from your house or fancy tools from your physiotherapist. This video shows you positioning and grows your self-care routine for injury prevention and care.




Episode 16:


How-To Create Tissue Pliability for the Palm, Hand & Forearm.



Many climbers know why they need to use tools (foam roller, tennis ball, etc) but they don’t know HOW. This video, lead by Dr. Lisa, delves into how to warm up your tissues to prepare them for deep work and the reason behind why massage and loosening your forearms and palms is important!



Episode 17:


Increase Wrist Motion with Wrist Mobility Drills!



If you’ve lost wrist flexibility, you have set yourself up for injury and loss of elastic energy to help you climb. Learn what you can do yourself without a gym to get your wrist motion back to where it was before you began climbing. WARNING: Not for hypermobile or previously dislocated wrists, consult your local doctor if you have a wrist condition or pain with this exercise to ensure you aren’t hurting yourself!




Episode 18:


Hand Putty Tip of the Day!



Have a bit of spare time? We can work on our weaknesses by using putty to stabilize the hand and fingers. Just a minute of this a day, 3 days a week and you will be stronger than ever! A lower risk of injury is also likely. Double bonus.




Episode 19:


Wrist taping for Stability and Hypermobility.



Discussion of taping for wrist stability for those suffering from pain and/or injury to the wrist joint.




Episode 20:


Basic Elbow Anatomy and Injuries for the Athlete.


Learn about your elbow. Basic joints and muscle attachments with common climbing aches and pains discussed.




Episode 21:


Creating Ankle Motion: Mobilizations, Stretches and Self-Care.


Learn the application of specific joint mobilizations, triggerpoint therapy, and focal stretches for the ankle region with Dr. Lisa Erikson.




Episode 22:


Pulley Taping Styles…H-Taping vs Swiss (Circular) Taping.



Let’s discuss the differences between taping styles and the benefits/research involved. All you need is tape and a few fingers!



Our focus this week is the finger and the hand- Often as with typing, the average desk job, and with sports such as tennis and climbing, we see an imbalance come into play that can be the precursor of injury. Check out this video and with just a trusty rubber band, begin to strengthen we weak muscles surrounding your palm, fingers and wrist.


Strength begins with stability and flexibility. Without these as an important basis, strong muscles can cause injuries unbeknownst to the athlete. This is why we don’t just strengthen an injury, but we support it and work on our weak regions that integrate with and stabilize the injured region.


Check out our Video:



As with all rehabilitation exercises, first and foremost- Our goal is begin with creating smooth correct motion. We want to first teach normal joint mechanics. From this big beautiful base, THEN we begin increasing difficulty such as reps, weight, or adding in fun dynamic motion. It leads then, that someone shouldn’t be going finger pushups or pulling in a crimp climbing grip unless they have this finger stability.


Dr. Notes:


If you have a finger or a thumb that hyper extends or one that wiggles in an abnormal pattern while you are doing your rehab, try to mimic the other fingers.  In this video, you can see that I am missing a thumb ligament in which the joint is able to move beyond normal. With focusing on it, you can see the joint begin to move normally as I focus on it and begin to smooth out the motion and to try to make the joint smooth and efficient. This is the goal of rehab…The stage needs to be set before the glamor of high reps and high weights. Good luck and have fun!!


-Dr. Lisa



LINK: Finger Strengthening with a Rubber Band



It has been a wild year this year.  My new book, Climbing Injuries Solved has come out 7 months ago now. Bringing great benefit to me as a Doc and to my clinic here in Boulder, the learning continues as it brings in more complex cases. The new diagnostic ultrasound comes out daily at my clinic.  I’m honored it is in many gyms nationwide as well as our own local gym, the Boulder Rock Club. (Thank you for their kindness in newly carrying 5 copies!)


I’m honored in the many new ways I am allowed to learn and to teach every day. As this book has changed my practice from more tennis players and triathletes to climbers,  I’m loving the constant mix and flux from one season of athlete to another. It’s almost ski season and I can’t wait to see what that brings in!



As all of our patients are by referral, I’ve been honestly spoiled by those who choose to send their friends and family to my clinic. With that in mind I’ve been looking for ways to give back to these hard working members of society as many new patients come in from the same referrals time and time again.

Kara Henry, Mary and Bruce Van Allen, Dr. Shane Juenemann, Coach Will Anglin, Dr. Laura Jansen, and Dr. Dan LaPierre are but a few of the faces that come to mind when a patient mentions who sent them in.  (I’m sorry if I have missed your name and you have recently sent me your friends and family…)


The idea of putting something out there to thank these kind community members and peers has been hard for me. How to thank a patient or a colleague? It usually takes 5 mentions of needing to see a doctor (or a dermatologist) before one finally decides for themselves that it might be a good idea. Well, I finally decided to formally acknowledge these referrals and to thank these kind peers for their well wishes with self-care tools. If you know one of these community members, let them know that we are thankful and that we only speak highly of them and their kindness.



I always look for ways to say thank you to our patients who keep sending me new injuries to heal. As a clinician and a long-term student, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the variety of injuries I get to see on a daily basis.  Those that I’ve never seen, I look up or reach out to another provider for. I’ve been blessed with a new diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound machine and it’s been a blast looking at injuries in 3D and finally understanding the clues that without the machine, we can only guess to solve the puzzle.



As our goal this fall is to empower you with self-care ideas and a plan to get better, we want to ensure you have the tools to get you there. For each new patient referral, these community members AND YOU get a nice KnotOut roller OR the pick of the lot regarding any self-care tools you need from our office. Each referral gets you one step closer to having a full kit at home. Believe me, each tool gets in there differently and together you have a whole lot different perspective of your injury and your health.



LifeSport is now up to almost 100 5-Star Reviews… WOW!!! I’m sure someone out there was less than pleased with their care one one day or another but a big THANK YOU to all for your kind words. Helping our clinic to grow is something that we are thankful for…. Please be kind and review our book on Amazon if you have paged through it on our coffee table. If you have been a patient and are satisfied with your care (or even if you aren’t), I could always use a review online via Yelp or HealthGrades to educate another patient on the options that are out their for them.

To you I want my clinic and my care to stand out…It’s a way of giving back to the community and a step in the right direction for health care as a whole.  For those who are unaware, this fall for each new patient you refer into the office (who isn’t a family member), you will be gifted with a free tool.


You Have a Choice of the Following Tools as a Thank You:


-Rocktape kinesiotape in a wide variety of colors!


-Theraband Banding to rehab shoulders or ankles.


-Foam rollers or custom region KnotOut Rollers.


-Hand putty for strengthening and toning.


-Icepacks and Acewraps for your own home self-icing kit.


Thanks for being a patient at LifeSport.



Dr. Lisa Erikson DC


2015- Acupuncture Certified

2015- Rocktape Functional Movement Taping Certified

2015- USAClimbing medical provider

2015- A member of the Access Fund and ASCA donator

2015- Event Medical Specialists teammate




In Part 1, we learned the anatomy of the growth plate, a fibrous cartilage center from which bone grows in the adolescent. After learning about the fracture types in our first article, which type do you think this athlete has? This is the case of a 14-year old male. Presented to my office with a not-so-common climbing related injury, this is the perfect learning situation for athletes, their coaches, and our families alike.


How common are these fractures? They aren’t! 15-30% of the fractures that occur in adolescents/children, they are relatively rare. Most commonly, if a growth plate fracture were to occur, it would most likely be a male and in athletes between the age of 15-17 (males) and 13-15 (females). The closer the athlete to this age range, the more susceptible they are to this injury. Over  15 for a female or 17 for a male? Lucky you, your growth plates are most likely closed and you are not susceptible to this injury in almost all cases.


What Happened to this Athlete?

This athlete didn’t have a fall or any major trauma. His parents said he began talking more and more about finger pain until they finally took him in to see his MD.  After begin sent to his orthopedic surgeon, this young climber was told to stop climbing, at least for a few years and was sent home with the diagnosis of  growth plate fractures in both 3rd knuckles. Let’s discuss diagnosis, treatment and rehab for this unlucky young climber.



First, which fracture type (from Part 1) do you think he has? And I say HE because this injury occurs 2:1 in males as they reach skeletal maturity later and are often climbing harder at that time. To refresh your memory, for the fracture types, here are our options…


A type 2 fracture of the metaphysics and growth plate itself….


A type 3 fracture of the growth plate and the epiphysis or end of the bone…


OR would it be Type 4:

Type 4- The bone above and below the growth plate fractured.


Well, which is it?! Any doctor worth their beans would tell you they need to see a second and/or a third view to be able to tell what type of a fracture this truly is.


The biggest issue that is visible is the displacement of the bone (metaphysis) down into the cartilaginous space of the growth plate. This fracture definitely includes two regions, the metaphysis and the physis or the growth plate itself. The injury could possibly include the epiphysis as well however (and much to your unhappiness) we will not be able to tell on this view alone.


What we CAN see from this view, is that the joint space itself appears to be smooth and relatively unaffected. There appear to be no floating bodies (of the bony debris variety) in the joint space.  If the patient has locking or clicking after recovery, we might recommend a follow-up examination with his doctor to rule them out.


Most likely a Type 2 fracture this could also be a Type 4 if we visualize derangement (or changes) to the bone in the second film  on the joint’s side of the growth plate. We will post the second view as soon as it arrives so we can discuss treatment at length!


Other Possible Diagnoses:


Keep in mind that without x-ray, this injury can also be confused with other common climbing injuries. Don’t freak out if you are reading this and are a young adolescent with joint pain… Your medical doctor will this rare injury out as he or she does their exam.


More Common Injuries Include the Following:


-Capsular Sprains

-Jammed Joints

-Tendonitis/overuse injuries

-Joint infections

-Joint Mice (cartilage floaters)


There is a long list that we go to first before we diagnose with a growth plate fracture. More commonly,  there could be an injury to the joint capsule itself, or the tissue that encompasses the fluid between the joints (much like a plastic bag around the two bones that make up the joint), similar symptoms to this fracture could exist. Pain from a capsular sprain would be more regional and the athlete would feel pain along the joint line instead of on the bony portion of the joint.


Joints that are jammed will also have joint pain regardless of if a fracture is present or not. Hot swollen joints can be the symptom of tissues that need to heal including the surface of the joint itself and the structures between the bones. Tendonitis and other overuse injuries can also give pinpoint joint pain at the point where the tendon crosses over any bony bumps (tubercles) or at the region where the tendon attaches at the bone. The most common stress fractures in runners are where the tendons attach and tug on the bone. This is something to think about.


Overuse leads to inflammation and swelling. Regardless of if an injury is present, your body is telling you one is on the way if you do not listen to it. You can choose to listen to it before a fracture occurs (in the case of chronic acquired overuse fractures such as stress fractures) or you can train through it to see if it goes away…A smart climber has head the saying that there are bold climbers and there are old climbers, but there are no bold old climbers.  ;-)


Care for a Growth Plate Fracture:


This is where your family doctor comes in. If a fracture is visualized on your X-Ray, then more testing and/or a specialty pediatric orthopedic doctor will become involved to ensure the best outcome for your youth. They might do advanced imaging depending on the fracture to ensure proper blood flow continues in the area of injury. If this is the case, your child will likely heal with little to no side effects if immobilized and allowed to heal.


Prevention and the Patient History:


This growth plate fracture in question could have slowly occurred over time. Called a repetitive stress injury, it could have began months prior to when it finally became a fracture. As with other stress fractures, first there is a bone reaction and then the region begins to fail. The parents of this athlete say he had been training aggressively and was currently focusing on systems wall workouts.


For those who aren’t familiar, Systems Wall workouts includes repetitive holds to strengthen core recruitment, movement patterning, and train symmetrical movement patterns.  The holds can be large or small however more injuries occur in the hand, arm and shoulder with smaller holds due to the increased force needed in the region.


If his pain began early, he and his coach could have either changed the hand holds (larger/easier/closer) or decreased the volume or intensity that this athlete was training. The systems wall is just a tool and used incorrectly any tool can cause good or bad. Control, especially self-control is a big aspect in this type of injury. If the fracture occurred suddenly, nothing could be done. If it slowly appeared and the athlete felt pain and continued to climb and/or train through it with no change in volume or intensity of climbing and non modification to allow the region to heal while climbing, it makes sense that this athlete missed out on a window of opportunity.


The athlete was told to take time off but was given no finger brace. This is most likely dependent on what was visualized in the second and third view of the X-ray. In my understanding, we brace all fingers and all joints that have sustained a growth plate fracture. Saying that the athlete needs to avoid climbing until he had reached maturity in that growth plate (Age 17) is a stretch and should be better modified to be: once the athlete is done healing and has done his rehabilitation, he can begin climbing gently and to tolerance letting pain be his guide. The doctor may have seen other driven athletes who continued to injure themselves and this is why he deemed the athlete needed to quit for a few years however this athlete and his family deserve an informed decision. The likelihood that this patient can sustain another fracture in this region is higher than most as he is just entering the period of time when his growth plates fuse. They might be completely fused next year, each body is so genetically different than the next.


Positive on x-ray in both hand/finger region,  the doctor in this case had never seen this exact injury before. This is common. Bilateral fractures almost never exist. This athlete is a special case.


The athlete and the family were told that the area would heal on its own.  This could very well be the case if the second and third views show normal findings. If the bony bit that we see sitting in the growth plate has lost its vascularity, or the blood flow has been lost below the growth plate, this patient could be susceptible to arthritis in the future. With such a small chunk missing out of the metaphysis, hopefully this bit will float back into place and fuse back where it belongs. Only a followup X-ray taken in a few weeks would let us know this for sure.


The quick care of this area is highly recommended in all cases of growth plate fracture. Within 5 to 7 days, healing is already occurring. As this athlete has a chronic case, it might be slow than most to heal however 2 weeks of casting might begin the process effectively. The patient may need up to 6 weeks of casting before basic use such as opening doors and using a pencil are allowed. Climbing might be a few months away yet.


Above all, we need to be sure any fractured regions are aligned, blood flow is correct and any/all immobilization has began. Your basic MD is the beginning of this care followed by a orthopedic surgeon (or a pediatric orthopedic surgeon if surgery is needed). This patient was referred to another pediatric orthopedic surgeon in his area for a second opinion. Most likely his first doctor was correct but without this information in his second and third X-rays, we need to be sure that he is correctly treated as it is likely he will be using his hands at a highly trained level for years to come.


Common Treatments for Growth Plate Fractures:


1. Immobilization- In all cases, immobilization is recommended for the area to heal. The patient is also instructed to avoid using the region and to keep stresses to the area at a minimum while it heals. This can take 2 weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the injury.


2. Surgery and/or Manipulation- The affected area might need to be relocated and/or surgically fixated with small screws. The goal is to ensure proper joint and growth plate alignment and immobility until the region has healed. This might take 2 weeks after the surgery or be up to a few months depending upon the severity of the injury.


3. Physiotherapy- Stability exercises and strengthening are recommended by a local PT to reinforce the injured region and decrease risk of future injury. This could take 12-24 visits depending on the injury.


4. Follow-up(s) with your Orthopedic Surgeon- A follow-up visit is almost always needed to ensure the area is properly healing and that the patient is at maximum before being allowed to return to climbing. If the area is partially healed and the athlete chooses to climb on it, the athlete can sustain a more serious injury.


Long term Side Effects:


Growth Plates can close early in athlete cases where it has shifted or been crushed. These athletes will have less growth in the area of the injury. This is a long term effect. The age of the child, the severity of the growth plate damage, and the location of the growth plate are all factors that will limit the final outcome. If the growth plate is asymmetrically damaged, the region might become crooked or displaced as the uninjured side of the growth plate stays open and does not prematurely close.


Thanks for reading this.

This is an important study as 15-30% of all childhood fractures occur within this region. We worry about growth plate injuries as your medical providers as they can change the rate of bony development if a large enough injury is sustained. With proper treatment, most growth plates heal without long term complications and the young athlete is able to return to climbing without increased risk of future injury.




1. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Injuries. Questions and Answers About Growth Plate Injuries. 2015.


2. Kids Health.Org Growth Plate Injuries. 2015.


3. Info About Systems Walls and Training. 2013.


4. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Growth Plate Fractures. October 2014.


young climbers are prone to fractures of the finger

A growth plate fracture in a young climber.

This is a two part series on growth plates and young climbers. An uncommon injury, climbers and their coaches need to be aware of this possibility when dealing with bony tenderness near the joint line in the young climber.

Growth Plate Anatomy:

An area of cartilage that forms into bone is called the physis or more commonly the growth plate. Rubbery and flexible, it exists only in those still developing into adulthood. The growth plate is located in the zone between the end of the bone (epiphysis), and the long shaft itself (metaphysis), Where the bone elongates with growth, once adulthood is reached, the growth plate ossifies and hardens into regular bone.


Closing once the region has finished growing, they are prone to fracture as they are made of a softer material than bone itself. With trauma or overuse, fractures do occur in this region. 15-30% of all childhood fractures occur in the growth plate region and most commonly in males as females finish growing earlier than males.


Types of Growth Plate Injuries:


There are now 6 classified types of growth plate fractures, each possibly needing different treatment and recovery strategies. Let’s discuss each one so we understand what we are looking at on this patients films.


Type 1- A complete fracture encompassing the entire growth plate, the bone is fractured at a 90 degree angle across and in line with the growth plate. After this fracture the metaphysis is still touching the epiphysis. Unless the blood supply has been damaged to the end of the bone, surgery is not needed. Relocation of the bone might be needed if the bones do not meet correctly after the fracture. Splinting or casting is recommended to ensure proper healing.



Type 2- The most common type of growth plate fracture, part of the growth plate is fractured as in Type 1 however the fracture continues up into the shaft (metaphysis) of the bone. If displaced, this fracture needs to be reset however the likelihood of healing is quite good, especially in the younger child.



Type 3- A rare fracture, this fracture includes the end of the bone (epiphysis)  and runs horizontally across the growth plate. The metaphysis, or long bone is not involved. The end of the bone might need to be realigned for the growth plate to heal correctly. If blood supply is not disrupted and the bone heals in alignment, the healing is ideal and no long term side effects are expected. This fracture could involve joint space damage and is more common in adolescence.




Type 4- This fracture includes the end of the bone (joint affected) and crosses the growth plate to include the shaft of the bone as well. Surgery is commonly needed to ensure alignment of the bony end (which effects the joint space). Unless proper alignment is achieved the healing is poor and improper joint alignment and/or a bony deformity may exist after maximal healing takes place.The epiphysis and metaphysis are fractured as well as part of the growth plate.



Type 5- An impact (crush) injury to the end of the longbone (epiphysis) and growth plate. This injury occurs hitting an object or a fall in which blunt trauma occurs.



A Type 6 also occurs (under the new Peterson classification) but as it rarely occurs with climbing and is most common with major accidents, it is not discussed in this article. For curious minds, it includes Type 4 but the bony fracture debris is missing.




Types 4-6 are the most serious with Type 1-3 healing quite nicely under doctor supervision. Occurring only in those in adolescence or younger, the symptoms of a growth plate fracture are no different than the typical unhappy climbers finger. The main indicator is a young child with a severe unhappy finger or an injury that fails to heal. Trauma is not needed as this fracture can occur with repetitive use in climbing, particularly with hang board, crimps and/or systems walls. If you are even remotely worried about this fracture, timing is everything and you should head in to visit your medical doctor just in case. Please read the Part 2 of this article to gain insight into the care and treatment of the athlete who’s finger is in this x-ray. ;-)



1. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Injuries. Questions and Answers About Growth Plate Injuries. 2015

2. Kids Health.Org Growth Plate Injuries.2015

3. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Growth Plate Fractures. October 2014.



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