Nasty Feet: What research tells us about ourselves.

Think your nasty feet are alone?

Nope. it's common, almost expected for climbers and today we jump into the nitty gritty of it.

Today I'm excited to present climbing specific research, hot off the press which pairs nicely my Un-Sprained Podcast Episode 25, Nasty Feet which you can listen to here. If you haven't listened to this climbing injury podcast, download it for our next drive to the gym or crag wherever you find your podcasts.

In this article, we hit up the findings of this study. We also discuss the most common foot abnormalities seen in climbers. This includes big toe injuries and stiffness, claw toe deformities, and nail damage among others.

Let's delve into this new yummy research shall we?

Research Study:

A new Spanish study, "Epidemiological Study of Foot Injuries in the Sport of Rock Climbing" was conducted on climbers and their feet at the University of Extremadura and just published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health this last April (2022).


>> 53 climbers were collected

>> They on average had climbed for 7+ years

>> Climbers volume on average was 6.6+ hours a week.

These climbers were evaluated for:

  1. Visual Abnormalities

  2. Pain

  3. Injuries to their feet as sustained in climbing.

The climbers were asked many questions including how these injuries affected their daily lives, how often they felt pain , and what percentage of their day they noticed symptoms. They filled out questionnaires and their answers were logged to ask the question, do climbers unnecessarily suffer from more foot abnormalities tan the average Joe, and if so, what can we do about it?


>> 70% of climbers had a visual abnormality or a physical injury to their feet from climbing.

>> 45% of climbers had pain in their feet or toes during climbing.

>> Chronological age was independent and unrelated to injury status

>> 59% of climbers exhibited claw toe deformities (or curled up stiff rigid toes)

>> 15% of climbers had changes to the toenail or nail bed (Onychodystrophies)

>> Toe pain when climbing was felt in the big or first toe (45% of climbers).

>> Females exhibit 20% more foot injuries than their male counterparts. (footwear?!)

Yes, you are not alone. Climbers abuse, torture and otherwise disregard their feet as a whole.