Competition climbing has grown increasingly in popularity, and many people are being drawn to this sport with a parallel increase in the occurrence of sport-related injuries. One of the most common and unique lesions occurring in the rock climbing population is the closed rupture of the flexor pulley system of the fingers. This lesion is strictly related to some climbing techniques in which the entire body weight is placed on fingerholds, which causes bowstringing of the flexor tendons with subsequent loss of strength across the full range of motion of the finger. This article summarizes the current literature regarding the application of imaging modalities in the diagnosis of rock climbing injuries with a specific focus on ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Biomechanics of the sporting activity and resultant pathophysiologic and clinical considerations concerning flexor pulley system injuries are also discussed.
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