by Beth Rodden

Hello everyone! Sorry if this blog is somewhat short, I am still typing one handed, which makes for slow typing and not very much patience on my part.

Just to give you a little history…I tore my labarum in June of 2009 while bouldering in Yosemite. The boulder problem that I tore it on is fun, but far from spectacular or memorable, which seems to be typical for me (I tore my ligament in my finger on the purple problem on my woody). But, none the less, I found myself deciding to rest for 6 weeks and then try and rehab and climb with the labarul tear. I went on an amazing trip to South Africa and thought I was coming back stronger than ever until I hurt a pulley on the opposite hand. While trying to favor the left hand and the right shoulder, I realized that my shoulder prevented me from climbing a variety of styles.  Yes, I could climb vertical finger cracks, where my hands were always in front of me, but as soon as I tried wide cracks, gastons or steep climbing, my shoulder held me back, and I was faced with a very tough decision.

One thing that I have always envisioned in my life is climbing. Ever since I started climbing fifteen years ago, I cannot imagine a future without some sort of climbing. And in the end, I decided that longevity of climbing in my life far outweighed the six months or a year this might take me to recover from.

One thing that I think I am very blessed with through all of this is an amazing doctor, Dr. Isono. His office is laden with pictures of athletes from all types of sports: NFL players, baseball players, swimmers, marital arts, etc. which is very comforting to a professional athlete and exercise nut like me. He takes generous amounts of time to explain things to me, which usually eases my mind.
The last few days before my surgery, I had a last hoorah at climbing. My finger was slowly getting better after taking a month hiatus from climbing, and my shoulder allowed me to climb pretty easy things. Honestly, it felt a little strange to be climbing the day before surgery, and made me question why I might actually be getting the surgery. But sure enough, after an attempt on a slightly overhanging climb gave me the feeling that my shoulder might pop out of socket, I knew I needed to go under the knife.

I put together a short video on the surgery and the week or two afterwards. I am feeling better, but know I have a long road ahead.


physical therapy

Hi Beth,

Hope you recover quickly!

I read on your Sportiva post about South Africa that you'd been told you've been climbing using the "wrong" muscles - "using my small shoulder muscles to move upward instead of my large back muscles" ... I'm guessing a physio told you that? Would it be possible for me to get some contact info on the place/person you're working with? I have some shoulder & back issues and I'd like to get some assessments done by the right folks who are familiar with climbers.

Don't know if you'll see this question, but thought it worth a shot to ask.

Again, best wishes on your recovery and future climbing!

injuries aren't all bad

You have that look of someone who's new to hospitalization. It's been a while since I had that look. But I look back on my operations and treatment for the various stuff and I have only good impressions. I'm climbing again. And I know that when you're climbing again, which you undoubtedly will, you'll look back on this and see a good experience, something that changed you for the better. Good luck. And enjoy.



Thanks for the well wishes guys! I have started PT, so I am going in the right direction.
Calvin, I've been fortunate enough to have several wonderful PT's over the years. When I lived in Colorado, Harmony Hand and Physical Therapy Center, was amazing. Brenda, who owns the clinic, worked on my shoulders and fingers, and then therapists there truly understand an athlete and especially climbers. They are located in Ft. Collins. Now, living in back in California, my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Isono in Emeryville, is incredible. He is unlike most docs I've been to before and takes a lot of time with you, understands that you want to be back to 100% again, etc. And my PT out here, Sports and Orthopedic Specialists in Oakland, are equally great.

Thanks again!

Good luck!

I thought the sad girl w/ her arm in a sling at the gym the other night looked familiar. :-( I'm sorry that you're on the IR, and I hope you recover quickly. My bf and I have both had the best experiences with Isono. You're in great hands.

Get better soon!

I had labrum surgery in February for my right shoulder and a little over six months out it feels pretty good. I would be climbing now except that I had the same surgery on my left shoulder a month ago. From what I've heard you can return to climbing in about six months and it'll be around a year before you're back to where you were. Not too bad considering you will have years and years to climb once recovery is done. Best of luck!

Surgery Memories and Climbing

Dear Beth---Pendulum fall on ice tool both hands in leashes in Colorado winter 2007 torn rotator cuff two surgeries later frozen shoulder i won't give up! Physical therapy useless to break up scar tissue I look for other solutions i won't give up. Unable to even brush my teeth. Another surgery to clean out scar tissue and free the joint again is successful---i am in PT hours after surgery keep the joint moving to prevent scar tissue forming. hopeful. 6 months later i am climbing 5.5, carefully. very carefully. yes! i am getting stronger 8 months later i am gingerly climbing 5.9, maybe 5.10. Now, i totally relate to you comment in the Oct Climbing mag that you are a lifer---no matter the grade. that's me too. you are my hero, and i really hope your shoulder heals stronger than it was before.

Dear Beth

Dear Beth
My name is Ali I am from Iran I saw your picturs there was very very nice and interasting
i like see you in iran and Accompany you in rock climbing
there are in iran Mountains and Caves and River and Valleys ......... do you like teravel to iran?
I hope see you in iran soon
Best Regards


That sounds so painful!! How long have you been bouldering?


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