CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that has taken off in popularity in recent years. No longer is it reserved for hardened military types, but everyone from lanky teens with MMA dreams to spritely seniors are taking advantage of the full-body workouts. As CrossFit combines a wide range of movements, it can mean an even wider range of injuries. Don't believe the newbie trainers that spout the ridiculous mantra that "if you don't want to get hurt, CrossFit isn't for you," it is not true. With a knowledgeable trainer, injury should not be an issue if the program is done properly. However, accidents happen, muscles get tweaked the wrong way, and ligaments get pushed a little too far. For those taking on the challenge of CrossFit, be ready to address these common injuries.
You don't have to be a frequent lobber at the country club to suffer from tennis elbow. Any repetitive exercise can bring on lateral elbow pain, and CrossFit is often a series of repetitive movements. For those who start to experience elbow pain, the best medicine is to stop your current activity for awhile. Not forever, but just until they pain winds down. After the pain has gone away, try stretches specifically aimed at the extensor muscles before any activity as well as a compression elbow brace to minimize any more microtears that cause the pain associated with tennis elbow.
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
For some reason, De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is considered a more sedentary injury for those who spend a lot of time in front of the computer. However, it is in the realm of possibilities for anyone who engages in repetitive motion of the wrist, hand, or thumb. After endless hours of barbell and kettle bell lifting, the tendons of the thumb that cross the wrist may get inflamed. Again, rest is the best treatment, but hand braces, specifically those that immobilize the thumb are an excellent way to speed up the healing.
After a few classes of CrossFit where the trainer seems utterly obsessed with high box jumps, every athlete will feel the burn in their legs. However, when that burn turns into pain in the Achilles tendon and that pain stays, it is time to take a step back. Those who jump frequently for various sports will already be familiar with the pain, but for those who are not, proper stretching and strengthening of the calf muscle are key to treating Achilles tendonitis. Heel or wedge insert for your training shoe can also prevent stress on the area, but for bad tendon tears, an immobilization boot or brace may be needed. Don't let it go that far.
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
Tendonitis of the rotator cuff in the shoulder is common among many CrossFitters. The pain is often caused, and then exacerbated by, repetitive heavy lifting exercises and, if persisted, can make this a very serious injury. Unlike other injuries, there is no brace or compression sleeve that will help a rotator cuff heal quicker. The best treatment is rest, ice, and massage. Those who skip the time it needs to heal may find themselves with a limited range of motion in their shoulder for life.
Lower Back Pain
Pain in the lower back ranging from a dull ache to an incessant nagging is easily the most common CrossFit injury that people will experience. Even the most physically in shape people often neglect to build up their lower back or even pay attention to it, making it easy to injury especially when working with heavy weights. Proper stretching and strengthening are key in both treating and preventing injury. While kinesiology tape may help the pain and healing process, never rely on it to stop injury.
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