Common CrossFit Injuries That You Can Prevent

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CrossFit is a popular fitness regimen suitable for healthy individuals of all ages and physical conditions, though it is most frequently undertaken by elite athletes, police academies, military personnel, and recreational fitness enthusiasts. CrossFit prescribes high-intensity and often grueling strength training and conditioning of the body to provoke a physical response that yields increased endurance, strength, speed, and balance. As a result, CrossFit injuries are common. Identifying common CrossFit injuries before they arise enables participants to prevent pain and activity interruptions.

crossfit injuries

Lumbar Strain

Lumbar Strain, or lower back pain, describes a pain in the lower back that is dull or stabbing, arises suddenly or gradually, and can range from mild to severe and temporary to long-lasting.

Lumbar Strain most often occurs due to overstretching or injury to the muscles and ligaments in the lower back. Due to the frequent lifting, jumping, and bending inherent in CrossFit training or overexertion during activities like golf or yard work, a high level of stress is placed on the lower back. This can lead to lumbar strain. Prolonged lumbar strain may be due to small tears to the outer part of the spinal disk, or disk herniation, also known as “slipped” disk.

Lumbar Strain can be prevented by lifting heavy objects with the legs rather than the back, maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on the back, maintaining proper posture when standing and sitting, and avoiding smoking.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which in turn causes pain, stiffness, or swelling that runs along the back of the leg near the heel. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, connecting the muscles in the calf to the heel bone.

Although the Achilles tendon can withstand high stress during activities such as walking, running, and jumping, during CrossFit training, this tendon is often overused during high-repetition jumping, leading to Achilles Tendinitis. Achilles Tendinitis can also arise from tightness in the calf muscles, or bone spurs. There are two types of Achilles Tendinitis: non-insertional and insertional. Non-insertional Achilles Tendinitis involves the fibers in the middle of the tendon, while Insertional Achilles Tendinitis tends to impact the lower portion of the heel.

Achilles Tendinitis can be prevented through calf stretches to reduce stress on the Achilles tendon, bilateral and single leg heel drops, which consist of lifting and lowering the heel, and wearing supportive shoes and orthotics during activity.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is the irritation, tenderness, pain, and swelling that arises in the front of the shoulder when the acromion, or outward end of the shoulder blade, impinges on, or rubs against the tendon and bursa. Pain resulting from shoulder impingement can present itself as minor or radiating pain during activity or at rest, and both when elevating and lowering the arm.

Shoulder impingement arises when the arm is raised and the space between the acromion and rotator cuff in the shoulder becomes narrow, such as required during activities like weight-lifting, swimming, baseball, or tennis. Because lifting weights above the head is a necessary component of CrossFit strength training, injuries to the rotator cuff in the shoulder can occur which lead to shoulder impingement.

Shoulder impingement can be prevented by gradually rather than suddenly increasing the intensity of a fitness or weight-lifting regimen, balancing push exercises with pull exercises to maintain muscle balance, and performing plyometric exercises, or short, interval exercises, using medicine balls.

Contact Manhattan Orthopedic Care for a consultation regarding common CrossFit injuries or before beginning a high-intensity exercise program like CrossFit.