Many CrossFit athletes, even those who do not compete at the level of the CrossFit Games, will eventually experience an injury due to some aspect of their training. The fact remains that not everyone can have 100% perfect form 100% of the time. There is no such thing as a perfect athlete.
In March 2012 Jerred Moon, founder of End of Three Fitness, posted an article for his website titled, “Is CrossFit Injury Ridden?” To begin with, he drew attention to three well-known CrossFit Games athletes (Mikko Salo, Sam Briggs and Graham Holmberg) and pointed out that all three were battling knee injuries. Two of the athletes had injuries severe enough to keep them out of the 2012 CrossFit Games. While there is example after example of athletic injuries in the sport, you don’t have to be a victim! For now, we’ll talk about the five most common CrossFit injuries. Later, we’ll offer suggestions for treatment if an injury occurs and finally give tips on how to avoid the injuries altogether.
In general, there seem to be five main areas that CrossFit athletes have a tendency to injure: lower back, knees, wrists, shoulders and elbows. In this article, we will talk about the first three.
An injury to the Lower Back should come as no surprise to most CrossFit athletes. When you are lifting such heavy weights again and again, all it takes is one lift with bad form and weak abdominal muscles to feel the sharp jab of pain. Whether it’s from a strain, herniated disc, your sciatica flaring up or a myriad of other reasons, lower back pain should not be ignored.
Athlete or not, some physio’s place the numbers as high as 80% when talking of adults with back problems. If you consider what the lower back supports, it should come as no surprise why it is so injury prone. It supports everything from the spine to the top of your head, which is why keeping your core muscles control and correct movement patterns is so important. The lower back already has enough to support without adding any unnecessary body weight into the mix.
The knee is one of the largest joint in our bodies. Because of this, we are highly dependent on its functionality. All it takes is a knee injury to reinforce this dependence! Our knees are made up of bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, muscles, joints, arteries, veins…the list goes on and on. It is able to support up to 8 times our body weight. Even if you are a small person that’s a lot of pressure on such a small part of your body!
If the knee is so important, then why does it seem so easy to injure? First, we must understand that you can’t isolate the knee. It’s intricately connected to the pelvis, hip, upper and lower legs, ankles and feet. It’s literally a powerhouse that provides support for the entire body. Many times knee injuries are simply manifestations of other areas of weakness that fail to support the knee. Best option is to get a CrossFit screening from a physiotherapist at i Physio Perth.
The wrist is an area of the body that is often overlooked by most athletes. In the age of technology, however, taking care of the wrist could not be more important. Mobility and strength of the wrist is important whether you are lifting a Clean and Jerk or typing an email at work. Too many people wrongly assume that the soreness that comes from typing, or swiping their tablet screens is simply par for the course.
The root causes of wrist injury are mobility and flexibility. If you type the phrase “anatomy of the wrist” into Google, you might be surprised at what you find. It’s an intricate web of tendons, ligaments and bones, working at incredible levels of flexibility to provide daily function. For CrossFit athletes, lifting too much too soon (this includes body weight) can injure a wrist that is not flexible and strong enough to take the weight.
In the next blog we’ll look at the last two areas of injury: the shoulder and elbows.
Call Happy Physio here in Perth on (08) 9272 7359 today to seek the help of our expert physiotherapists!