Oh Crossfit, how I love and loathe thee…let me count the ways. I love that you’re a strength and conditioning program that works my whole body! I love that your intention is to help folks lose weight, gain strength and improve their cardiovascular endurance, speed, flexibility, coordination and endurance, which is enough to make this gym girl swoon. However, I’m gonna be honest…you hurt me Crossfit. You hurt me bad. My orthopedist was pretty clear: rotator cuff tendonitis. And after doing some research, I realized I’m not the only one. Crossfit injury statistics are pretty clear. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that 73.5% participants sustained an injury. So not to play the part of the jilted ex, I am going to detail your 5 biggest failings just to inform your future partners some of the things they have to look out for.
Physical Therapy can Prevent and Treat Crossfit Injuries
5 common Crossfit Injuries
- 1) Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: The current bane of my existence, this type of shoulder tendonitis is the most common Crossfit shoulder injury and is exacerbated by repetitive over head weight lifting exercises, like the overhead press. So, check your form and make sure you understand the body mechanics necessary to master the proper techniques of the exercises. However, if you find yourself in pain give your shoulders a rest and use ice-packs, take some anti-inflammatory medicine and consider seeing a physical therapist with knowledge of Crossfit muscle injuries. A physical therapist will use ultrasound machines, massage and strengthening exercises to get you back to lovin’ your workout.
- 2)Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis): Another repetitive use injury, tennis elbow is the result of “muscle-ups” or heavy weight-lifting exercises. Once you start feeling elbow pain like this it is important to STOP. This is where listening to your body is a must. As above, use ice, take some anti-inflammatory medication and see a physical therapist. There are some specific strengthening exercises they can teach you to help stretch the extensor muscles and the use of ultrasound and massage are valuable to treat tennis elbow pain.
- 3) Achilles Tendonitis: Love me some high box jumps, but unfortunately they can lead to Achilles tendonitis. Learning to stretch and strengthen the calf muscles will go a long way towards healing this injury. Also consider getting some heel or wedge inserts for your shoes to decrease the stress on the Achilles. Check out the Bob Calf Master Stretching Tool for a better way to stretch those calves
- 4) De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: Even if you can’t pronounce this, please be aware of this common Crossfit injury. This is where the tendons of the thumb which cross the wrist become inflamed. Owie! Again repetitive wrist, hand and thumb movements are to blame from barbell and kettlebell exercises which necessitate wrist flexion, extension and ulnar deviation. As with all the above injuries it’s important to rest, ice, use anti-inflammatory medication and seek the help of a physical therapist.
- 5) Low Back Pain: This one’s a biggie, because most folks are at risk for low back pain already with their desk jobs. But in Crossfit, low back pain usually occurs during squats and deadlifts when the lumbar area goes into hyperextension which puts huge pressure on the low back. Knowledge of proper form and how to implement the body mechanics are necessary to keep the pelvis in neutral and avoid too much pressure on the low back. But you know the drill, with chronic pain: rest, ice, take those anti-inflammatory medications and seek out a physical therapist. One great product for pain relief is the TENS unit by Viverity. See more about TENS treatment here.
Now, I’m not going to lie, Crossfit. I still love you. And I do believe our relationship could have worked…my advice to your future loves is to seek out a Crossfit Fundamentals Course to get some experienced coaching in the low-down on how to create a healthy relationship with Crossfit.
For more information about physical therapy devices and how to use them, see the ProhealthcareProducts.com Blog