Injuries to your joints while exercising aren’t uncommon, especially with activities such as sports or CrossFit. They tend to occur for one of two main reasons: overuse or trauma. Overuse involves repetitive motion that puts stress on your joints by using them over and over in a way that they are unprepared for. Trauma results from an impact - whether twisting violently or falling - and can even result in a broken bone.
Certain activities are more likely to cause on of these injuries, especially with CrossFit and several different types of sports. These activities tend to put a lot of strain on one particular part of the body, or involve a higher than normal chance of being struck by an object. They can also pose an increased risk of falling or wrenching a joint out of its normal position.
There are some low-impact athletic activities that are good for your joints by improving mobility and reducing pain. However, below is a list of some of them that can put you at increased risk of an injured joint.
CrossFit is an exercise program that has increasingly grown in popularity over the last decade. Many people see extraordinary results with the intentionally intense nature of these workouts. CrossFit was created in an effort to create a comprehensive workout method including aerobics, strength training, core building, and balancing exercises. A key component of CrossFit is the idea of variation - no workout should be done more than once per week. A typical daily routine for CrossFit is about 60 minutes.
With safety as a key concern for CrossFit, there are 5 main injuries that can occur. If any of these injuries arise, it is important to rest, use ice, and potentially consider the short-term use of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory. You will also want to consider modifying movement after the injury to avoid another injury.
Here is a list of the most common injuries during CrossFit:
- Tennis Elbow - also known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow results from repetitive strain. Be particularly careful during weightlifting exercises.
- Achilles tendinitis - this can occur with excessive high jumps during CrossFit.
- Rotator Cuff Tendinitis - often occurs when people in CrossFit will overdo it early on with “clean and jerk” exercises or overhead presses.
- De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis - CrossFit athletes also often experience this condition, which occurs when tendons that extend from the thumb across the wrist become enflamed. This injury results from repetitive wrist and thumb motions that occur in some exercises, especially with kettlebell and barbell exercises.
- Lower Back Pain - this often arises when performing squats and overhead presses, especially with improper form. Typically, workouts can be modified to suit those with lower back pain. It is important to do lighter exercises which do not exacerbate the lower back pain, as well as to take anti-inflammatory medicines.
Although it is named after tennis, other athletes can also develop tennis elbow, as shown above with CrossFit. Any sport or profession that puts a lot of strain on the wrist and arm can over stress the tendons in the elbow, which causes pain on the outside of the joint. This can include fencing, weightlifting, golf, and trades that involve a great deal of arm movement.
The best way to protect yourself against tennis elbow is to warm up before activity, and to be sure that you’re moving in the proper way. Consult with a coach or physical therapist for helpful pointers.
Although weightlifting can create problems in the shoulder joints, back, and neck, it is particularly common for these athletes to injure their knees. This happens because lifters often suddenly put extra pressure on their knee joints when jerking the weight up, or they can overstretch their knees to support the weight. This can result in tears in the ligaments of the knees as well.
Because weightlifting can cause serious injuries that require surgery, your best bet is to learn to stand properly when lifting. Make sure your knees are in line with your hips and ankles, and make sure that you are asking an expert to ensure you are using proper form. Be careful not to hyperextend your knees, and try to avoid violent, jerking motions. It is also important to build up gradually and try not to lift significantly more weight than you’re accustomed to. It can also be helpful to lift with a partner to ensure proper form and prevent injury.
Running can put a great deal of strain on your feet, ankles, and knees. One major joint injury that can result from excessive running, poor form, or improper shoes is runner’s knee. Runner’s knee causes pain and stiffness that comes from under the kneecap. To prevent this, it is important to strengthen the muscles in your hip area to support your lower legs. There are special exercises for this, which you can learn more about here.
Each person also positions their foot slightly differently when they are running, so it is key to make sure you get shoes that are designed specifically for the way that you run. You can be sure that you are using the right shoes by going to your local running store and having them asses your gait.
Baseball and Softball
Sports like baseball and softball involve a great deal of throwing, which can cause shoulder injuries. Pitchers in particular are at an increased risk of rotator cuff tears and strains, as well as ligament tears in their elbows. Overuse of the throwing arm creates inflammation and injury to the joint through repetitive motion and will likely require down time to rest and heal. In the case of a torn rotator cuff, that can mean months of rest.
Catchers can also experience knee injuries from constant squatting, and batters may experience the same kinds of problems that runnings do. As with any sport, it is important to warm up, wear good shoes, stay hydrated, and make sure you’re using proper form.
Recovery from Injury
With any exercise program, you want to be careful not to overexert yourself when you begin. Make sure that you are warming up, stretching, paying attention to your body, and using the correct form.
If you experience an injury that continues to hurt and interfere with your workouts, we can help. At Flexogenix®, we offer the latest non-surgical techniques for treating joint pain, including viscosupplementation and regenerative medicine with advanced biologics. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation!