OrthoNOW® Doral Medical Articles

Crazy for Crossfit: Common Crossfit Injury Prevention

CrossfitterCrossFit is one of the fastest-growing fitness trends in the world. It was the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide prior to “crossing” over into the main stream.

CrossFit is a combination of weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics which has become a fitness subculture. CrossFitters are very confident about themselves, tend to be more supportive than others athletes and they create strong bonds with their work out partners.

Due to the strenuous activities involved with CrossFit training, injuries do occur. According to recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 73.5% of 132 CrossFitters surveyed had sustained an injury, and 9% of these injuries required surgery. Dr. Alejandro Badia, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of OrthoNOW®, the country’s only network of orthopedic urgent care centers, and his colleague Foot & Ankle specialist, Dr. Gregorio Caban have treated hundreds of CrossFitters who have suffered injuries in their back, upper and lower extremities.

Dr. Badia explains that “The most common CrossFit injuries are shoulder injuries, low back strain, knee disorders and generalized overuse syndromes such as tennis elbow or Achilles tendonitis”. Dr. Caban adds “That men suffer more injuries than women when it comes to CrossFit. Women tend to be more cautious and seek professional assistance such as trainers while males tend to explore this new workout on their own and often ignore pain which often signals injury”.

The doctors encourage people to practice sports like CrossFit, but at the same time, they want athletes to know how to avoid and treat injuries, so they can continue safely with their fitness regimen. According to Dr. Badia the best way to avoid CrossFit injuries include:

  • Ensure you’re using the proper technique and equipment and not overtraining. Set realistic incremental goals will help you prevent injuries
  • Start CrossFit in a safe environment and wear the right gear, such as gloves and power belts
  • Warm up thoroughly and ensure adequate stretching is performed as this will effectively lengthens the muscle which will minimize muscle tears and strains
  • Listen to your body and rest! It’s important that you set rest days, at least two days a week, so your body can recover from your intensive workout and muscle tissue can recover and heal any micro-injuries

Early intervention of CrossFit injuries is critical and should include an assessment made by a physician who specializes in sports medicine. Dr. Badia reports that CrossFitters can especially benefit from ENMT which stands for Electrical neuromuscular therapy and which up until now was offered only to elite athletes. It was designed based on the principle that most joint problems, sprains, tears, and overuse injuries—all of which are common CrossFit injuries—occur when the surrounding muscles are not absorbing the impact as they should. When this happens, the force of a particularly difficult CrossFit exercise move is transferred to tissues that aren’t equipped to handle them. Instead of treating the tear or the sprain, ENMT is used to identify the root of the problem and treat the surrounding muscle tendon units. As a result, patients experience accelerated recovery times from CrossFit injuries and increased athletic performance in the long-term.

Related: Don’t miss Emerge Fitness’s 5 tips on how to prevent knee injury during CrossFit!

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