The focus of the third article in this blog series will be knee injuries, as knee pain is a common issue that many CrossFitters’ face. Knees are often susceptible to injury since poor technique can lead to bending or twisting the knee through a greater range of motion than it can tolerate. This twisting can cause injury to the ligaments, causing knee pain. Andrew Sabarre, owner/physiotherapist and Pivotal Health shed some light on this issue and what an athlete can do to help prevent it.
How does the injury start?
Common knee injuries are patellar tendinopathy and patellofemoral pain syndrome. The first sign of this type of injury is often pain in the front of the knee or on either side of the knee cap. This pain is often accompanied by symptoms of clicking or pinching.
What movements should be avoided?
If you are recovering from a knee issue, it is important to stay away from any sort of squat. This would include front squats, back squats, overhead squats – really just any movement where the athlete is required to break parallel in the squat position. This would also include both the Olympic lifts, as snatching and cleans require a quick drop into the bottom of the squat. Other movements that should be avoided are any exercises that place high impact on the knees. This would include box jumps, running or skipping, as well as some of the dynamic warmups such as duck walks or mountain climbers.
How to prevent injury?
One of the most important things an athlete can do to prevent knee injury is to roll out and stretch the IT bands and quads. If these areas are too tight, it can often lead to knee pain or injury. An athlete should also learn how to properly engage their core when performing movements that could affect the knee. Once they are able to do this, they can then work on glute engagement and building strength. It is also essential that an athlete makes sure their knees are tracking properly when performing squats. Knees should track over the feet and should not collapse inwards or outwards, as improper tracking often leads to injury.
When to seek help?
If you are finding that you have constant knee pain, or that the pain and swelling in your knee is getting worse with time, then you should consult a physiotherapist for help. Both Andrew Sabarre and Gretchen McLennan are qualified physiotherapists and they have each worked with a number of CrossFit athletes. If you are experiencing knee issues they would be happy to work with you to fix the problem.
Also, remember your coaches are there to provide guidance and ensure your safety while training. If you feel any pain with any of the movements in the workout make sure you let them know. They are happy to substitute exercises so that you can train without pain and still enjoy a great workout.