Every triathlete wants to be healthy and injury-free. But consistently pushing the body to its limits inevitably results in injury.
Injuries in triathletes are common, and can significantly hinder training and affect racing performance. It is vital that triathletes quickly recognize and treat injuries.
In a nutshell, if you don’t manage injuries well as a triathlete, you are not going to be very successful.
Following are some of the most common triathlete injuries and how to treat them…
Most Common Triathlon Injuries
Typically, the types of things triathletes deal with are overuse injuries.
Triathlon training repetitively stresses muscles, tendons, and the tissues around joints and bones. This continuous stress produces repetitive microtrauma.
Overuse injuries result from the body’s inability to keep up with repair of the damage created by repetitive microtrauma. The body’s tissue eventually breaks down — resulting in pain, inflammation, and weakness. Ignoring the pain and inflammation and continuing to train will lead to macrotrauma and disruption of the tendon or muscle.
An example would be "swimmer’s shoulder," which is essentially rotator cuff tendonitis. Repetitive stress around the shoulder causes inflammation and microtrauma to the muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder ball and socket joint called the rotator cuff.
Various muscle strains and tears are also common for triathletes, as well as:
- "Runner’s knee" (Chondromalacia Patella)
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- stress fracture
- pulled and torn muscles
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome
How To Treat Triathlete Injuries
Treatment for most triathlon injuries includes:
- rest, ice, massage, and stretching (R.I.C.E. method)
- identification and correction of any contributing biomechanical factors
- orthoses to correct leg length discrepancies and ankle overpronation
- a professional evaluation/correction of running gait and cycle position
- a daily program of stretching to increase flexibility
- massage therapy to stretch and loosen any adhesions or scar tissue
- a strengthening program to correct any muscle imbalances
For more significant injuries, a triathlete typically seeks out a medical professional.
Whether it’s a minor or major injury, the question of where or who to seek help from and what kind of treatment to apply is a big question.
The next upcoming posts are going to address different aspects of this issue:
1. Alternative Health Options For Triathletes
2. Triathlete Home Remedies
3. Alternative Sports Nutrition
I’m over 40 years old, but I don’t give up easily. It wasn’t too long ago that I was exploring the idea of doing my first triathlon. If I can do it, you can too! I'm proof that with a little determination and training, you can get a great deal of fulfillment participating in marathons, triathlons… even ultramarathons.