Top 5 Most Common Injuries for Triathletes

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What are the most common injuries for triathletes?

As I am sure we all know, Triathletes are endurance athletes who participate in three different disciplines: swimming, cycling, and running. As a result, they are susceptible to overuse injuries that are associated with each of these disciplines.

Here are the top 5 issues we treat for our triathletes:

  1. Overuse injuries: These are the most common type of injuries in triathletes, which typically result from the repetitive motions of training for long periods of time. Common overuse injuries include tendinitis, stress fractures, and muscle strains. These injuries are commonly seen in the shoulders, knees, ankles, feet and spine.
  2. Shoulder injuries: Swimmers may experience shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries due to the repetitive overhead motion of swimming. We always ask our clients if they have been checked for a rotator cuff tear or labrum tear, especially if they are in a sport that promotes these injuries. On the milder side, we see tendonitis in the rotator cuff, pain in the latissimus dorsi, pain in the mid and upper trapezius and pain in the deltoids. This is due to excess build up of trigger points in these muscles.
  3. Knee injuries: Cyclists and runners may experience knee pain or injuries such as patellofemoral pain syndrome or IT band syndrome due to the constant bending and extension of the knee joint. We also see pain and tendonitis in the vastus lateralis tendon. It’s rare, but depending on a persons structure or gait you may also have to treat their vastus medialis and gracillis muscles for knee pain in this particular community.
  4. Foot injuries: Runners may experience foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis or stress fractures in the feet due to the repetitive impact of running. It is important for this community to regularly stretch their ankles, feet and calves to avoid these issues. Paying attention to your footwear and being conscious of when your tissues need a little extra recovery time is also crucial.
  5. Lower back pain: Triathletes may experience lower back pain due to the prolonged periods of bending and arching the back in cycling and running. We see something similar in the cervical spine due to the posture required for biking long distances. Being conscious of keeping your abdomen tight while riding can help support the spine. It’s also important to practice some form of yoga periodically for our triathletes. This is the best way they can keep their posture from developing into patterns that cause pain and dysfunction.

As with most sports, it is essential to take preventive measures to avoid these injuries by incorporating proper warm-up and cool-down routines, stretching, strength training, and avoiding overtraining or training with poor form. Consultation with a sports and soft tissue specialist can be helpful to manage and prevent such injuries. Folks like us can make sure you are always improving instead of deteriorating.

If you are experiencing any of these issues check out the links below!

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