The Most Common Injuries in CrossFit and How to Prevent Them

The number of people who perform CrossFit is growing considerably day by day. However, although it may seem exaggerated, almost anyone who practices this discipline experiences injuries sooner or later. Let's discover what the most common injuries are and how to prevent them.
The Most Common Injuries in CrossFit and How to Prevent Them

Last update: 10 November, 2019

CrossFit is one of the most popular disciplines. It’s also one of the most demanding sports, which is why it has a very high risk of injury. In this article, you’ll learn about the most common injuries in CrossFit and how you can prevent or avoid them.

Without a doubt, CrossFit is a sport with many benefits, both physically (for example, improving your cardiovascular health) and mentally. The positive impact it has on your body widely outgrows the risks it presents.

In any case, the information we have available today about injury prevention is abundant. If we use it to our advantage, it’ll allow us to reduce our risk of suffering an injury. But to do this, you need to follow some tips and guidelines first:

  • Follow an appropriate warm-up routine
  • Stay hydrated during the exercise session
  • Do some stretches once you’re done with the workout

What are the most common injuries in CrossFit?

Despite knowing everything we mentioned above, it’s important to learn about the most common injuries in CrossFit and how we can act to prevent or avoid them.

People who do CrossFit know that their shoulders, lumbar region, knees, and wrists are the body parts that can suffer an injury if they perform a movement incorrectly. That’s why it’s important to follow the instructions of a trainer, and of course, the trainer must be a well prepared professional.

These are the most common injuries in CrossFit:

  • Shoulders: this discipline often requires weightlifting. People usually do it without proper supervision, and they also fail to measure their efforts. This can cause bursitis, joint tendonitis, contractures or even fractures. Again, it’s very important to not lift or move heavy loads without a good warm-up.
Two womem in the middle of their crossfit routine

  • Lumbar region: pain in the lower back is very common in people who do CrossFit. If we lift very heavy weights without proper control, this can lead to herniated discs, with all of the dangers this involves.
  • Knees: another one of the joints that suffer the most when doing any kind of sport. If we practice the appropriate technique and manage our loads correctly, we shouldn’t have any problems doing CrossFit. Stretching your ligaments and tendons excessively can cause ruptures or strains in the meniscus. It can even go as far as causing a dreaded tear in the cruciate ligaments.
  • Wrists: injuries in this region usually affect the radial nerve or cause tendonitis.

What is the incidence of CrossFit injuries?

As with all new disciplines, science has also started to investigate the impact of CrossFit. Some publications collect interesting data about this subject. For example, the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine published an important study in which it analyzed more than 3,000 cross-fitters.

The results are enlightening:

  • Over thirty percent of the participants claimed to have had an injury in the last year.
  • The most frequent injury areas are the shoulders (39 percent), lumbar or back region (36 percent) and knees (15 percent).
  • At the same time, they differentiate two groups of people who have a greater risk of suffering an injury with this sport: those who are in their first year of doing CrossFit and those who train less than three days a week.

This last fact has some logic. People who train less frequently are usually the ones with less experience, which means their techniques during training may not be the most appropriate.

Is there an injury difference between men and women?

In 2014, researchers carried out a descriptive epidemiological study. They had a sample of 386 individuals, both men, and women. The results indicate that the rate of injury for men is 20 percent higher than the rate for women. In many cases, this is due to excess weight and poor control in their practice.

A group of people learnign proper techniques to avoid injuries in crossfit

How should we practice CrossFit to avoid injuries?

CrossFit is a sport that takes our body to the limit. This means it’s not a great option for people in poor physical condition. Since its popularity has risen a lot over the years, many people have suffered various injuries because they don’t receive proper supervision during their practice.

It’s also very important to undergo an initial medical check-up to ensure you can start working out with no issues. In turn, this is also useful to know your capabilities.

Subsequently, you must receive some basic instructions about the right technique for each one of the movements. You also need to learn to regulate the intensity and loads as you gain confidence and master this complex discipline.

You can avoid most CrossFit injuries with some proper preparation, a good warm-up and the right stretching routine at the end. If you don’t have the time or patience for it, the injuries will find their way to you. Take it seriously and you’ll enjoy it much more!

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  • Feito Y, Burrows EK, Tabb LP. (2018).A 4-Year Analysis of the Incidence of Injuries Among CrossFit-Trained Participants. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 Oct 24;6(10):2325967118803100.
  • Weisenthal, B. M., Beck, C. A., Maloney, M. D., DeHaven, K. E., & Giordano, B. D. Injury Rate and Patterns Among CrossFit Athletes. Orthopaedic J Sports Med, 2014;2(4) 2325967114531177.