Would you believe if I told you, there was a training regime you could follow that would ensure you remain injury free?
Of course not, and with good reason. Throughout the course of training for a triathlon, it impossible to stay completely injury free. Whether it’s minor injuries such as cramps or muscle aches, or major injuries such as ligament damage and muscle tears, it’s a certainty that along the way triathletes will pick up certain injuries.
Before embarking on any kind of training, it is recommended that you visit the doctor’s and undergo a physical checkup. Why? To ensure that there are no underlying medical conditions that could be aggravated. The following section details a list of common injuries that affect triathletes. It’s beneficial to understand the symptoms and causes, to have a better diagnosis of any problems affecting the body.
Caused by irritant moisture trapped within the ear canal. Symptoms are usually described as a severe pain in the ear. While unavoidable, this ailment can be easily eased by applying ear-drops (antibiotics) found at the pharmacy which helps dry up the ear canal. Earplugs are also another form of prevention, should you be more prone to Swimmer’s Ear.
This injury is caused by constant repetitive strokes while as the name implies, swimming. Brought about by over-exerting your shoulder-arm muscles, or due to wrong swimming technique, the solution to this problem is to let the shoulder rest. This problem is identified by soreness in the shoulder, and swelling of the rotator cuff.
Another common injury, one of the many causes could be incorrect seat height or position during cycling. However, if your seat is positioned correctly, the source of the knee pain could be from the foot position, where your foot rests on the pedal. Cycling in incorrect gear, such as a gear too high could also result in unnecessary pressure on the knee. Prevent tightness or soreness with stretching exercises, with knees slightly bent and stretch the hip as well. Knee pain can also be a symptom of ITB Syndrome (see below).
Neck and Shoulder Pains
Relax the shoulders and neck while bike riding to prevent excess pressure buildup or tension. This occurs mostly during the initial stages of cycling, so it may just take a while of getting used to, before getting fully accustomed to your riding form.
Sometimes, numbness in the fingers may occur even when wearing gloves. One way to relieve the numbness is to change hand and finger position frequently, so that blood flow is not affected. Let your lower back help carry your body weight, while keeping your hands light on the handlebars.
Although they are minor skin irritations, it could lead to skin infections if left untreated. Again, make sure the bike seat and pedals are correctly positioned at a comfortable height, and also try standing up frequently to relieve the pressure on the body. Standing also helps improve general blood circulation. Using lubricants could also help prevent skin chaffing and abrasions.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
An inflammation of the iliotibial band, which is located from the hip to just below the outside of the knee. ITBS is caused by increasing training intensity too quickly, or by excessive downhill running. If experiencing a pain, the best option is to get plenty of rest, and also stretching sufficiently before, during and after training. As with all chronic pains, consult a doctor or seek medical advice if the pain persists.
Categorized as a stress injury, it is mostly encountered by newer runners, as they are not used to the increase in intensity and distance covered while running. Running on exclusively hard surfaces would also lead to shin splints. To prevent shin splints, apply heat to the shins in the form of heat packs before running. Stretch sufficiently too.
Inflammation of the Achilles Tendon, which is the large tendon located behind the ankles. Symptoms include pain in the heel, or even pain above the ankles as well as the calf muscles. To treat Achilles Tendonitis, avoid any form of running until pain subsides. Stretching the calf muscle daily also helps sooth the pain.
Inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot, that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. The main symptom is severe pain at the base of the heel. It is caused mainly by overtraining, tight calf muscles as well as poorly fitted running shoes. The main treatment to Plantar Fasciitis is to ice the area which is causing pain, stretching any tight muscles around the calf and ankle area, before gradually returning to running. We recommend the Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Plan to help clear up this condition quickly.
Injuries occur due to many reasons, such as overtraining, fatigue, and even just plain old bad luck!
Injuries can be frustrating for many a triathlete, and the best way to recover is to take time off, before gradually returning to training. Some tips for minimal injury risk include:
– Following the appropriate training plans
– Stretching and incorporate weight training to help muscles build strength
– Ensuring equipment such as bike seats and even running shoes to be in good condition
– Learning to recognize the symptoms of various injuries, allowing sufficient time to rest
Learn More About Common Triathlon Injuries:
- How to Prevent Stomach Problems in Triathlon Training
- Triathlon and Your Health – The Basics
- Illiotibial Band Syndrome
- Road Rash
- Hot Foot
- Cyclist’s Knee
- Cycling Numbness
- Swimmer’s Shoulder
- Swimmer’s Eye
- Swimmer’s Ear