Shoulds and shouldn’ts if you think you are injured


Shoulds and shouldn’ts if you think you are injured

  October 22, 2017

It happens often, we are in a workout, and out of nowhere we feel discomfort. We grimace, glance at the area which hurts, and try once more to execute the movement. If it happens again, we immediately think that we are injured.
There are two types of people: ones who panic and others who push through. If none of these reactions are healthy, then what is the best way to react to a niggle or a potential injury? In other words, what should we do and avoid doing if we think we have injured ourselves?


Scale / modify immediately

When usually it matters if we finish the workout or go as fast we can, in this particular scenario, there is no reason why we should risk our health for the sake of finishing the workout.
Instead, we should ask our coach to modify (yes in the middle of the WOD) the exercises engendering discomfort. If we already know what could work (leg raises instead of TTB, strict pull-ups instead of kipping, front squats instead of thrusters or removing weights from the barbell etc.) then mention it, otherwise the coach will think of alternatives safe for us.



Move and test

Once the workout is done, we shouldn’t become paralyzed and avoid moving the shoulder, arm, back or leg (except if the pain is excruciating of course). Instead, we should start testing movements in all their ranges of motions.
We maybe feel discomfort when we pull but not necessarily when we push for instance. This will allow us to de-dramatize and acquire a better understanding of our bodies.


Ice or heat

Most of the time, icing is a better option than heating. Icing numbs pain and reduces swelling. For about 15 to 20 minutes, ice should be placed not directly on the skin to avoid frost bites but in between an extra layer.
Heating is to be applied with moderation and in full knowledge of the origin of the potential injury. We generally heat when muscles feel sore and tensed and usually not in a joint area (knee, wrist..)



Keep moving

When we think we are injured or detect a niggle we immediately think or skipping the gym altogether and taking several rest days. Oftentimes what we need is to keep blood flow active which plays an active role in limiting fascia restriction.
Fascia refers to connective tissue, which allows “muscles and organs to glide smoothly against each other.” Moving, stretching and working on mobility removes sticky adhesions and distortions. (For more on fascia please follow the link:


After the diagnosis: how should I train?

Don’t wait to book a physio appointment. If the discomfort does not improve after icing, moving thoughtfully, and resting enough, then it might be time to have it checked by a professional. Waiting when it could be treated effectively is a waste of time.
If the area is diagnosed as injured and cannot be moved under no circumstances, we should ask the doctor / physio to inform us of what we can and cannot do in detail.
This is going to be important to recover better but also to keep training. CrossFit is such a varied discipline that there is always a way to work around an injury. Our coaches are used to adapting to niggles and injuries and won’t be surprised if we ask for modifications during wods.


Photo Credits: CrossFit Journal, Reebok CrossFit 673

Tamara Akcay

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