6 Most Common Triathlon Training Injuries & Treatment

Pushing your body to its limits comes with a price, especially if you’re not taking precautions. Most triathlon injuries are overuse or over training injuries which happen because of an immense amount of stress to muscles, tendons and tissues.


Here’s a list of six common triathlon training injuries, their causes and treatment.

  1. Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Tendinitis means a swelling of tendons. This injury causes pain in your shoulders. If you have tendinitis, you will experience pain when you lift your arms or do everyday things involving your shoulder muscles.


How is it caused?

This injury is primarily linked to swimming. Since freestyle depends heavily on rotating the shoulder, the tendons can swell up due to repeated use.


Treatments depend on the severity of the injury. Rest and anti-inflammatory medicines can take care of the problem if it’s not too serious. In addition to this, physiotherapy, massage, and exercises are other courses of treatment. This is one of those injuries that should be treated as soon as you notice it. Tendinitis that’s not treated can cause a tear in the rotator cuff which can only be repaired with surgery.

  1. Plantar Fasciitis

Inflammation of the connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot causes this overuse injury. The pain in the heel that is caused by Plantar Fasciitis remains even when you aren’t running.


How is it caused?

A sudden increase in the number of training hours and overdoing it are primary culprits. Improper foot strike that strains the fascia is another cause.


Prevention is better than cure, so one of the best ways to avoid this is to correct your foot strike and plan your training schedule so that increase in volume happens progressively. Establishing a stretching routine for the Achilles tendon and fascia helps you stay away from this painful condition. Other immediate remedies are anti-inflammatory medicines, rest, cortisone injections and massage.

  1. Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

If you experience shooting pain and tightness on the outer area of your knee, below the joint, you probably have ITBS.


How is it caused?

This is another classic overuse injury that is common to biking and running. It usually occurs when your ITB muscle is tight or you don’t have the correct cycling or running form.


A stretching routine for your inner thigh, hamstring, gluteus, calves and hip flexors can go a long way in preventing this problem. Immediate rest and stretching are part of ITBS treatment.

  1. Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles connects your large calf muscles to the heel. You may not experience severe pain in this area initially, but you need to pay attention to it before it gets worse.


How is it caused?

Tight calf muscles pulling on the Achilles tendon is usually the most common reason. It can also be caused by improper footwear, soft training surfaces, and running uphill.


Stretching and warm up are good ways to prevent this from happening. However, it is also a good idea to avoid training surfaces such as sand, wear comfortable shoes and increase your training time gradually.

  1. Runner’s Knee

Patellar Tendonitis, common in many athletes, occurs when the patellar tendon becomes inflamed. Pain in your kneecap is a tell-tale sign of this condition. It is aggravated when you have been seated for a long time or use stairs.


How is it caused?

Patellar Tendonitis occurs due to a tight or swollen quadriceps muscle pulling your kneecap against the joint. It can happen due to an incorrect bike fit or overuse.


Getting a professional bike fit will prevent the problem from occurring and reappearing again. Try not to follow uphill riding with uphill running – that could strain your quads. Using a foam roller to roll your quads also helps in healing.

  1. Stress Fracture

Your hip, foot, or tibia are vulnerable areas for stress fractures and are characterized by pain during training. Occasionally, you might see some swelling.


How is it caused?

Long periods of training without rest, or a sudden hike in training time can cause fractures in the bone. You need to give your body time to rest and recover.


You must immediately stop training and confirm the stress fracture with an X-ray. Relaxation is the only cure for this triathlon injury – anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks.

Proper rest and planning your schedule are the best ways to prevent these classic triathlon training injuries. But if you do experience any of these injuries, it’s always smart to head to your doctor’s office straightaway for professional advice. Don’t try to self-treat or dismiss these injuries. Always remember pain is a message your body is sending you – you’re doing too much. If you listen to your body, it will listen to you.

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