7 Common CrossFit Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Dec 2, 2022

Scott Jackson

by Scott Jackson
PT, DPT, Cert DN, Cert SMT | Green Valley

CrossFit exercise is one of the fitness trends that has gained nationwide popularity due to its unique ability to help both experienced athletes and newcomers to build a healthy lifestyle. CrossFit’s unique exercise philosophy enhances faster fat burning, muscle building, and strengthening of joints and the body. 

It has also developed an impressive reputation for being injury-prone. Recent studies have revealed that 19 percent to 34 percent of athletes who have participated in this type of exercise have experienced an injury. Here are the seven most common CrossFit injuries you might have experienced in your neighborhood’s exercise box.

Crossfit athlete performing weightlifting exercises with weights.

Wrist Pain

The wrist is a vital yet fragile body organ that makes all CrossFit exercises possible. It is primarily used in snap-focused movements such as clean and press. Since most CrossFit workouts include a lot of weightlifting, one has to involve the wrist in some action from time to time. 

Sufficient stretching, warming up, and wrapping your wrist can help you avoid wrist pains. To prevent wrist impacts in the future, one can engage in workouts that enhance their grip strength.

Lower Back Pain

Recent studies reveal that about 32 percent of injured athletes during CrossFit exercises complained of back pain. Lower back pain occurs due to underdeveloped muscles, overuse and overloading, and poor techniques. Abdominal crunches, squats, deadlifts, flipping, jumping, cycling, and medicine ball throws have also been identified as significant causes of lower back pain. 

Warming up and stretching sufficiently before the exercise is one of the best ways to avoid this injury. If the damage is persistent, one must stop or do the above-mentioned exercises moderately.Group fitness class performing pushups with dumbells.

Tennis Elbow

It is interesting how elbows are often forgotten during CrossFit exercises despite using them in almost every movement. You risk inflaming the surrounding tendons of your elbow when you overuse the connective tissue that connects your elbow to your wrist, causing a tennis elbow. Taking precautions like icing both elbows to prevent inflammation is crucial since some people do not experience pain despite having tennis elbows.

Achilles Tendonitis

It refers to an injury to the tendon and Achilles heel, which occurs after overusing the tendon in the back of your Achilles heel. The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles in the back of a person’s leg to their heels. If overused and strained, one will experience stiffness, pain, swelling, and difficulty in bending their feet.

Athlete performing rope slams inside the gym.

Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Pain

Shoulders play a critical role in compound movements that require a large amount of stability and activity. This is why one may occasionally feel pain after performing compound upper body and back exercises. If one doesn’t respond to shoulder pain promptly, it might develop into a nagging injury that might take time to recover from. Bench presses, rope slams, shoulder presses, pullups, throwing exercises, and shoulder flies are some common leading exercises that can cause pain since they target your shoulder and rotator cuff. 

Due to the ball-and-socket joint nature of the shoulder, one is at risk of experiencing pain during CrossFit exercises. Strengthening the muscles supporting the rotator cuff is ideal for preventing this pain.

Knee Pain

While most athletes ignore knee pains, they can signal severe injuries like a tear or dislocation. This is because the knee is vulnerable to overuse and strain during CrossFit exercises. Studies have shown that 15 percent of CrossFit injuries are related to the knee. Knee injuries occur during movements like step-ups, box jumps, running, squats, and leg extensions.


This is probably the most severe injury from CrossFit exercises. A piece of your intestine might pop through the abdominal wall after strenuous exercise, which results in abdominal stress. Carrying deadlifts and performing squats are common causes of hernia. 

Wearing a weightlifting belt is not the ideal solution. Still, it can provide safety to your abdominal walls, and strengthening your lower back, obliques, and abdominals can prevent this CrossFit injury.

Group fitness class performing stretches.

Avoid CrossFit Injuries Today

If performed correctly, CrossFit exercises are the best way to burn calories, increase metabolism and build muscle and joint strength. Giving up on CrossFit workouts after experiencing an injury is not an ideal option, below are ways to avoid experiencing these injuries in future movements.

Wise Choice of Facility and Instructor

The growing popularity of this workout type has prompted people to open CrossFit workout facilities though not all of them are of quality standard. Therefore, you should choose a facility built for safety and success with experienced and skillful instructors. It would be best if you also looked for a facility of athletes who inspire you to succeed.

It is about you

While competition might be a motivator, it is dangerous, and you should avoid it. Stay focused on personal goals and vision. Always aim to achieve your personal best instead of competing with an experienced crossfitter. Remember to always listen to your body to avoid compromising your health.

Free Injury Assessment at ProActive Physical Therapy

Are you experiencing pain from any of the above injuries or possibly another CrossFit injury? Request an appointment at one of our Tuscon locations today to receive specialized care from one of our experienced therapists.

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