Common Injuries Seen with Triathletes

08.26.15

ITBS: IT Band Syndrome

IT Band injuries are common in runners and causes pain on the lateral outer side of the kneePain can present itself as sharp pain or tightness pulling on the lateral side of the knee just below the joint. The pain gradually increased over time and is worse when running downhill, especially with knee extended before heel strike.

it-band syndrome graphic

ITB pain can be solved with soft tissue work to the quadriceps and surrounding musculature along with ice and temporary rest. Most often, the hip complex can be involved and weak in runners that present with ITB, and it is important to address this area when stretching and warming up before runs, along with rolling them out post workout.

 

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis occurs due to overuse, increased activity or a change in training (usually ramping up too quickly in miles or intensity). Achilles tendon pain presents as pain in the posterior backside aspect of the ankle and sometimes in the heel, and is usually worse while actively pointing the toes. Putting direct pressure or squeezing the tendon itself will recreate the pain. Achilles tendonitis is treated with ice to the area along with soft tissue work to the muscles around the ankle that help to stabilize the joint. In the event of the injury presenting itself while ramping up, the activity should be lessened until symptoms have decreased.

achilles tendonitis infographic

Plantar Fasciitis

Caused by repetitive micro trauma that results in chronic inflammation & degeneration of the plantar fascia fibers. Plantar fasciitis presents itself as sharp heel pain that travels along the bottom of the foot. Usually at it’s worst in the morning when first getting out of bed along with the first few steps. The pain most likely decreases during activity, but will come back at rest. Plantar fasciitis will be tender to the touch with increased pain at the arch of the foot when bringing the first toe back into extension. Plantar fasciitis is treated with certain taping techniques and sometimes with the use of orthotics in the case of improper arch biomechanics. If sleeping is disturbed by pain in the bottom of the foot, plantar specific equipment can be purchased to put the foot into a more alleviating position. Icing and soft tissue work proves to be effective in the treatment of plantar fasciitis pain.

Plantar fascitis illustration

Back Pain

Back pain has multiple causes. Most often there is some disc involvement to some degree, the severity of which differs from patient to patient. After a disc is injured, there is a defense mechanism that the body will go into to protect the spine. This causes the muscles around the spine to get tight. After time some of these stabilizing muscles become fatigued and can stop firing properly, which leads to stiffness, tightness, and sometimes pain. Soft tissue work, icing, ibuprofen, if necessary, and a proper individualized rehab program can usually resolve back pain. It is important that if you are experiencing back pain that you come see us in order for us to be able to determine the cause of pain, and to make sure that the activities of daily living, or training, are not worsening the condition.

 

Rotator Cuff Pain (Supra/Infra)

Shoulder pain in triathletes is usually due to overuse, mostly in the swimming part of training. Shoulder issues can also stem from imbalances caused from rounding forward on the bike. The pain can be a dull ache or a sharp shooting pain either in the “trap” area of the shoulder or at the front part of the shoulder joint. Most often the shoulder is hard to lift out to the side, but once a certain point the pain and difficulty of raising the shoulder have subsided. The muscles of the rotator cuff become tightened and fatigued due to overuse and overall muscular imbalances of the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries can be tricky to treat due to the fragility of the shoulder joint, but with proper care it can be managed. Because of the biomechanics of the shoulder joint, this condition heals the best when diagnosed quickly. Shoulder pains, if hanging around, should not be ignored. Ice, stretching, and soft tissue work are things that can help to resolve rotator cuff injuries.

 

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About the Author

Dr. Rachel Benson was born and raised in Austin, Texas. After graduating from Westlake high school, she continued on to receive her bachelors of science from Texas A&M University. Dr. Benson received her doctorate from Los Angeles Chiropractic College focusing on sports medicine. While in school Dr. Benson studied Functional Movement Screening, Cox flexion distraction, Thompson drop and athletic taping. She specializes in Diversified spinal and extremity adjusting and is certified in Active Release Technique and Graston.