Training for triathlons can lead to injuries if you don’t make an effort to train properly and stay healthy.  Injuries can delay your training - or worse - end your training prematurely.  The following is a list of injuries to watch for while you prepare for your event.

Runner’s Knee (Chondromalacia Patella) 

One of the most common injuries for runners is also very common for cyclists.  Your patella, or kneecap, normally moves easily over the femur, but excessive force causes the cartilage under the patella to become rough.  Instead of gliding smoothly, it will rub the femur and cause pain.  Several things can lead to this including weakness in the quads and increased volume or too much hill work.

Most athletes suffering from runner’s knee will find relief from simple RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) therapy and avoiding hill climbs in both running and cycling.

Prevention comes from strength training, but should be restricted if injured.  For more information on Runners Knee, see our blog post about it.

Achilles Tendonitis

This classic injury will produce symptoms after an increase in volume, intensity, hill training or improper equipment set-up.  Most often pain is located on the calf and heel.

A common culprit for causing achilles tendonitis is worn out, ill fitting shoes or poor cleat positioning.  This can happen when training with a new shoe or cleat and the leg extension is increased.  Like runner’s knee, RICE therapy with reduction in training volume and intensity can help relieve symptoms.

Make sure you have the right size shoes before getting started and be sure to break them in slowly to help prevent achilles tendonitis.  Have a professional check your bike to make sure the length is set correctly for your height.

Swimmer’s Shoulder

While swimming is often prescribed as rehab while healing from other injuries, swimming itself can also be problematic.  Freestyle swimming requires the shoulder to undergo repetitive overhead motion which can compromise the microvasculature in the rotator cuff.  This can develop into inflammation and ultimately, pain.

Aside from RICE therapy, treatment includes reducing your swimming distance and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuoprofen or naproxen, physical therapy and/or rehab.

Ask a swim coach or physical therapist to analyze your stroke and correct your technique.  Proper form is the best way to prevent swimmer’s shoulder.

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