Common Injuries in Tri-Athletes

During the Triathlon season there are two injuries that can occur, one is rotator cuff and the other is hip flexors.  They are the most common injuries we treat at Head-to-Toe Chiropractic.  A tri-athlete’s body is under tremendous stress from the point they begin their training program in the early spring through the late fall when their bodies can be prone to injuries.
Rotator Cuff
The shoulder is a ball-n-socket joint that allows for the arm to have complete circumduction.  When swimming, whether it be in a pool, a lake or the ocean; a majority of the athlete’s strength is coming from the rotator cuff muscles.  The four rotator cuff muscles , which hold the ball part of the shoulder to the socket are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and the subscapularis. If one of these muscles is injured, a swimmer will have great difficulty in completing a full stroke and will begin to create an overuse injury due to other muscles stepping in to take over in order for the swimmer to complete their distance.  The two most common rotator cuff muscles to be injured are the supraspinatus and the subscapluaris.  Both muscles suffer the most wear and tear when training for long distance swims because they are used the most during the pulling stage of doing the freestyle stroke (also known as the crawl).  If an overuse injury should occur from either one of these muscles, a swimmer can experience pain (as much as radiating pain) up into the neck into the front part of the shoulder and down the arm all on the same side, sometimes into the fingers.
Rotator Cuff – The treatment protocol
The treatment protocol for both of these rotator cuff muscles involves a combination of electric stimulation, soft tissue massage, ice, active release technique, chiropractic adjustments to the thoracic spine (upper back)/shoulder/scapula/lower cervical (neck), corrective and rehabilitative exercises.
Hip Flexors
The two most common hip muscles that can limit range of motion are the iliopsoas and the psoas muscles (also known as your hip flexors).  Both muscles are responsible for hip flexion, bringing the knee to the chest. It begins with the bike race. Depending on how long an athlete is on the bike, the more the iliopsoas and psoas begin to tighten.  By the time an athlete jumps off their bike to enter the run their legs are usually extremely heavy because their hip flexors cannot loosen nor can they stop firing.  If an athlete chooses to ignore the discomfort or the pain that has been created after the race and continues to run an overuse injury will set in.  The most common complaint we hear from a tri-athlete after their event, “I have extreme pain in my groin”.  Then, they point and press deep into their hip. What typically has happened their hip flexors take over instead of their quad (primarily their rectus femoris) and their gluteus medius.
Hip Flexors – The treatment protocol
The treatment protocol for this injury involves a combination of electric stimulation to the ITB and Medial Mencius; soft tissue massage; active release technique; chiropractic adjustments to the lumbar spine (low back)/pelvis/hip/ knee; corrective and rehabilitative exercises.
For more information contact the Head-to-Toe Chiropractic office at 203-979-3142.
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