Signs of triathlon injuries

Signs of triathlon injuries

While training is a key component of triathlon success, if you’re feeling a bit rusty, it’s important to be aware of the signs of triathlon injuries so you don’t end up missing the big event.

We’ve detailed the symptoms of common sports injuries that may strike while you’re training for your triathlon below. If you think you could benefit from physiotherapy for a sports injury in Twickenham, come and see us as soon as possible so we can get you back up to speed. 

Spinal injuries

Neck and back pain is most likely to affect the cycling event in a triathlon. The exact causes and diagnoses of spinal pain can vary between different competitors but are most likely to be associated with the sustained flexion of the spine while you’re in the saddle. 

We tend to spend a lot more of our time sitting down in today’s world and that can lead to postural pain which can then be exacerbated when you cycle for long periods of time.

Maintaining optimal posture when sitting at a desk or in a car, as well as regular massage and spinal strengthening exercises, can go a long way to eliminating or controlling spinal pain allowing you to focus on the event.

Upper limb injuries 

Swimmer’s shoulder 

Also known as shoulder bursitis, this complaint is caused by inflammation of fluid sacs (called bursae), which sit between your shoulder blade and rotator cuff to promote smooth movement. When they become inflamed, they can cause pain during swimming, particularly when your arm is raised.

Exercises to strengthen your rotator cuff are essential to avoid muscle imbalances, which can lead to swimmer’s shoulder during repetitive movement. 

Cyclist’s palsy

This is caused by nerve compression and is a common complaint among cyclists. It can cause pain and a cramping or a tingly sensation in your hands. You may experience weakness or an inability to grip properly.

This can be due to putting too much pressure on your hands, compressing the ulnar nerve as it runs through your wrist to your hand. This can happen if you’re riding on rough terrain or on longer rides if there is too much force going through certain parts of your wrist on the handle bars.

Physiotherapy can help identify the irritated nerve and set about treatment to settle the symptoms down and allow nerve function to return to normal. Seeking professional advice on your posture can also help ensure impact is evenly distributed across your body. 

Lower limb injuries

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB)

ITB, also known as ‘runner’s knee’, causes pain on the outside of your knee that may surge up towards your thigh or down into your shin. It’s caused by friction between the illiotibial band and the outer part of your lower thigh, especially during repetitive motion.

Your physiotherapist can recommend stretches and strengthening exercises to address the underlying cause of the problem, as well as advice on your posture.

Shin splints

Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, is pain that occurs on the inside of your shin caused by the repetitive nature of running and the impact from the ground. This can also be made worse if you have tight calf muscles or weakness around the hips in the gluteal muscles. 

Your physiotherapist can guide you through gentle exercises to restore mobility to the area, while massage therapy can help ease tension.

Achilles tendonitis

Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. Increased pressure on the tendon as it absorbs the impact of your foot striking the ground can cause pain around the back of the heel. Stiffness in the tendon is often followed by swelling later on.

Gentle stretching and strengthening of the calf muscles can help rebuild strength in the area. Your physiotherapist can guide you through the most effective exercises to heal your Achilles tendon. Shockwave therapy can also be a good treatment for Achilles problems and can really help to speed up recovery.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, don’t try to push through the pain. Call us on 0208 898 1213 immediately so we can help you avoid further injury and get you training again.

Remember, for a specific diagnosis or training or rehabilitation advice, you’ll need an assessment from a professional.