Common Crossfit Injuries And How To Prevent Them

Known for its unique proficiency to help athletes of all levels build a healthy lifestyle, CrossFit exercise is one of the fitness trends that has gained worldwide popularity. With CrossFit’s unique exercise philosophy, you can burn more fat, build more muscle, and strengthen your joints and muscles faster. 

Aside from its increasing popularity in the fitness industry, it also has an exemplary reputation for causing injuries. The injury in the hip, ankle, shoulders, knees and lower back was reported to be primarily caused by overuse of certain muscles in many studies. [1] 

However, there is good news: You can lower your chances of overusing muscles by incorporating and practicing a few simple steps before, during, or after your CrossFit training. In this article, you will learn about the most common CrossFit injuries and tips to prevent them.

Injuries Ascribed to CrossFit Training & Tips to Avoid Them

  1. Rotator Cuff & Shoulder Pain 

Within the shoulder, the rotator cuff, as well as muscles and tendons, connect the upper arm, shoulder blade, and collarbone, enabling the body to raise and rotate the arms. Additionally, almost every exercise that involves your arms, chest, or back relies on the rotator cuff in your shoulder. 

CrossFit workouts engage your shoulder as a ball-and-socket joint, so you’re at greater risk for shoulder injuries outside of normal wear and tear. Inflammation of the soft tissue in the rotator cuff can cause painful conditions, such as rotator cuff tears and supraspinatus tendinitis, which impede the movement of an arm.

The best way to prevent rotator cuff injuries is by strengthening the muscles that support them. Use lighter weights and high repetitions to target all deltoids. Every time you work out, make sure you stretch out and ice your muscles. In addition, rotator cuff exercises should be performed targeting both the small and large muscles in the shoulder to avoid pain and injury. 

  1. Tennis Elbow

A type of tendinitis called Tennis Elbow, or Lateral Epicondylitis, affects the soft tissues and muscles connecting the outer elbow to the forearm muscles. Tennis elbow occurs when the connective tissue from your elbow to your wrist becomes inflamed due to overuse during CrossFit training.

Moreover, in CrossFit, exercises that increase the load on this tendon are shoulder front raises, kettlebell raises, and sandbag carries. Individuals suffering from tennis elbow symptoms may suffer from decreased range of motion, significant discomfort, and prolonged pain if they don’t seek immediate treatment. [2]

A few preventative measures can be helpful to prevent Tennis elbow, including warming up and stretching your arm muscles before a Crossfit workout. Or by making your movements less jerky and smooth. If you have inflammation in either elbow, be sure to ice them both. Also, make use of your entire arm whenever possible rather than just the wrist or elbow. 

  1. Wrist Pain or Strain

In CrossFit, the wrist is considered to be the most important body part that makes all exercises possible. Nevertheless, it is one of the most fragile organs in the body. Most CrossFit workouts involve weightlifting, so the wrist has to be engaged relentlessly. The wrist is, therefore, commonly used in snap-focused movements such as the clean and press in CrossFit training. 

In addition, the wrist joint and capsule are prone to swell up as a result of excessive push-ups and burpees during workouts. The wrist front is also affected by wrist impingement, which causes pain and swelling. Overexertion, poor warming up, or inadequate rest between workouts are other symptoms that can lead to painful injuries and weak wrists.

To avoid wrist pain, you should stretch and warm up adequately before and after the workout. Not only your flexor muscles but also your surrounding muscles need to be stretched. You can also use wrist wraps or tape to stabilize the joint. Even though wrist wraps won’t completely prevent injury, they can add extra support to your wrist. 

  1. Knee Pain

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, typically known as knee pain, is the most common injury among  CrossFitters as their sports involve jumps, squats, runs, or they do all these things repeatedly. Athletes may also refer to knee pain as ‘Runner’s Knee’, ‘Jumper’s Knee’, or ‘CrossFitter Knee’. This pain is typically felt around or under the kneecap.

An individual with this condition may experience knee pain that increases even when they bend their knee. This may also occur when they go up or down stairs, kneeling, running, squatting, or rising from a chair. Swelling around the kneecap may happen occasionally, and they may also experience popping or grinding sensations in their knees. [3]

Therefore, to avoid knee pain or strain, R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is the standard self-care protocol. Stretching and foam rolling the quadriceps muscles are also effective ways to prevent injury to the knee cap during repetitive exercises like CrossFit WODs. Furthermore, proper rest and recovery after workouts play a crucial role in preventing knee injuries

  1. Achilles Tendonitis 

The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the back of the calf, making it the largest tendon in the body. Overtraining, especially when running or jumping, may result in insertional Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendonitis which results in partial tears and inflammation in the soft tissues of the muscles. 

Despite having an injury an athlete might engage the Achilles while it’s aching, this is because tendonitis pain disappears as they warm up, making it likely to engage other muscles even when aching. [4] However, if left untreated, the pain might become unbearable and can even result in a complete rupture or tear, which can be seriously harmful.

To prevent Achilles tendonitis, It is, therefore, imperative to avoid exercises that strain your Achilles tendon, such as cliff running. Also, while performing any strenuous activities, warm up by exercising at a slower pace initially. However, if you continue to feel pain during a workout, stop and rest. As well as, make sure you select your training shoes carefully. 

Wrapping Up 

High-intensity training modalities such as CrossFit training place a high demand on your body. For that reason, CrossFitters are required to manage their body’s load and avoid sports injuries to maximize their overall health and performance. Typical injuries associated with CrossFit training include rotator cuffs, tennis elbows, wrist pains, knee pains, lower back pains, etc.

However, to prevent these injuries, using proper form and method, listening to your body, taking breaks when needed, and seeking guidance from an instructor or professional trainer are all crucial. By following these precautions, you can lessen your risk of injury and get the most out of your CrossFit training.


  1. Hak PT, Hodzovic E, Hickey B. (2013) Nature and prevalence of injury during CrossFit training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning. Doi:10.1
  1. Calhoon, G., & Fry, A. C. (1999). Injury rates and profiles of elite competitive weightlifters. Journal of athletic training, 34(3), 232–238
  1. Al-Hakim, W., Jaiswal, P. K., Khan, W., & Johnstone, D. (2012). The non-operative treatment of anterior knee pain. The open orthopaedics journal, 6, 320–326.
  1. Hülsmann M, Reinecke K, Barthel T, Reinsberger C. Musculoskeletal injuries in CrossFit: a systematic review and meta-analysis of injury rates and locations. Dtsch Z Sportmed. 2021; 72: 351-358. doi:10.5960/dzsm.2021.504