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Defining Injuries

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by Coach Kelly Moates


Do you ever get confused about the difference between soreness and injury? Perhaps soreness is a relatively new feeling for you and you confuse it for injury. The basic rule of thumb is that soreness is temporary and should be relieved one to three days post activity. Soreness is rarely a sharp or debilitating sensation. Injury, on the other hand, is a feeling that doesn’t seem to go away. It can persist for weeks or even months.

“When soreness is accompanied by sharp pains or aches that continue to linger on after a few days, it may be cause for concern…” Rebound physical therapist Mike Baer

When something is nagging you, it just requires extra love. Don’t ignore it. An injury will typically not go away without some form of treatment, even if that treatment is simply extra stretching or some scaling of your workouts. The answer is rarely to do nothing. While some rest is always a part of the recovery equation, I have found that an active rest is much more beneficial than doing nothing. Rest may look like taking a few days worth of workouts slower and supplementing extra pre- and post-workout corrective movements.  

Here is where I will unashamedly plug our friends at Horizon PT. We are extremely fortunate to have them as accessible as they are. I believe in physical therapy and massage therapy as forms of recovery from injury. The sooner we get treatment the sooner the pain or discomfort will subside. The last thing you want to do is let something compound and get worse. Take advantage of the resources that are available. In order to prevent injury, I would recommend getting a functional movement screening if you haven’t already. Horizon offers these to all new members and it will give you an indication of where your movement patterns are slightly deficient. The stretches and warm-ups they suggest from this screening will be the ones you do to prevent injury in the first place.

“Physical therapy can help you identify the body mechanics that led to the injury, help you manage pain and learn ways to overcome injury and prevent future injury. A physical therapist will work with you to create a recovery plan that suits your needs and focuses on conditioning and strengthening your muscles and joints.”

My final thoughts are personal. Don’t be like me and allow your reluctance to do a particular workout affect the way you prepare for it. If we are not careful, simply showing up can hurt us, because Crossfit requires more than the average workout. We should treat it that way by implementing pre and post workout routines. They are just as important as the workout itself. While we as a gym try to program sufficient warm-ups, there may be times when you have an ailment that requires something more specific. Take the initiative and do the work. We are more than happy to help solve a problem before it persists. I love when athletes ask for extra work or a stretch to help a certain movement. Once you have identified whether or not a sensation is soreness or an injury, do the work to remedy it immediately.

P.S. – Remember soreness is temporary and should subside. Soreness does not equal injury. Those times when it’s hard to get on and off the toilet should be points of pride for you. Celebrate soreness, address injury.