25 Injury Insights Every CrossFit Enthusiast Needs to Know

25 Injury Insights Every CrossFit Enthusiast Needs to Know

If there’s one thing that Crossfitters like to bond over, it is our injuries along the road to awesomeness…

Dealing with and overcoming injury can be extremely difficult for us.  Why? Our sport is all-encompassing. Anyone who has ever stepped into a box – and has come back again the next day – instantly realizes it is a lifestyle.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~ Helen Keller

Post Author: Carina Huggins trains at CrossFit Athlete Inside

2010 was the year of Crossfit for my husband and I. Our world was rocked with new friendships, a new lifestyle and new bodies. It bought us even closer. I went balls to the wall. Trail running, Crossfitting, paleo and some pretty epic stuff: Triathlon? Sure! Sign me up! Duathlon? Why the hell not! Muddy mountain trail run? Duh.

Life couldn’t get better.

Two years before Crossfit I was in an MVA and injured my back. My progress was careful, heavily regulated and very modified. Like many people, I experienced dramatic improvements in strength. I went from struggling with a 45 lb deadlift to PRing at 185 by the end of the year. My pain disappeared during WoDs and seemed to come and go in cycles instead of being constant. I had spent 2 years being ground down by pain and prescriptions, now I was thriving and had thrown those prescriptions out. However, after 120 WoDs in February 2011 I walked out of my first WoD. I laid on the ground in tears.

It seems stupid to me now but I had taken on the “Suck it up” mentality. I didn’t want to be that chick that was always whining about hurting. I’d grimace and tell concerned coaches that I could push through. That night in February, as I laid on a Canadian ice pack (snow in a ziplock bag), I got the talk from a coach: Back off of the WoDs and start dealing with things. I was told that I was using WoDs as a distraction from the pain, and that my determination was doing more harm than help.

They say that the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. Very true. I cried on the curb outside.

First up was taking stock of injuries. After months of mobility WoDs, strength gains and regular treatment I was hurting everywhere. I had shin splints, regular migraines, plantar fascia, bicipital tendonitis, impinged shoulders, nasty hip pain and sciatica radiating down my life leg. My back spasms were better, but ongoing despite the new body I inhabited. X-Rays gave us the answer we didn’t want: Osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease throughout my spine thanks to the MVA. I was overwhelmed and in all honesty, pissed off. I really believed if I kept working hard and ignored these, they’d go away. Now I was staring them in the face.

I didn’t even have the luxury of a recovery timeline. I knew I was saddled with a permanent condition in my spine and it wasn’t a question of recovering, but stabilizing and controlling. Luckily, this sport has a hell of a community. My coaches at Crossfit AI rallied around me and volunteered their time. Nutrition plans and biosignature analysis from one coach, corrective exercise and personal training from another with a Kinesiology background – not to mention moral support and regular check-ins from my firebreather friends (the type of friends who invite you and your foam roller over for a mobility evening and meet you at the door with wine). My Chiropractor and Sports Therapist / Osteopath began working away on my body as I started corrective exercise.

I was never someone who could RX WoDs. I always felt horribly guilty as my coaches sat deep in thought with the whiteboard, custom programming my WoDs (even though they enjoyed it). I was never one of the “Firebreathers” who I had become close friends with. I was amazed. I was being treated like an Olympic athlete. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had a better support crew!

10 months later, I am still getting my head around everything. For a while I’d go to the box to absorb the amazing energy and see the people I missed terribly. But then I found myself getting jealous and then a bit resentful. I’d scowl in the back watching everyone do Grace, as I worked on my rotator cuff rehab with 5lb weights. I eventually let go of my need to go to the box, and began to learn the importance of recovery, downtime and balance. I still resist the urge to throw in double unders to add in some “suck factor” or jump into action the second I start feeling better (which set me back several times this summer). Like many, I was guilty of showing up the second I was relatively pain free to hit a WoD.

I have up days and I have down days. I have some amazing corrective exercise and nutritional programming from my coaches, but it comes down getting into that gym and working at it each day – mostly alone. For a Crossfitter, “solitary” “low intensity” “gentle” and “no working out on bad days” is difficult to digest. The physical part has been easy for me. Taking downtime and staying upbeat mentally has been much tougher. Your injuries want your brain to come on down and hang out with them.  They are the worst company ever.

I have made a ton of progress. My pain levels are manageable and I go through fewer crippling “bad cycles”. My stable and strengthened joints have let me do some pretty cool things, like put weight overhead for the first time in a year. Winter rolled around and I was feeling ready to make a careful return to AI. That is, until a nasty fall that lit up my SI joint and low back. 2 months later and I am still gingerly getting in and out of my car and coming up with creative ways to get my socks on. I haven’t even thought about a timeline for this recovery, but I know I am more than able to handle this challenge.

What is the point of this long-winded story? I might not be a firebreather, or even a member of the RX club, but Crossfit gave me the heart and mind of an athlete. I have a deep seated belief that I will return one day stronger than ever. I know my body will eventually catch up to my heart. However, I am also human. I have done a lot of things right, but even more things wrong.

I want to share 25 insights with you that I learnt along the way

  1. Be realistic.  Find the middle ground between giving an injury attention and not letting it dominate your life. If you ignore it (the ego in us wants to do this), things are going to get nasty. A few weeks of rehab will turn into 6 months or more. Or a surgery. On the other end of the spectrum: If you live it, you are going to let it affect your quality of life and possibly set back your recovery. Your brain fires more than 60,000 thoughts a day. If they are dominated by negative thoughts, how will that affect the cells in your body? Psycho-social effects are powerful.
  2. Don’t be a hero. We live in a hero culture. We glamorize those who push through WoDs despite pain and fatigue. Celebrate the games athletes who pushed through their injuries. But do me a favour – don’t tell the coach you are fine when you are not. They may have their Certs in Crossfit, but they are not certified in extra-sensory perception. You need to know that if you are going to play the “hero” game you are rolling the dice – is getting through that WoD worth months of rehabilitation?
  3. Don’t avoid the pain cave. Exercise works better than painkillers. Trust me. It also gives you that delicious rush of feel-good endorphins. When you are injured, this can be dangerous. You may come to rely on WoDs as pain (and mental) relief, only to return to the pain cave a few hours later. I relied so heavily this in late 2010 that I over trained and fatigued my adrenals. Not fun. Can you imagine giving up coffee? Losing your shit over really simple things? No? Then don’t trash your adrenals. You will have to experience some pain. It’s not going to kill you – unless you go to extremes trying to avoid it.
  4. Eat powerful and anti-inflammatory foods. Do not underestimate the power of fish oil, hydration, sleep, heat and ice. There are tons of advanced treatments out there. I am no stranger to decompression, Graston, Laser and ART. But you’ve gotta go low-tech. Ice, mobilize, correct and strengthen, stretch, and put some solid nutrition in that belly before a solid night’s sleep.
  5. Know pain. Hell is good. Inner 6th circle of hell is not good. Know the difference. If you feel like a vertebrae is going to shoot across the room and knock someone out, please stop. I was so shitty at this that my coaches had to resort to crouching in my face and asking me: “Carina: Good pain or bad pain?!” As soon as I’d grunt bad pain under my breath they’d take me out of the WoD. I’d be mad at them for 10 minutes, then relieved. I am not afraid to tell that you I couldn’t trust myself to tell the difference. I asked for help and got it. If it causes more pain, you need to stop doing it. The pages you wrote yesterday produced the story you have today. It didn’t work out.
  6. Knowledge is power. Understand the anatomy and physiology of your injury. This will help to remove the feeling of helplessness and deep frustration that happens early in an injury, or when things are not progressing as you expected.
  7. The body is a system. Don’t get obsessive about a specific problem area and ignore everything else. Treat the entire surrounding area. As I rebuilt my rotator cuff / scapular strength my thoracic spine pain (aka the epicentre of crappiness) improved considerably. Of course, it makes sense. They are connected. Western medicine likes specificity. You need a diagnosis and specific problem area to fix. Learn to also ask about the “theme” the connected parts that interact with your injury zone and how they might be affected.
  8. Recovery is not a linear progression. There are bumps in the road. You might slip on ice or take a spill and knock yourself back a few months. You might have to put a pause in your rehab program to take a few days to manage pain and rest. The body is an unpredictable, complex system. We don’t even fully understand it yet. Hey, that sounds familiar. It’s kind of like … Life.
  9. Get perspective. Talk to other people who had a similar injury. You need to see that you will come out on the other side ok. Forums or even people in your box can be a lifeline, especially when you are feeling isolated during rehab.
  10. Always have fun with your fitness, no matter the challenges you are facing

    If you are still Crossfitting, get over yourself. You will have to scale, or you will have to “MoDWoD” Really, nobody cares that you have your own WoD on a whiteboard. They are focused on getting through their last 20 box jumps. When you get caught up thinking about others, think about waking up inside your own body tomorrow morning. Was it worth it?

  11. Chill. Come down a notch, captain intensity. WoDs produce a high intensity mind set and high intensity life. Learn to appreciate a beautiful sunset during a walk (I am sure you’ve missed out on many beautiful sunsets due to the searing pain in your quads as you overhead lunge across the parking lot).
  12. Visualize. Where do you want to be? See yourself there. Everyone has different goals. For me, it changes every day. One day it might be doing a mini WoD, another day it might be getting into my car without being afraid of jabbing pain. Whatever the image, I have to set in my mind first thing in the morning. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, my friends. Keep it full of powerful, positive imagery.
  13. Get thee to mobility WoD. Learn how to stay mobile and keep things loose. And get ready to dedicate more time to it. A few minute here and there will increase substantially. You just have to get over it. You will need to devote some serious time on this going forward. Don’t worry about whether you’ll be motivated enough to do this. If you hurt enough, motivation won’t be a question. You’ll do it. If you don’t do it, you’re not hurting enough.
  14. Cancel the reservations for your pity party. It’s ok to have a shitty few days here and there but get out, fast. And don’t drag people into it. Just ask them to slap some sense into you. Crossfitters love motivational shit. Throw out a request on your Facebook status and watch the feel-good quotes roll in!
  15. Put it into perspective. Mostly, I want to punch people in the face when they begin with “it could be worse” but it is quite effective. I am currently working through my program at the University gym, where every day at 1pm there is a community program. Clients relearn functional movement after a stroke, or do mobility exercises to manage chronic and degenerative conditions. And I’m pissed off because I can’t squat with a bar? I get over it quickly when I walk by the guy relearning how to use his legs on Tuesdays.
  16. Don’t let injury derail your diet. Your training load may have to be reduced significantly. Do not seek comfort in food. Double trouble. You may also experience some body composition changes. This is particularly important for the ladies: Do not let this get to you. Never let what is happening on the outside affect your motivation to fix the inside. There are many days where I resent what I see in the mirror, because I get caught up in the past (how fit I was last year) or the future (I need to get back in shape). It’s not about then, and it’s not about tomorrow. It’s about getting into the gym today and doing my exercises.
  17. Keep a journal. Log your progress: Setbacks and improvements, environments and circumstances. Moods and nutrition. You need to understand the factors that play a role in improvement and regression, and so do your treatment providers.
  18. Recording one improvement each day is incredibly helpful. With my injuries I’ve never been able to put a bar overhead. First time I did this a few months ago was AWESOME. I put little stars and smiley faces around this in my journal. That page is dog-eared now because I go back and read it. Other days are less awe-inspiring, like my entry of December 20th: “I did not drown my self-pity in chocolate today.” Yet it was a positive notch on the calendar during a crap week.
  19. Focus on what you can do. When I was sidelined from upper body exercises, I focused on building some damn strong legs. Now that I’m sidelined from everything except walking for a few weeks, I am focusing on meditation and relaxation techniques. I had no idea I walked around with my jaw and glutes clenched until I began this process!
  20. Do NOT ask how long it will take. This is one of the first questions that people ask on the Crossfit injuries thread. The body doesn’t work on a schedule. A short recovery estimate sets you up for disappointment when it does not happen. A long recovery estimate is just… well, it is depressing. Focus on what you have to get done today.
  21. Set very small and specific goals. Smash them. And celebrate them. Scratch PR tweets and adopt rehab progress tweets. Don’t be ashamed, your friends probably find your status update about overcoming a setback far more interesting and inspiring than your latest PR.
  22. Don’t be a hermit. It is doubtful that your box friends will allow you to become one, but it is still worth noting. Crossfit, hiking is enjoyable without the need to clean and jerk tree trunks overhead and race each other to the bottom. Hard to believe but there was a life before Crossfit! Trust me, it is still enjoyable if you cannot perform epic feats of fitness.
  23. Develop an interest in an activity that has nothing to do with working out. If your whole world is the box, it is going to be a very difficult experience stepping back for a bit. You need to maintain balance in life so that when one area is taken away temporarily, the world is not over. This is a crucial factor in keeping a positive mindset.
  24. It is ok to be pissed off and to have a shitty attitude some days (not too many). Why? Because dwelling in that pain cave for 24 hours makes you realize how much it sucks for yourself and others. You will have an epiphany and renewed motivation to get your shit together. It is also ok to be jealous. When my husband tells me he is off to smash a WoD or comes home from a WoD and talks about amazing life is. I want to respond with expletives. Sometimes I drop him at the box and go do an angry grocery shop. And then I go do my corrective work. Because I am motivated.
  25. Take ownership.  The injury may be your own fault.  Or it may not.  But managing it is completely in your hands. Your first step to control is having understanding and a roadmap forward. The combination of confused and hopeless is disastrous. And if you are diagnosed with something that does not have a recovery attached to it, learn how to manage that condition and find some success stories.

Choose to see the positive, on bad days, think about this:

  1. It is much better that you are dealing with this now, than when you are 75. Oh, and did I mention you are going to have pretty.awesome pain tolerance when you return to WoDs?
  2. Your body is revealing weaknesses in its structure and makeup. Now that you know where they are and what they are, you can fix them.
  3. Hellen Keller knew what was up. Research shows that people who go through major challenges become, stronger more resilient, and more appreciative of life than those who do not experience challenges. Is Karen really going to be that bad knowing that at one point you dreamed of being able to air squat? No.
  4. The body is an incredibly complex system that we do not fully understand, but you are your best expert. Learn how to listen to your body and understand how you feel and you will regain that control. Listen to your gut. If it is telling you something, tell your treatment provider. There are hundreds of factors that come into play with every injury and those little side conversations may be the breakthrough you need.
  5. Take a holistic approach with your injuries. A big injury is a fantastic opportunity to improve your whole self. If you dial in more areas of your life, things will come together much, much faster for you.

BIO:  Carina Huggins

Carina Huggins graduated from the University of Calgary with her Masters Degree in Military and Strategic Studies in 2010. Originally from the UK, Carina is currently an academic development specialist at the University and advises students on academic and personal success. She is also the owner and designer of Ethereal Creation jewelry and is a freelance writer.

Carina was overweight all of her life and struggled to keep up with others in the athletic activities that she enjoyed so much. In 2007 she lost 50lb through clean(er) eating and working out (with the power of hindsight, she would like to note that “working out” is a loose term). After a car accident in 2008 she discontinued strength training and experienced two difficult years of severe and chronic pain.

Tired of being ground down by pain and inactivity, Carina arrived at Crossfit AI wide-eyed in May 2010 and began her love affair with the WoD. She continued on her path to health, reducing her body fat from 26% to 16% and improving her strength dramatically. She is most proud of participating in her first Triathlon, Duathlon and 10K+ Mountain Trail race in 2011 using only Crossfit as her training method. She also enjoys getting out to the mountains every chance she can and being the un-bendiest at her local yoga studio.

She is currently taking downtime to rehabilitate her injuries, but is looking forward to returning to the box after backpacking around Southeast Asia with her husband Trevor in the spring.

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  • Heather B.

    From someone struggling with injuries and demons it was great inspiration to hear that I am not alone. That there is such insight brings me hope. I trust that this is the start of more healthy discussions of crossfit challeges and victories.

    • Heather, I can relate with what you said. Between S.I. joint problems, ankle injuries and a few other odds and ends, its been tough sometimes staying the course. But as long as we keep focused on our goals, the destination is always in sight.

      Enjoy the journey!


  • Heather B.

    Can do

  • Dan Rogers

    Wicked stuff Carina! As a friend and fellow athlete its always amazing to see you at the box smiling your ass off while dealing with crud like injuries while others tend to b*tch and moan just for the sake of it.

  • Well written Carina – I learned, I laughed I was encouraged. You and Trevor bring a great sense of focus and community to our gym – thanks!

  • Paul Farina

    Well written and a nice wake up call. I just started a Crossfit program and this hit home for me in a big way as I sit up at 2am in pain unable to sleep. Hero mentality for all former “athletes” is a waste of time. Loved the post.

  • chovaleoni

    AMAZING article. One upon a time, I was a bona fide workout addict, always chasing the thrill of my first body transformation. One pound up? Time for 1.5 hours of kickboxing, following by 1.5 hours of vinyasa and 1200 calories all written down in my food diary. Fast forward five years, to hamstring tendonitis, a labral tear, a FAI cam impingement and L5-S1 degeneration. Oh and about 15 more pounds. Lots of epidurals and cortisone. Vicodin. And zero pain-free workouts. That is, until I found Crossfit. Part of me wishes I found it before my body was wrecked, so I could have been a hero. But now, like you, I often watch others conquer their WODs while I modify with a trainer on the side. I’m not an RX person either. You know what? I’m damn proud of myself for keeping my addiction in check. It’s refreshing to know I’m not alone. Thank you.

  • Chovaleoni, I really appreciated your comment. I can totally relate to what you wrote down.

    I was pretty addicted to the feeling of not being in pain while WoDDing and I used it to cover up a hell of a lot of hurts. I think us “live life to the fullest” types are a pretty crazy bunch 😉 we like to go all out with everything, and Crossfit is a very appealing programme because it has similar philosophies. An incredibly challenging part of my rehab has been learning moderation and balance. I was absolutely horrified when my coach programmed mandatory rest days “What do you mean I do nothing?” It took me a good two months of violating those rest days, getting hurt and then a little talk from my coach & sports therapist to finally get it.

    I think that we deal with a double edged sword in that Crossfit reveals our strengths, but it also reveals our weaknesses VERY fast. I am so glad those weaknesses have been revealed to me now so that I can work on them.

    I used to be guilty of a similar mindset before I found Crossfit, eating within a self-imposed framework that was constructed using unrealistic body expectations, guilt and constraint. This sport is particularly liberating because it teaches you that it is necessary to eat for fuel and performance (as well as enjoyment). It gets you off of the see saw (working out vs. eating). I can understand it is challenging walking around with 15 extra pounds and an altered body composition. It is there screaming at you in the mirror to give up or go back to old ways, and it is a constant effort to ignore those voices and continue on with what you now know is the correct (and sustainable) path to health.

    Thanks so much for the comment and keep at ‘er!

  • Rawhide45

    Thanks so much for this article. I injured myself last week during a workout and found out I will need surgery, which will take me about 4 months to recover from. I’ve been Crossfitting seriously for about 2 months and I was getting addicted to it, and getting into great shape as well. This setback hurts because I enjoyed not only the workouts, but also the people and the camaraderie. There were many days when I would be so excited to find out what that day’s workout was going to be that I would wake up prematurely to go online and see! But your words provide me with good perspective and good insight in how to move forward from here. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’m going to use this time recovering from my upper body injury to focus on my lower body and mobility/stretching. I’m also hopeful that this will give me an opportunity to work on mental strength as I begin my road to recovery. Thanks again for your timely article!

  • Tyler S

    Well said Carina. Takes a lot of maturity and a lot of experience (good and bad) to get to the place you’re in. Thanks for sharing.

  • Darren T

    Great article Carina. I have had my fair share of injuries. They all suck, and it is always tough to wait for your injury.
    Great read, and a lot to think about.

  • Peter Shepherd

    I loved reading this, and like all the other commenters, have gone through some sort of rehab. It just upsets me to think that the only people who will truly appreciate this post are the ones who have already gone through something similar. I refused to acknowledge prehab until it was too late. I got lucky that mine was a rather minor injury, and will now actively try to prevent more.

  • Stefanomjr


    “Wow”…just “WOW”. Our symptoms, struggles & mindset are so in sync that it’s scary. Thank you for taking the time & having the courage to write this. I will refer back to this often, for guidance, and support.

    You/We are not alone.

  • Cheryl

    I have been Crossfitting for about 3 years. I have had knee surgery and other injuries. I am now facing continuing issues with my knee. I know a great deal about “scaling”. It is so difficult not to join in and be competitive. It seems once you enter the box, all reason vanishes. I am tired of all of this…and tired of hurting. It has consumed my life. Today was especially difficult — I become so upset, I left…and I am not a quitter. I am considering leaving Crossfit to concentrate on healing my injury and finding other ways of being kinder and gentler to myself. I will miss it. Thanks so much for your artlicle. Best wishes to you.

  • Carina Huggins

    Cheryl, it sounds like you are in a similar place to where I was that fateful night when I laid on my icepack crying. However, stepping back is not saying goodbye. Make sure you find yourself a corrective exercise specialist / kinesiologist who can help you rebuild from the ground up. If you have an action plan and the right people to support you, this can be an intensely rewarding time of your life, rather than a terrible time. As long as you have some kind of a plan, you will feel in control and positive about your future in the sport.
    Once you have that foundation, you can progress back to where you want to be.
    I don’t know if you have a journal subscription, but there are some pretty amazing come back stories that are hugely motivational. There is no sport like this one… I will continue working my butt off until I can return. For me, Crossfit is more than just the workout. 🙂

  • Thomas

    Wow! You are an inspiration. I think I’ll print and post this! Thanks for writing this. I’m not a CF’er, but your mindset is what anyone needs who is going through difficulty.

  • Very good article, not just a good feeling, I say close to all the friends of all, it’s a very good article, the content of the novel, open view, fully demonstrate the capability of writing the author, and a rich experience of life, hope, see more of the good article at hand.lwp

  • Johnny Phive

    This is freaking awesome! – thank you Carina you have given me back my hope…I jacked up my VMO doing overhead squats and have been struggling the last 3 weeks. Thank you!!

  • Kim

    OMG – thank you so much. I had a recent fall from the pullup bars onto my back/left hip which has given me quite a bit of pain and I was just indulging in a little pity party about how sore I am, how fat I’m getting and how I can’t train like I want to.
    Your post has inspired me to get over myself and do what I can – tonight I’ll walk the dog….so it’s not a C&J PR but it’s something….a week ago I couldn’t hobble two feet.

    Carina – thank you so much. Your page is now a saved in my favourites for future reference.


  • Steve J

    Hello, I was doing a google search on return to crossfit after an injury and found your posts. 10 weeks ago, I had a military round parachute accident, who left me with a broken sacrum and a subluxation of the Symphysis. That to say, that the healing is slow, and to read a story like yours is really helpful, as we all want to get back to our former selves, and are not always taking the right road to do it. Thank you for sharing this. I will share some of these gems with others.


  • Jordan2380

    This helps me more than you know, I have lower back problems and I go the gym 5-6 days a week….or I used to since I had a back injury in February and my back hasn’t been the same since. I rehabbed and it’s better but it’s nothing like it used to be. I started CrossFit and the problem came back and I’ve had to limit my gym time now to 3-4 days a week if I can!! Learning how to deal with it and not worry about it has been trying but this article does help in to overcome the injury and the obstacles ahead, thank you!

  • Carina Huggins

    Thanks for all the comments you guys, Steve & Jordan, with my back I’ve been in some pretty nasty places including being stuck in bed, unable to move. Keep strong and carry on, but make sure you get a solid team of knowledgeable people to get you back to where you want to be.

    If you can find a coach who has a clinical or Corrective Exercise background (ie through NASM) you will be leaps and bounds ahead. I also can’t stress enough that the conversations outside of your workout are really important to breakthroughs in back pain.

    The days were I mentioned “hey, I happened to feel this, or that during that workout” or “hey, so this part is pretty sore today from that movement” were HUGE – we identified problems that we did not know existed using those conversations. Constant dialogue and feedback with your coach is important.

    I recently wrote another blog about the journey & details of my rehabilitation (which shows how jacked up my body was, lol) but you might want to read it!

  • Thank you. I needed this right now.

  • Grace

    Thanks for sharing! I’m going to share this with my athletes.

  • Helen Brennan

    Carina,fantastic article. Just what i needed to read as an old-er, injured CF enthusiast. I too have been humbled with the way my trainers and fellow CF mates have all combined to help me thru this and come back strong again..
    your words of wisdom that i have printed out and pinned on my wall.THanks again.


  • Sarah

    stumbled onto this, sounds way to familar. Started CF not even able to OHS a 25 lb bar,due to a bad shoulder injury then soon able to OHS close to 100lb. I was determined to get my competitive athlete back! until the first CF challenge where lingering back injury (s) surfaced. I debated whether or not to even finish the competion, I did somehow, 2nd last. Things have gotten worse since. My strenth I built up, seemed to disappear and the back injuries (DDD, bulging discs, facet joint arthritis, spinal stenosis – that’s what was on the MRI report) are a lot stronger than me. For 5 mths I’ve been doing ice , PT, chiro visits, anti -inflammatorys galore and nothing seems to help . I’ve been going to CF and modifying WODs to far below scaled to keep up the practice but, I know that’s not what I should be doing, Now, I am dealing with possible bicep tendonitis or worse pending another MRI. I couldn’t shoulder or push press anywhere near my PR during the last couple WODs that included push presses or shoulder presses. Never thought laying off CF would be more painful that the injuries. Good to read how others deal with or dealt with the same situation. Don’t feel as much like “FIT” as I know it is over, there is a way to comeback. Thanks again.

  • Curt

    Carina thanks for this!! I’m older (56) and started Crossfit with a vengeance. After about 4 months and pressing really hard I started to have back and side pain. After a few x-rays Doctors told me I have degenerative back issues with bone spurs and I have to take it easy. Totally bummed, I stopped CF for a 3 weeks but now I am back scaling wods and steering clear of hard impact ( box jumps, long jumps some jump rope). I backed way down on weights but continue to use lighter weights and not push through due to ego and competitive nature. I still do it three times a week but I’m a bit more careful and guarded of my back. Thanks this was a great article. Helped me deal with mental side of “scaling”. Still love CF but realize I am not 25 and take pleasure in other things such as long walks with dog or a vigorous bike ride.

    Thanks. Stay well,

  • Mike

    Thanks for your article Carina. This rings particularly true for me as I have always been physically fit and then I discovered Crossfit, my mistress! After about 18 months I had an accident at my box. I ended up with a posterior and anterior tear in my labrum, anterior tear in my joint capsul and a totally ruptured pectorals major. Post surgery,I took 7 months off to rehab. Not being able to WoD just kills me. Reading your article gave me the patience to wait and now I’m happy to say I’m going back this Monday for the first time in what seems like an eturnity!

  • Eduardo Escudero Sánchez

    Best post Ive read in months. I’m struggling myself constantly with shoulder issues and feel very identified with this words. Totally agree with all this. Very wise words. Sometimes is easy to just look at the top guys but not many people know about the struggles of all those that are giving it all to just make their fitness a bit better each day. It takes a lot of strength indeed.

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