How to Prevent and Fix Crossfit Knee Pain (2022)

Posted In Blog, Knee Braces

Stephen|October 11, 2020

Crossfit is gaining popularity rapidly as one of the best ways to build muscle and burn fat. Despite all the positives there are some negatives attached to crossfit. Most common problems experienced include crossfit knee pain, arthritis and other chronic injuries. In this article we will look at how to prevent and fix crossfit knee pain. We will take a look at what are the most common crossfit knee injuries and how you can fix them.

Table of Contents

  • What Are the Most Common Crossfit Knee Injuries?
  • Common Corssfit Knee Injuries
    • Meniscus tear
    • ACL Tears in Crossfit
    • MCL tears
    • Meniscus tears
  • Are Squats, Box Jumps and Lunges Safe?
  • How to Avoid Crossfit Knee Injuries?
  • How to Treat Crossfit Knee Injuries?
    • How to treat meniscus tears in crossfit?
    • How to treat MCL injuries in crossfit?
    • How to treat crossfit ACL injuries?

Crossfit exercies such as lunges, squats and box jumps can be particularly bothersome and contribute to knee injuries. Following an extensive warmup protocol, building up the weights gradually and not overexercising are key to longevity in the sport. Having balanced muscles and working on any imbalances is similarly important.

(Video) Stop Knee Pain Now! 5 Exercises To Strengthen Your Knees

If you hear a sudden pop in your knee, or you have pain, stop immediately. There is no point in working through pain with these activities, it only causes more harm during the long run. It can cause you to stop crossfit altogether, not to mention you might develop severe knee arthritis.

What Are the Most Common Crossfit Knee Injuries?

Most common sources of crossfit knee pain are the following:

These occur as a combination of overtraining, poor warmup, insufficient recovery, poor form while performing squats, box jumps or sprints. Proper warmup is essential in before hard training.

Common Corssfit Knee Injuries

Meniscus tear

In crossfit you have to perform several exercises with weights that put a large strain on your knees if done badly, with poor form. Poor squatting form leads to injuries. Your age matters also, in the young and middle-aged population there is a heightened chance of cartilage damage. Other common crossfit knee injuries are meniscus tears and ACL tears. In the worst case scenario these can end up causing lifelong injuries and damage.

Hands down the most common knee injury in crossfit is meniscus tear. The most common way athletes injure themselves is through squats, kettlebell swings or leg presses under a heavy weight. Either the joint will tear or the attachment of the joint to the bone will get punctured by the back of the knee. The latter can develop into osteoarthritis if it is not fixed quickly. It is easy to recognize when you have a meniscus tear. If you hear a sudden pop at the back of your knee while squatting, you must see a doctor immediately. Feeling a sharp pain in the back of your knee during your next squat, is a certain sign of a torn meniscus. If the meniscus tears at the point it connects with the joint, the problem is easier to treat. See a good specialist in time.

(Video) 4 Tips To Fix Knee Pain!

ACL Tears in Crossfit

ACL tears occur in crossfit during box jumps, or twists and turns while carrying heavy objects. They can also develop into arthritis quickly, so it is imperative to see a specialist as soon as they occur. ACL tears leave the knee unstable. Just like with a meniscus tear you will hear a loud pop as soon as the injury occurs. Usually the knee swells up within thirty minutes. Also if your knee feels unstable, shaky, chances are you damaged your ACL. What makes it so sinister is they are often paired with a meniscus tear. If you visit a specialist, force him to inspect your meniscus too. Otherwise only one problem would be treated, which would leave your knee damaged and susceptible to arthritis over time.

MCL tears

The MCL is on the inner side of the knee, and it is responsible for providing side-to-side stability to the joint during sudden direction changes. Usually box jumps and sudden direction changes with heavy weights are responsible for MCL tears. Any time you hit the ground awkwardly or your knee is rotated while carrying a heavy object, this injury might happen. You will experience a sharp stinging pain, your knees will swell up. In heavy cases you might feel unstable at the knees at even the easiest steps.

Meniscus tears

The meniscus is a little piece of the knee cartilage that acts as a shock absorber. Most meniscus tears occur when you are doing squats, and you are suddenly forced to perform a twisting action. Most of the time it occurs while you are lowering yourself into the squatting position instead of getting up from the squat.

As with other crossfit knee injuries, a torn meniscus will have the effect of swelling, stiffness and a limited range of motion. Similarly you will hear a sudden pop in your knee. If you feel pain at the next squat you can be sure that you have torn your meniscus.

Are Squats, Box Jumps and Lunges Safe?

The above three are among some of the most common movement patterns performed in crossfit. All of these put a heavy strain on your knees. Basically any form of leg extension with heavy weights is bound to injure you if you do it improperly. As you extend your knee during a squat or a leg press, the fulcrum of the force becomes your kneecap. Repeated exposure can wear down the cartilage.

(Video) Tips For Knee Pain Caused By Weight Training

Did you know that lunges and squats put at least nine times your bodyweight across your knee?

If you feel crunching, sharp pain or your knees swell up after these activities, stop immediately. If this happens more than one time, you might have chronic knee arthritis and it might be wise to see a specialist. You might have to modify your training activity, or abandon crossfit altogether in more severe cases.

How to Avoid Crossfit Knee Injuries?

As with most sports injuries if you follow a few guidelines and take precautions you can easily avoid the injuries that cause crossfit knee pain. The occurance of meniscus tears, ACL and MCL injuries in crossfit can be reduced with these precautions.

  • Warm up properly. Squat a few times with lighter weights first.
  • Integrate mobility workouts and stretching to your exercise routine.
  • Control every movement. Don’t use bigger weights if you are not able to perform a squat with perfect form first.
  • Don’t use higher boxes for box jumps than you are comfortable with.
  • Respect recovery time. Avoid overexercising at all cost. Your muscles and joints need to recover from the strain crossfit puts on them.
  • Wear proper shoes for squatting and box jumps.
  • Warm up your complementary muscles before exercising.
  • Make sure you do other sports to work on muscles groups that are not exercised by crossfit.

How to Treat Crossfit Knee Injuries?

How to treat meniscus tears in crossfit?

The quick solution is to apply RICE. Rest, ice, compression, elevation. To ease the pain you can take anti-inflammatory medication. In severe cases there might be a need for surgery. The process of minimal necessary surgical intervention in the case of a meniscus tear is called meniscal repair (meniscectomy). After surgery the quickest way to return to full range of motion and strength is through physical therapy. Through this process you regain full range of motion and muscle strength.

How to treat MCL injuries in crossfit?

Thankfully MCL tears can be treated without a surgery. Most cases heal with enough rest, recovery, physical therapy and anti-inflammation pills.

(Video) How to Alleviate Knee Pain

How to treat crossfit ACL injuries?

In case of a crossfit knee ACL injury applying RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is enough. Rest, put ice on your knees, put a compression sleeve on the knee and elevate it. If the problem doesn’t heal in a few weeks, several weeks of rehabilitative work might be in order. You have to involve a trained physiotherapist, who supervises you at first, but you can continue working the process on your own at home. Knee braces are also in order to stabilize the joint during movement. Throughout enough rest and good rehabilitative process you will regain the full range of motion in your knees, the strength of the muscles and end the pain forever.

There are many factors that can lead to crossfit knee injuries. However you must pay attention to all the usual things. Warming up properly, doing all the exercises with the correct form, and leaving adequate recovery time between workout sessions.

(Video) How To Fix Knee Pain And Keep Training CrossFit®️

FAQs

How do I protect my knees during CrossFit? ›

Use an icepack on your knees after a work out to help reduce the inflammation.

Why do my knees hurt after CrossFit? ›

Knee pain can result from the following: Overuse. Repeated bending during high stress exercises such as Olympic lifts, lunges, plyometrics, or running can irritate the kneecap joint (patellofemoral joint). Over-stressed tendons around the patella or kneecap may also cause the symptoms.

Does CrossFit damage knees? ›

Two common knee injuries found in the CrossFit community include an MCL injury and meniscal tears. While many knee injuries can be avoided with proper exercise form and appropriate body conditioning, an awkward landing from a box jump or a heavy front squat can cause an athlete to become sidelined. Dr.

How do you fix knee pain? ›

Do use "RICE." Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated. Don't overlook your weight.

Does CrossFit damage your joints? ›

Since it's a ball-and-socket joint, CrossFit workouts put you at a higher risk for a shoulder injury than normal wear and tear. The best way to avoid a shoulder injury like this is to strengthen the surrounding muscles that support the rotator cuff.

Can CrossFit cause joint pain? ›

Shoulder impingement: The most common CrossFit injury is likely shoulder impingement. This occurs with overhead movement when the tendons or bursa around the shoulder are impinged inside of the joint.

Do knee sleeves help CrossFit? ›

One of the reasons that knee sleeves are so popular in CrossFit is because they help athletes in their recovery process. After performing WODs, knee sleeves work to reduce swelling and pain through the compression warming effect.

How many times a week should I do CrossFit? ›

Overtraining

The recommended schedule for a CrossFit athlete is 3 days ON and 1 day OFF to ensure an athlete is getting enough rest. “Personally, I take Thursdays and Sundays off every week to allow my body to recover and to rest,” he says.

Is it normal for my knees to hurt after working out? ›

Knee stiffness and pain can drastically affect your workout performance. Although it's normal to feel some pain after a workout every once in a while, you should seek consultation if knee pain happens regularly and out of the ordinary.

Does CrossFit destroy your body? ›

The program's emphasis on nutrition and high-intensity interval training will help you reach an optimal level of overall fitness. Even though Crossfit won't destroy your body, your chances of becoming injured in some capacity are greater than performing more conventional modes of exercise.

Can CrossFit be done safely? ›

CrossFit is a safe training option when practiced in a controlled environment, and it is not more dangerous than other training methods. Warming up, proper execution of the exercises, and not having a previous injury are the best predictors to avoid further injuries.

Why do my knees hurt after box jumps? ›

What is happening is an overload or stress injury to the protective lining (cartilage) of the patella. These strenuous exercises place an excessive amount of force on the patella. The cushioning cartilage becomes inflamed and irritated, which can lead to swelling, stiffness and pain with kneeling, stairs and exercise.

Does CrossFit damage your joints? ›

Since it's a ball-and-socket joint, CrossFit workouts put you at a higher risk for a shoulder injury than normal wear and tear. The best way to avoid a shoulder injury like this is to strengthen the surrounding muscles that support the rotator cuff.

Why do my knees hurt after box jumps? ›

What is happening is an overload or stress injury to the protective lining (cartilage) of the patella. These strenuous exercises place an excessive amount of force on the patella. The cushioning cartilage becomes inflamed and irritated, which can lead to swelling, stiffness and pain with kneeling, stairs and exercise.

What is medial collateral ligament injury? ›

What is an MCL (medial collateral ligament) tear? An MCL tear is damage to the medial collateral ligament, which is a major ligament that's located on the inner side of your knee. The tear can be partial (some fibers in the ligament are torn) or complete (the ligament is torn into two pieces).

Videos

1. Knee pain and injury prevention when returning to exercise Pt.1 - Squats | Tim Keeley | Physio REHAB
(Physio Fitness | Physio REHAB | Tim Keeley)
2. How to Fix Patellar Tendonitis (No More KNEE PAIN!)
(Squat University)
3. Knee Pain With Exercise (SURPRISING CAUSE and HOW TO FIX IT!)
(ATHLEAN-X™)
4. Avoid KNEE INJURIES in CROSSFIT (most common exercise mistakes)
(Buff Body)
5. HOW TO FIX KNEE PAIN. EXERCISES & STRETCHES FOR KNEE PAIN RELIEF.
(Kristi Eramo O'Connell)
6. CrossFit Pro Matt Chan Knee Pain Treatment Success Story | Regenexx
(RegenOrthoSport)

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