The most common pain + injuries I see when treating rowers + kayakers, are injuries to the wrist, shoulders, knees and lower backs. It is incredibly easy to use and train the side from which you row, however it is wise to remember that if you create strength on one side on the body only, then you are prone to weakness and trauma on the other.

Rowers I treat tend to all have similar issues. I believe that the biggest challenge you face is not only the maintenance of bilateral strength, but more importantly the maintenance of your flexibility!

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Please note, AS ALWAYS, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.

The Problems

Wrist and shoulder Tendonitis:

  • Poor technique can cause or worsen your pain.
  • Prevent by getting your form right (!) and using specific targeted stretches.
  • Treatment of Tendonitis- discontinue activity , use Volteral, arnica  NSAIDs, and ice.

Knee Tendonitis

The repetitive bending of the knee can causes the tendon to rub over the bone and cause inflammation that, in turn, aggravates your condition. The outcome will be a cycle of pain, heat and swelling.

  • Prevent by getting your form right (!) and using specific targeted stretches.
  • Prevention + Rehab: Stretch your quads daily.

Knee Bursitis:

Commonly known as housemaids knee. This is a painful condition which causes redness and swelling on (outside) or above the knee. The bursa is the sack of fluid which supports- feeds your joint, it can rupture. The repeated action of bending and flexing the knee during a full rowing motion It is commonly accompanied with redness, pain and swelling in the area.

  • Treatment:  Rest, ice and NSAIDs are usually enough to heal the condition.
  • Prevention: Strength and flexibility
  • Rehab: gently increase your flexibility + strength.

Lower Back Pain

The bending and straightening during the rowing motion can cause pain in the lower back due to poor posture or fatigue. It is worth noting that old-pre-existing issues including trauma, pain and weaknesses can be overcome however a strong flexible core is vital. Even when there is no previous back ‘history’ muscle strains are possible, as are disc problems.

Sports specific causes:

Repetitive bending + straightening rowing action.

  • Treatment: Rest, targeted stretch routine, massage. More severe injuries and pain may require professional medical help.
  • Prevention: again, the correct form will help greatly as will a strong flexible core. Pre-post stretching routine as part of warm up will help greatly.

 

Summary:

Maga Foundation’s Rowing rules;

  1. Prevention is always better than cure.
  2. Unbalanced strength creates weakness
  3. Flexibility creates strength
  4. Participation: Warm up- stretch- row-stretch-cool down
  5. Training: Regular, targeted to the individual, flexibility enhancing training promotes strength, for you and your team!

 

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