*Notice: Please do not take this article as a replacement for medical advice from a licensed professional.
In training for parkour, you run the risk of injuring yourself if you aren’t being mindful and actively practicing to avoid, detect and correct injuries before they become severe. The most common injuries in parkour other than the typical little scrapes and bruises are actually overuse injuries like tendonitis. Most people assume that the most common injuries are from falling, but as traceurs improve, they generally improve their ability to catch themselves and avoid falling injuries.
In order to prevent minor injuries from becoming significant injuries that involve down time and physical therapy to recover, we need to know what to look for to avoid these issues. The first and most obvious indicator of injury is pain. If a particular movement hurts, stop doing it. If your knee hurts when you jump, take a break from jumping for a while. I feel like that is a simple enough plan.
Also when training, be mindful of achy joints or muscles. It is natural to be a little sore a few days after a previous workout, but if every time you get up out of a chair your left knee is achy, then more than likely, you are developing an overuse injury in that joint. Overuse injuries basically arise from too much stimulation of those muscles and connective tissues. You can get overuse injuries doing any type of repetitive task, even typing on a keyboard (don’t worry I’m being mindful). Most often, these repetitive strain injuries come from doing a something without proper form. For example, if you were to swing a tennis racquet hundreds of times with improper form, you would likely develop overuse injuries in the elbow (have you ever heard of “tennis elbow”?).
Once you do notice that you are feeling discomfort in a joint or muscle, what do you do? Here is a very simple plan to help you recover as quickly as possible:
These four basic elements will help you heal a minor overuse injury and get back into action. First, rest. If it hurts when you jump, take a break from jumping or any similar activity for a while. Ice the inflamed area after any exercise where you did feel pain. There are many different outlooks on this, but a good rule of thumb is 15 minutes with the ice on, 15 minutes with the ice off and repeat. Stretch muscles around the inflamed joint regularly and take an anti-inflammatory if necessary. Please consult a licensed professional for any medical advice and if your pain doesn’t subside in reasonable amount of time. To learn more about basic injury detection and remedy, read this article which will go into more depth on the subject.