Constant rib injuries

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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ameliaclute
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Constant rib injuries

Post by ameliaclute » August 6th, 2019, 2:40 pm

Im a female college rower and seem to get rib injuries with a frequency that no one else on my team experiences. I’ve broken two ribs on the water, and have had countless intercostal strains from both the c2 and rp3. No one Can figure out why Im getting injured so much, as many of the injuries happen in new places every time. Has anyone else had a similar experience, and what should I look out for as signs that I’m putting myself at risk for rib injuries specifically? (Ex: shooting my slide, Poor core strength, undereating, Etc?)

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Anth_F
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by Anth_F » August 6th, 2019, 3:54 pm

I've had intercostal muscle damage from the C2 in my first year rowing. Mine was cause through sprinting hard and probably not great technique at the time. Very painful injury tbh, found it hard to breathe without it feeling like someone was digging a knife into my ribs. I rested up for 3 weeks of no erg, and then eased back into erging with higher SPM and low end Drag for about 1 month.

I would look closer at your technique than anything else, and make sure to be warming up properly.
42yo male 5'10 78kg (Rowing since june 9th 2016) PB's 5k 19:22 30min 7518m

My goals are simply to keep fit/get fitter and continue to enjoy rowing on the C2 :)

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Dangerscouse
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by Dangerscouse » August 6th, 2019, 4:33 pm

I'm totally guessing but are you not breathing out when you brace your core on the drive, and therefore straining your muscles due to a full stomach of air?

I have never suffered from rib injuries so I can't say for sure
45 HWT; 6' 4"; Liverpool 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:27; 6k= 21:23; 10k= 36:21 30mins= 8,356m 60mins= 16,317m HM= 1:18:40; FM= 2:49:39; 50k= 3:28:18; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

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StrengthCoachWill
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by StrengthCoachWill » August 6th, 2019, 8:42 pm

ameliaclute wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Im a female college rower and seem to get rib injuries with a frequency that no one else on my team experiences. I’ve broken two ribs on the water, and have had countless intercostal strains from both the c2 and rp3. No one Can figure out why Im getting injured so much, as many of the injuries happen in new places every time. Has anyone else had a similar experience, and what should I look out for as signs that I’m putting myself at risk for rib injuries specifically? (Ex: shooting my slide, Poor core strength, undereating, Etc?)
I did a long writeup on my website, adapted from a research paper I wrote in grad school, on low back pain and rib stress injuries. I'm presenting on this at the Joy of Sculling conference in December this year. I can answer questions about the research and risk factors, but I can't diagnose or guess as to exactly why your injury(ies) may have happened.

https://rowingstronger.com/2018/09/10/l ... es-rowing/

You already have the highest risk factor for future injury, a history of previous injury. Once you get one, you're more likely to get another. It's incredibly frustrating, and this is why it's so important that coaches take active steps in their programs to reduce risk of the first injury. Once a rower has one, they will always need some sort of special management to prevent another. I don't believe the injury is ever 100% behind you, the way it is with other injuries. By "special management," I mean cross-training instead of long erging sessions, reducing per-stroke load wherever possible, strength training to mitigate future risk, avoidance of certain exercises (bench pulls, heavy horizontal pushing), etc.

If no one else on your team gets the injury, then it's probably not the training plan. I coached for a team with an HC who ran a high-volume/high-load/high-frequency program with rapid escalations (ugh), and we went from 1 RSI in the previous 4 years, to 5 within his first year. That's a training program problem. It could be your technique: A heavily sequential stroke (more segmentation between legs/body) is a risk factor, as is shooting your slide. It could be your strength: Weaker legs than arms increases risk, because you're rowing with more upper body and putting more stress on the rib cage. It could be your nutrition: Low bone mineral density is a risk, because RSI is a bone injury. It's possible that your progression back to full rowing was too quick after your first injury, and that set you up for recurring injury.

Or, if you've ruled all of those out, then it could just be bad luck. Sometimes injuries just happen, despite doing everything you can to reduce risk, and sometimes people just have bad genetics for a sport or don't tolerate a certain kind of training well. IMO this is rare compared to the common risk factors I just mentioned, but it is a possibility.

I'm sorry I can't give you better news. There is a path forward, but it will require a lot of management and careful attention by you and the coaching staff.

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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by jamesg » August 7th, 2019, 2:14 am

I’ve broken two ribs on the water
How did that happen?

What's your height and weight, and when on the erg what's your stroke work level? Are you much taller or shorter than your crew?
78y, 188cm, 87kg, last seen MHR 163. 2k (24 May 19) 8.46.6@22

ameliaclute
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by ameliaclute » August 7th, 2019, 2:17 pm

StrengthCoachWill wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 8:42 pm
ameliaclute wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Im a female college rower and seem to get rib injuries with a frequency that no one else on my team experiences. I’ve broken two ribs on the water, and have had countless intercostal strains from both the c2 and rp3. No one Can figure out why Im getting injured so much, as many of the injuries happen in new places every time. Has anyone else had a similar experience, and what should I look out for as signs that I’m putting myself at risk for rib injuries specifically? (Ex: shooting my slide, Poor core strength, undereating, Etc?)
I did a long writeup on my website, adapted from a research paper I wrote in grad school, on low back pain and rib stress injuries. I'm presenting on this at the Joy of Sculling conference in December this year. I can answer questions about the research and risk factors, but I can't diagnose or guess as to exactly why your injury(ies) may have happened.

https://rowingstronger.com/2018/09/10/l ... es-rowing/

You already have the highest risk factor for future injury, a history of previous injury. Once you get one, you're more likely to get another. It's incredibly frustrating, and this is why it's so important that coaches take active steps in their programs to reduce risk of the first injury. Once a rower has one, they will always need some sort of special management to prevent another. I don't believe the injury is ever 100% behind you, the way it is with other injuries. By "special management," I mean cross-training instead of long erging sessions, reducing per-stroke load wherever possible, strength training to mitigate future risk, avoidance of certain exercises (bench pulls, heavy horizontal pushing), etc.

If no one else on your team gets the injury, then it's probably not the training plan. I coached for a team with an HC who ran a high-volume/high-load/high-frequency program with rapid escalations (ugh), and we went from 1 RSI in the previous 4 years, to 5 within his first year. That's a training program problem. It could be your technique: A heavily sequential stroke (more segmentation between legs/body) is a risk factor, as is shooting your slide. It could be your strength: Weaker legs than arms increases risk, because you're rowing with more upper body and putting more stress on the rib cage. It could be your nutrition: Low bone mineral density is a risk, because RSI is a bone injury. It's possible that your progression back to full rowing was too quick after your first injury, and that set you up for recurring injury.

Or, if you've ruled all of those out, then it could just be bad luck. Sometimes injuries just happen, despite doing everything you can to reduce risk, and sometimes people just have bad genetics for a sport or don't tolerate a certain kind of training well. IMO this is rare compared to the common risk factors I just mentioned, but it is a possibility.

I'm sorry I can't give you better news. There is a path forward, but it will require a lot of management and careful attention by you and the coaching staff.
thank you for your help! i'll be reading your research paper and try to adapt it to my training in the future.

ameliaclute
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by ameliaclute » August 7th, 2019, 2:20 pm

jamesg wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 2:14 am
I’ve broken two ribs on the water
How did that happen?

What's your height and weight, and when on the erg what's your stroke work level? Are you much taller or shorter than your crew?
I had rib intercostal strains along one rib for about 5 months but (stupidly) didn't tell my coach, then one day on the water I was in a four going for power strokes at a low rate, and felt something in my rib pop. I fractured one rib in two places. I am a bit shorter than the rest of my team on average, I'm 150 pounds and 5'8". Yesterday I was on the erg doing 10x500 at a 30 and hurt another intercostal, even though I only row around 109 drag.

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johnlvs2run
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by johnlvs2run » August 7th, 2019, 5:26 pm

ameliaclute wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 2:20 pm
I was in a four going for power strokes at a low rate, and felt something in my rib pop. I fractured one rib in two places.
There's your answer, too much force at too low of a rating, a common affliction among rowers.
I am a bit shorter than the rest of my team on average, I'm 150 pounds and 5'8".
Taller heavier people with longer heavier arms and torsos have significantly more optimum drive length to modulate the forces, which you don't have.
73 5'8 155
age 70+ world record pace per weight percentages
skierg: 100m 87.4 / 500m 86.2 / 1k 85.9 / 2k 89.4 / 5k 87.6 / 10k 89.4 / 60' 92.0 / 21k 93.6
my training log

jamesg
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by jamesg » August 8th, 2019, 2:35 am

Make sure you are not carrying over to the water the typical fast leg action used on a grounded erg to reduce the slack at the catch. Afloat this is not needed, the catch is shorter; scullers in particular seem to be very cautious here. There may be some advantage in switching to a double or quad, the more symmetric action could help you.

The action afloat is simple, smooth and relaxed, with no over-reach or slam. High force work is not needed, you are strong enough already. Don't think you have to move the boat all by yourself. Use your good stroke but no more. Use the rudder to steer if coxless.

Afloat your coach will be aware of the gearing you use, which controls forces. Presumably this differs between men and women, HW and LW, and you will be using your specific boat and blades.

I've broken a number of ribs, as most do, thanks to taking to the air when skiing or on a bike. Recovery takes about 3 months and can be complete.
78y, 188cm, 87kg, last seen MHR 163. 2k (24 May 19) 8.46.6@22

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Carl Watts
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by Carl Watts » August 8th, 2019, 10:04 pm

I would be looking at doing a different sport if I were you.

Had few injuries like sore elbows, sore forearms but little else in 10 years on the Erg. I don't think I would be doing any rowing if it was breaking bones or other serious injuries.
Carl Watts.
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Ripples
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Re: Constant rib injuries

Post by Ripples » August 8th, 2019, 10:43 pm

A bone density scan might be in order to rule out osteoporosis. If bone density is low, there are a number of tests that can be done to determine the underlying cause.

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