Injury vs Soreness- How to Know the Difference

By Scott Somerville

At some point, we all experience some kind of soreness or discomfort during a CrossFit
class. I know I definitely have! By soreness I mean doing 150 wall balls on Monday and
being a little bit sore that night. Then barely being able to stand up off the couch or walk
down the stairs by Wednesday. This is the type of soreness we all can train through.
If we want to continue pushing ourselves every day and achieving our CrossFit goals, then
we all need to know the difference between muscle soreness and pain that will lead us to
an injury.

Soreness is having muscles tender to touch, tight or achy. This usually starts during
exercise or 24-72 hours after and will sometimes last 2-3 days.
Pain or injury is usually pinpointed to a specific area with sharp pain in the muscle or joint.
You may feel it either while resting or exercising, you may also have a decreased range of
motion when you are exercising.

Knowing the difference between these is super important to having longevity in CrossFit.
No one should be training through pain or continue to do things that are causing pain. If
there is pain while doing the movements then you need to lay off the area and let it heal.
This doesnt mean you need to stop training all together. It just means you will need to stop
aggravating the area by changing the movement. If there is still pain in the muscles or
joins and no improvement with rest, then you may need to see a physio or a chiro.
Far too often as coaches we run into the same scenario. An athlete asks a coaches advice
on some pain that they are feeling during a certain movement. We are always more than
happy to give different movements to avoid the pain or advice on who to see to help with
the pain. The most frustrating thing is when advice is given to an athlete to rest the problem
area but they continue to work through the pain. This is how to cause an injury which may
then lead to a longer recovery period.

Its not a sign of weakness to seek help but a smart move in considering your long term
health.