What are the most common rowing injuries | OrthoIndy Blog

Last updated: 08-21-2020

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What are the most common rowing injuries | OrthoIndy Blog

Get back in the game or back to doing what you love. Our Ultimate Guide to Sports Medicine will help you prevent, treat and recover from your sport’s injury.


Rowing for sport began in 1828, and was one of the original sports in the modern Olympic Games. The sport requires a high level of physical conditioning, comparable to a cross-country sport.

Because of the long periods of repetitive motions in rowing, overuse injuries are common in the sport.  Luckily, many of these injuries can be treated by an OrthoIndy orthopedic specialist or at an OrthoIndy Urgent Care.

OrthoIndy physician and former World Champion in Kayak Singles, Dr. Renn Crichlow, discusses common rowing injuries and how to prevent them.

“Rowing isn’t a particularly common sport in Indiana, but it is an awesome indoor cardio workout and with people social distancing it can be very attractive in a home gym,” said Dr. Crichlow.

 However, no matter where you row, injuries can still occur.

Other common injuries are rowing calf strain and rowing finger tendonitis.

It’s important to make sure you are not favoring one muscle over another. “Rowing can lead to muscle imbalances with stronger quads and glutes, but very tight hip flexors and hamstrings – this leads to trouble with the low back, patellar tendons and IT Band,” said Dr. Crichlow.

Treatment options for rowing injuries can vary on severity.

“Due to the fact that many people are not used to using their upper body in such a repetitive and highly loaded fashion forearm, wrist and elbow tendonitis can occur as well, said Dr. Crichlow. “This will typically respond to ice and NSAID’s but may require other more significant interventions that OrthoIndy can help with.”

Dr. Crichlow provides personal experience advice on how to prevent injuries while rowing. “Start slowly and work rowing into a cross training regimen of biking, running, elliptical and rowing,” said Dr. Crichlow. “If you are at a gym with the equipment 10 minutes of each is an awesome way to do cardio and avoid boredom and repetitive strain injuries.”

If you do experience an injury, OrthoIndy offers different treatments options to help you get normal back.

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

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