01787 374964 - The Iveson Clinic for Physiotherapy and Chiropractic - info.ivesonclinic@gmail.com


Physiofirst has recently shared this interesting article from Berkshire Hospital regarding Rowing and Injury Prevention and Treatment. As we have a very active rowing club in Sudbury and see rowers occasionally with an assortment of ailments, this article may of be of interest to some of you. 

                                             The wow factor, paddling at sunset

Over the Summer there have been many local rowing events and Regattas. These events encourage more people to get out on the river and row irrespective of their level of experience or expertise. Rowing is a great way to get fit whilst allowing you to enjoy the beauty of your nearby lake, river etc. 

What causes rowing injuries?

Rowing is a fantastic sport for developing core, leg and arm strength as well as having cardiovascular benefits. However, injuries of the wrist, rib cage, knee and lumbar spine can happen. These are most often due to overuse and time spent rowing. Bad technique can also be a cause of injury. Maybe if you are sitting incorrectly in the canoe or foot alignment position is poor. If you have previous injuries and lack fitness, these can all result in vulnerability to injury. Technique is key to trying to avoid injury. 

Common Rowing Injuries

Kayaking, a popular form of exercise and relaxation.

  • Low back pain – the most common type of rowing injury. This is often caused by the constant bending back and forth whilst rowing. 
  • Upper back pain- this includes pain and tenderness of the muscles in your shoulder, neck and upper back. 
  • Knee pain – pain is often felt below the knee cap or on movement of the joint
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Rib cage pain – this may be a rib dysfunction or muscular strain. However, professional rowers can develop rib stress fractures.

How to prevent injuries

-Achieve a good level of fitness before rowing

-If you already have injuries to your back, knee or wrists, then speak to your dr or physio to find the best way to protect these areas whilst rowing.

-Exercise to strengthen your muscles and back, improve your posture and tighten your stomach. This can consist of exercise such as rowing, running, cycling and/or weight lifting. For example, if you have stronger arms and shoulders they will take unnecessary pressure off your wrists. Strong stomach muscles will help protect your lower back.

-Attain a good level of general health by eating a balance diet and exercising frequently.

-Warm up thoroughly before every training session. This is especially key in preventing knee injuries whilst rowing. A good warm up consists of approximately 10 minutes of aerobic exercise such as running. 

-Stretch properly after warming up and when you cool down after running.

-Check your equipment is up to par. Always maintain a good posture to avoid back injury. Sit tall on your seat, with your head up and eyes ahead. Ensure you are sitting centrally with equal weight through your buttocks.

-Coordinate and practice your rowing motion. If you’re new to rowing start off slowly and short spurts to get your body used to the rowing motion.

-Avoid over straining while you row. If you feel any discomfort, lower your intensity and if you feel pain stop immediately to prevent injury.

-Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This will help your body to endure a strenuous rowing workout.

-Protect yourself from the sun by wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, a hat and applying sun screen.

Treatment for rowing injuries        

Rowing is a great way to get fit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Seek prompt advice and if necessary treatment for your injury. If you row through the pain, this may aggravate the injury.

Early management of injuries nearly always means that you will have less time away from rowing. 

RICE is the best treatment for soft tissue injuries such as ligament sprains, muscle strains, bumps and bruises. This is rest, ice, compression and elevation. You should also seek professional advice.

Ensure your injury is completely recovered before you resume rowing or any form of sporting activity.


Treatment for rowing injuries at the Iveson Clinic

If you have a rowing injury, the Iveson Clinic is here to help. 

Our highly experienced chartered physiotherapists and chiropractor can assess your injury, offer advice and if appropriate, treatment. The Iveson Clinic offers traditional hands on treatment for injury combined with exercise.

We offer rapid assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention for both common and complex rowing injuries. 

For further information contact:

The Iveson Clinic on Tel: 01787 374964

Email: info.ivesonclinic@gmail.com