The 3 most Prevalent Wrist injuries from CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting

Impingement Syndromes of the Wrist

Dorsal Wrist Impingement

Dorsal wrist impingement is the most common injury to a CrossFitters, Olympic Weightlifter or Gymnasts wrist. The injury results from the repetitive combination of hyperextension (extending or straightening the joint beyond its normal range of motion) and axial loading, (placing force on the joint or bone).

The injury occurs when the dorsal (back) edge of the radius impinges on (strikes) the wrist bones. This individuals pain can intensify such as during a handstand. When injury occurs, the client feels pain and tenderness on the backside of the wrist. The pain usually subsides after training has ended.

Scaphoid Impaction Syndrome

Scaphoid impaction syndrome may occur because of repetitive hyperextension stresses(weightlifting/gymnastics). This mechanism is also responsible for avascular necrosis of the capitate in weightlifters. Impaction of the dorsal pole of the lunate on the distal radius is also seen in gymnasts.


Distal radial stress fracture

Distal radial stress fractures are commonly associated high impact forces, incurred from excessive hyperextension of the wrist with weight, such as cleans, for example, can cause compression on the wrist,

causing small fractures (breaks) in the radius (the bone on the thumb side of the forearm). Pain and tenderness are often felt around the entire circum‐ference of the radius just above the wrist. The pain is experienced at the onset of participation and progresses as activity continues.

The injury is often caused by repeated microtrauma (minor trauma) due to axial loading and hyperextension of the wrist. Therefore, it is important to have the injury evaluated when the pain is first felt. Postponing a visit to a physiotherapist like those at Evolutio can lead to a more serious injury and a longer recovery time.

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and the fracture. Resting and avoiding compressive loading routines is the mainstay of treatment. A splint or cast for immobilization may help. An athlete may return to participation after full range of motion has returned and the pain and tenderness have subsided.

After returning to sport, it is important to monitor the wrists for recurring symptoms. Any recurrence of symptoms will require additional treatment, particularly, a rest period from participation. Surgery is not always necessary; however, severe injury and failure to see a physiotherapist right away often result in a longer rehabilitation time and rest from activities


Alex is the Founder of Evolutio. A hub for the greatest physio minds on the planet. Since opening it’s doors Evolutio has consulted over 2500 clients across Melbourne, now based permanently in Richmond. You can book in with an Evolutio physio here. Or drop in, have a coffee, read popeye and say hello.


Alex Drew

Raised as a sandgroper over in W.A, Alex was handed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and asked to leave the university lecturers in peace for good.  As a matter of filling his time, he also graduated from the Royal Military College as an Infantry Officer in 2008 after finally pointing his rifle in the right direction and making his bed to an elite level.

Moving to Melbourne in 2010 in an episode similar to that movie Coyote ugly, Alex has since worked in a few sports physio clinics across Melbourne, coached CrossFit, done power-lifting training courses, walked a 45km mt buller trail run and worked at North Melbourne football club.

Alex founded Evolutio in 2013 to provide a hub for the next generation of great physio minds to work together on high level athletes. 

He writes on business, leadership and mens health.