Common Rodeo Injuries and overcoming them

Here at Acumen, we are specialists in training the Rodeo Athlete. As many know, Rodeo is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. That being said, it is important to prepare the body the best we know to take on such impact and injuries in order to take care of what might be, well, inevitable.

3 Common Rodeo Injuries we see and how we help!

1. Groin (adductor) Injuries:

It’s no surprise that groin injuries are high on the list when athletes have to wrap their legs around a 1,000+ lb animal consecutively. Groin issues can start out as just the inner thigh being sore, tender, and feeling “tight”. Without proper treatment and addressing the issue, the adductors can get progressively worse and lead to tears and even worse, ruptures.

How we help:
At Acumen, we use a strain gauge to test the strength of the groin and compare it to the other side. We also test it at all different angles to help guide us on the proper treatment and exercise therapy for each muscle group needed. Anecdotally, we have found that many groin injuries or pain are improved with manual therapy paired with the early posterior hip (glutes, hamstrings), and lateral glute (glute med/TFL) activation, helping alleviate adductor pain. We then progress adductor strength to balance all the hip structures out for prolonged pain relief.

2. Shoulder Instability:

Shoulder instability is when a shoulder has “come out of the socket” or “dislocated”. For some, this is surgery and for others, this is a lot of diligent reconditioning of the shoulder to avoid it “coming out” again and decrease the feeling of “looseness”. Some people are predisposed to this condition, but in the sport of rodeo, the actual sport itself predisposes the athlete, with high-impact landings, increased eccentric loads, rough stock unpredictability, and more.

How we help:
Our approach to shoulder instability begins with improving shoulder proprioception and using low-impact exercises. We then progress to scapular stability and rotator cuff strength. From here we address core stability related to shoulder control and work on dynamic movements of the shoulder and body to increase strength and shoulder awareness. After each of these progressions is sufficient we increase shoulder plyometrics to prepare the shoulder for impact.

3. Knee injuries:

Knee injuries are prevalent in the rodeo world. They can range from ligament tears, contusions, fractures, meniscus tears, or a mixture of all. In Rodeo, there are barrels, gates, livestock, and uneven ground that put the knee at higher risk. The knee is a large joint, and it doesn’t have deep articular surfaces and depends a lot on musculature, ligament, and tendons for its movement, making it susceptible to sprains and strains.

How we help:
Knees often need a good evaluation to make sure that it is not urgent (multi-ligament, blocked knee, etc) and what is best suited from a reconditioning standpoint. Soft tissue and manual therapy can be helpful during the healing process and aid in pain management. Making sure the knee obtains a full range of motion is crucial early on. Muscle contraction and knee stabilizing exercises are initiated prior to working on strength and multi-directional movements. Once an athlete is strong throughout the range of motion and movement, then we can progress to the landing technique and explosive technique.

When coming back from an injury we are sure to put athletes through a series of tests so we know we are returning them the best we can. Physical preparedness helps with confidence and mental preparedness.

Two things you can do to start your journey with the Acumen Team.

  1. Attend one of our Rodeo Combines

  2. Book with us for an Athletic Therapy + Strength & Conditioning Consult

Both of these options open the door to some rodeo-specific programming that can be delivered in-person or remotely.