Shoulder and Back Non-Contact Injuries Most Common in Older Athletes; Knee and Ankle Issues Source of Most Degenerative Problems

By Rob Shaul

Last week we asked MTI newsletter subscribers age 40-60 who have trained 20+ years for medical history of non-contact injuries and significant degenerative issues.

We had hoped to learn if there was any differentiation in these health issues between how these athletes have completed the bulk (2/3+) of their fitness training, and as part of the survey, we asked for their dominant fitness training category: strength, endurance or multi-modal.

Overall we received 18 responses, all from men: 5 who had trained endurance primarily, and 13 who had trained multi-modal primarily. No primarily strength-training athletes responded.

In general, multi-modal athletes seemed to suffer more non-contact injuries than endurance athletes, with shoulder and back injuries being the most common.

In terms of common, degenerative issues, the endurance athletes reported most issues with knees and shoulders. Multi-modal athletes reported most issues with knees and ankles.

We didn’t receive enough responses from endurance athletes, and none from strength athletes, to confidently identify any significant differences between athlete types. But regardless, the data summary and specific injuries are interesting.

Summaries are below, followed by specific injuries and degenerative issues.

For the summary calculation, each limb counted as one incidence. So, if an athlete reported knee arthritis in both knees, that category received two “points.” Understand that because many more multi-modal athletes responded, the reported issues for these athletes are higher.




Questions, Feedback? Email

Comments? Leave your comment under this post.

5 thoughts on “Shoulder and Back Non-Contact Injuries Most Common in Older Athletes; Knee and Ankle Issues Source of Most Degenerative Problems

  1. I’m 70 and reading this I feel very lucky. My guess reading this is if you are trying year after year to be super competitive you end up physically compromised after sixty. If you just maintain an hour/day of exercise and mix it up with running, swimming, weights, skiing, cycling – and listen to your body and rest when you’re hurt – you can carry right on through after 70. You need a little luck too.

  2. Is this still open to input? I just saw it.
    It might be worth resending this every few months. By the end of the year there could be quite a few more details.

  3. Age 53 male 5’10” 190lbs, primarily strength / BB training, some multimodal from 30-40yrs of age.
    – Tendonitis in both elbows, seldom acute, both tennis and golfer’s.

    – Fascia arthritis at L4/L5 and L5/S1. Seldom interferes with training.

    – Degenerative disks at C5/C6 and C6/C7, has eliminated most overhead work from routine but otherwise possible to train around it. Can still perform 5-10 sets per week.

    – Heel spurs, both feet, seldom acute.

  4. Hi. I too just logged on and saw this. I am 58, 5’11” at 170lbs(Male) and would like to be a part of any future study you do on this. I have found that I have to spend more time warming up and adding longer periods of stretching to stay competitive. I am about to retire from the Army. I have found the military programs at MTI to be particularly helpful in maintaining a high level of fitness.

    However, I do believe there is a desire among us older athletes to keep pushing but in a smarter way.

    Left Shoulder spurs and freezing at times. Left/right foot stress fractures and nerve damage, left arm nerve damage and tendonitis, neck spurs.

    I do PT of some sort 6 days a week and take Sundays off to recover. I keep a rhythm of easy day hard day throughout. Lot’s of body weight exercises and use kettlebells and a slosh pipe for core activities. Sandbag chases and box step ups help a lot with pliability and endurance. Just a snapshot but I believe in mixing it up. Seems to work. Thanks MTI.

Leave a Reply