Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes
Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes

Let's Talk About Parkour Injuries

Let's face it. Injuries happen. They can happen whether you are playing basketball, practicing karate or even just walking to work. They happen because we are human, and we make mistakes. Practicing parkour is no different. When we miscalculate the stability of an obstacle or our own abilities, we mess up and occasionally get hurt. In our discipline, that can mean sprained wrists, twisted ankles, cuts, bruises and many other colorful souvenirs.

But what happens when injuries stop being a negative thing? What happens when athletes view them in a neutral or even positive light? From what I've gathered, no good can come out of it.

Should have read the sign...

First of all, an injury is not something to overlook. All parkour injuries, even minor ones, should not be commonplace in regular training. They should be the exception, not the rule. We should never shrug off a shin bump from a missed precision jump like it's nothing.

Next, contrary to popular belief, a parkour injury is not a point of pride. It is not a rite of passage. It is not proof that someone is training hard or being tough. It is simply the result of a miscalculation the practitioner made. The only thing it proves is that she or he messed up.

I have seen these two attitudes too often in the parkour community, and I believe they need to stop. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. Disregard of injuries leads to carelessness, making more serious injuries in the future more likely.
  2. Disregard or glorification of injuries leads to a culture of recklessness in the greater parkour community.
  3. This careless behavior further promotes the popular notion that parkour is a reckless, dangerous discipline, leading to negative perceptions from the authorities, the media and our local communities.

There is a good reason why "être et durer," translated from French as "to be and to last," is a motto of the parkour community. If parkour is to survive as a respected discipline, and if its practitioners are to continue training for 20+ years, we need to start taking the reality of parkour injuries seriously.

How do we do this? Here are a few ideas to get us started. Feel free to add your own:

  • Emphasize safety above all else, including speed, flow and power, in all levels of parkour training.
  • Discourage fellow practitioners from trying anything that is clearly beyond their strength and skill level.
  • Create a culture of responsibility by applauding well-executed movements and refusing to congratulate risky stunts.

If you get hurt, even if it's just a bruise, take a few minutes to reflect on the injury. Why did it happen? Could you have prevented it? What do you need to change about your training style or movement to prevent future injuries?

If you think this is excessive, remember that one serious blow to your knee/wrist/ankle can change the way you train for months or even years.

I have never been seriously hurt while practicing parkour, but I was once completing a stride from one bench to the next when I miscalculated the distance, slipping and bumping my shin. It hurt like crazy, created a nice-sized bump and gave me a colorful bruise for weeks. That one instance put things into perspective for me, and I decided that from then on, I would train at whatever pace I needed in order to avoid injuring myself.

This is not because I'm afraid of the pain. It's because I want to continue practicing parkour for the rest of my life until I am physically unable to do so. We are not invincible, so let's stop training like we are. The future of parkour and its practitioners depends on it.

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  1. Excellent, and listen to what your body is saying, and what it means.

  2. Thanks for this post. I'm still recovering from breaking my fibula a couple of months ago and man has it sucked not being able to train. I know that I was pushing myself too hard and didn't pay enough attention to the surfaces that I was training on when I caught my leg on a ledge which caused my leg to twist. It set me back quite a bit but I'm determined to train again. Things happen but it's important to learn from your mistakes, let yourself heal, and get back to training intelligently. :)

    1. Katherine, that is such a bummer! :( But it is really awesome that you were able to learn from it and will adjust your training style accordingly! It is so crazy how one tiny slip-up, just the slightest mistake, can set us back for months with an injury like that. Sometimes we don't realize how fragile we are until it's too late. Yes, letting yourself heal and learning from your injury is the way to go! Stay positive, and keep pushing on like the strong traceuse you are! Can't wait to hear more about your parkour adventures in MN as you get back to training!


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