Aside from accidents, injury is the one thing that can really strike fear in anyone who is on their health journey. It can really dampen the spirits and demotivate, having to take time to care for the injury, not to mention the cost and time involved to recover from injury.

In order for you to be aware of these common injuries, we have a list below of the 10 most common ones (in no particular order). More importantly, how to prevent them!

1- Wrist Strain

The wrist is a complex joint with a high degree of mobility, but high mobility and instability often go hand in hand. One too many barbell curls with a regular straight bar, or a workout with a ton of push ups, can overload the wrist and strain the surrounding muscles. Front squats and other exercises that require significant shoulder mobility to keep the weight off the wrists can also place unwanted stress on the area.

Probably the most common injury in the gym. Like the shoulder, this is a complex joint in the body with many places of motion. How many times have you hurt your wrists by overloading your wrists? Any exercise that requires you to use your hands can lead to strains, whether it be pulling (reverse bicep curls), pushing (push ups) or even as a support (weighted front squats), putting too much stress on the joints.

PREVENTION:

  • Target the smaller, stabilizing muscles of the wrists
  • Kettlebell swings and cleans can help, as well as wrist rotation exercises and wrist extensions

2- Rotator Cuff Injury

This is the group of muscles in the shoulder that supports and stabilizes it. Activities that require a lot of shoulder mobility and overhead motions (throwing a ball, swimming, shoulder press) can lead to this sort of injury. Further, as we age, our tendons begin to degenerate, making easier to injure if we do not take care.

PREVENTION:

  • Incorporate strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff into your upper body program
  • Maintain good posture (a slouch position compresses the shoulder joint)
  • Avoid repetitive overhead movements with weights that are too heavy
  • Focus on selecting weights that are light enough to allow the rotator cuff muscles to work without relying on the deltoids and pectoral muscles.

3- Lower Back Strain

Low back pain during a workout may be a sign that you’ve strained the muscles surrounding the spine. If you feel a sudden twinge or pulling sensation, you’ve likely pushed beyond your limits, which can even lead to nerve compression or disk herniation. Squats or deadlifts with improper form (or too much weight) are the big culprits for low back injuries, but twisting or sideways bends can also place a strain on the area.

This happens when you strain the muscles surrounding the spine. This sort of injury can lead to nerve compression and disk herniation. Improper form and/or trying too heavy a weight, uncontrolled twisting or sideway bends can strain the lower back.

PREVENTION:

  • Make sur you maintain a neutral spine when you lift
  • Correct you form before performing any exercise with added weights
  • Increase your load gradually over time
  • Ask a qualified personal trainer for assistance if unsure

4- Pectoral Strain

A pectoral strain or tear is usually a result of a sudden overload to the tissue, usually in a bench press or chest fly motion. Performing one heavy bench press too many can take you from strengthening your chest to straining it.

PREVENTION:

  • Work up to your bench press weight slowly and gradually over time
  • Avoid explosive bench press movements with heavy weights
  • Request a spotter when lifting heavy, make sure you don’t drop the weight or lose control
  • If your wrists or hands shake when you lift, it’s definitely a sign that you need to lower your weight

5- Groin Pull

Groin pull are fairly common and can occur during squats, lunges or while sprinting. A sudden movement that pushes the muscles a bit too far and the workout is over as you hobble out of the gym! Your risk also increases as you age, since the muscles and tissues lose some of their elasticity.

PREVENTION:

  • Make sure you warm up the inner thigh muscles before working out
  • Start with gentle walking or jogging or cycling to warm up muscles before performing any sprints or polymetric movements
  • Include strengthening exercises like leg raises, clamshells in your lower body routine

6- Tennis Elbow

Even if you don’t play tennis, tendonitis can crop up after using weights that are too heavy, performing identical exercises every time you work out or utilizing improper technique. Weightlifters may irritate the tendon by performing an exaggerated wrist flexion at the end of a bicep curl, lat pull down or seated row.

PREVENTION:

  • Keep wrists in neutral position while lifting can ago a long way towards minimizing your risk
  • Avoid fast repetitions
  • Decrease weight if and when feeling strain
  • Introduce strengthening exercises

7- IT Band Issues

A common injury for runners and cyclists, iliotibial band syndrome (IT Band Syndrome) occurs when the IT Band (a band of ligaments that runs the outside of the leg from the knee to the hip) becomes tight and inflamed. You’ll likely notice pain at the hip or on the outside of the knee, which may increase with repetitive motion the impact the IT Band, such as cycling or spin classes.

ITBS nay be caused by overuse, a rapid increase in mileage or a result of running on uneven or banked surfaces. Old, unsupportive footwear can also contribute to ITBS.

PREVENTION:

  • Runners! Make sure your footwear are in good condition and increase your mileage slowly and safely. Try to vary your routes so that you avoid running the same direction too many times
  • Cyclists! Make sure the seat height is appropriate and the torso is in a good position to allow proper alignment of the hip and leg on each pedal stroke

8- Sprained Ankle

This sort of injury is not exclusive to runners. Like the shoulder and wrist, this is a very flexible joint. Twisting or rolling it inwards or outwards too far can tear ligaments. It is not the jumping motion but rather the landing that is the cause.

PREVENTION:

  • Preform ankle flexibility exercises
  • Work on strengthening muscles in the lower leg and foot
  • Exercise caution when getting on and off the treadmill, use the emergency cut off clip
  • When running outdoors, aim for flatter, level surfaces and keep a close eye on foot placement when you run over challenging terrain.

9- Runner’s Knee

A vague discomfort around the kneecap can signal patellofemal syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee”. Often related to poor tracking of the patella, you may hear creaking, crunching or grating sounds as your knee moves through a normal range of motion.

If you can hear creaking, crunching or grating sounds from your knees as you move around and have discomfort around the kneecap, it could be Runner’s Knee.

It can happen when you perform exercises involving the legs and you do not keep your knee properly aligned. Using weights that are too heavy or performing too many repetitions can also damage the knees and cause pain.

Runner’s Knee is most commonly encountered by runners, pain may occur when running hilly routes.

PREVENTION:

  • Weak hips and abductors can cause the knee to track inward during squats and lunges, or while running or jumping, which places strain on the petallar tendon
  • Keep your knees healthy by focusing on exercises that strengthen the hips and quadriceps
  • When weight lifting, focus on keeping the knees in proper alignment
  • Strengthen the surrounding muscles

10- Shin Splints

That pain you feel on the inside of your shin bone might be a sign of Shin Splints. Most common among people who do a lot of running and jumping.

Shin Splints happen when overly worked muscles in the lower front leg cause pain along the shin bone. It can happen after a few workouts especially if you suddenly increase your intensity or frequency of your training. Running hills or on hard surfaces or training in worn out shoes also increase your risk.

PREVENTION:

  • Wear correct shoes that are in good condition
  • Gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts
  • Warm up before any hard training sessions to ensure you get the blood moving and prep those lower leg muscles for intense effort

In summary,

  1. make sure you warm up properly before you start your workout session.
  2. Make your movements smooth and controlled.
  3. Gradually increase your intensities and weights.
  4. Make the time to strengthen these areas especially those joints with multiple moving planes.

Enjoy the process, be encouraged by your gains and improvements. It’s not a race, getting healthy and strong is a lifestyle.

 

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