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fitness injury

The 4 Most Common Orthopedic Injuries at the Gym and How to Avoid Them

If you’re an avid gym goer, you definitely want to be aware of the most common gym-related injuries. And, more importantly, you want to know how to prevent them. In order to stay injury free while at the gym, here’s everything you need to know:

Injury #1: Lower Back Strains and Sprains

Even with proper form, repetitive lifting of heavy weights can place a fair amount of stress on the muscles and ligaments of the lower back. But, improper lifting technique can cause painful strains and sprains that might sideline you for an extended period of time. In order to prevent this, the following measures can be taken:

  1. Monitor your technique. Mirrors aren’t just for admiring your muscles. Looking for breakdowns in technique and then making adjustments is the best way to prevent injury.
  1. Perform warm up and warm up sets. Two or three light to moderate weight warm up sets should be done before heavy lifting sets. Gradually increase the weight during each of these sets.
  1. Work on your core strength. Improve ab and lower back strength helps prevent injury causing breakdowns in technique and prevent posterior and anterior chain disparities.

Using any, or all, of these measures and your chances of being injured will drastically decrease.

Injury #2: Bursitis

The bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints of the body. Anytime a joint is over- used, worked, or trained, the bursae can become inflamed in what’s known as bursitis. The condition can occur in the:

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Hip
  • Knee

Symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness. In order to prevent bursitis, it’s recommended that you:

  • Avoid overtraining
  • Ice areas as soon as symptoms present
  • Warm up before lifting and stretch after work outs

Taking these preventative measures will ensure you’re not limited by the aggravating symptoms of bursitis.

Injury #3: Elbow Tendinopathy (tendinitis)

 Excessive gripping of objects, like barbells, dumbbells, and weight machine grips, can lead to medial (inside) or lateral (outside) elbow pain caused by tendinopathy.

elbow tendonitis

Illustration 1– Medial elbow tendonitis, commonly referred to as golfer’s elbow

To prevent elbow tendinitis, avoid overtraining and perform exercises to perform grip strength—strong hand and forearm muscles decrease the amount of stress placed on elbow tendons.

Injury #4:  Pulled Hamstring Muscle

Overloading the leg muscles can lead to a pulled hamstring. The symptoms of this injury are pain and inability to bend the knee. Because they can take months to heal, you want to do everything you can to prevent hamstring injuries. Use all of the following preventative measures:

  1. Avoid overloading the muscles by performing warm up sets
  2. Never overexert yourself by lifting too much weight
  3. Properly warm up the muscles before lifting sessions, and stretch after. A foam roller after work outs is also a great recovery tool.
  4. Pay close attention to lifting technique
  5. Always use a spotter

The importance of preventing hamstring injuries can never be overemphasized. Always be extra careful in regards to this injury.

Contacting an Orthopedic or Sports Medicine Specialist

You’re now aware of four common injuries that happen at the gym. And, you know how to prevent them. Take this information to heart and remain injury free so you can enjoy working out and living your life.

If it’s too late and you’ve already sustained a gym-related injury, please contact one of our 5 Fairfield County offices. Making an appointment is easier than ever—we’ll get you in ASAP and will help to develop a treatment plan to get you back to working out.