• J Magraner

5 Common Gym Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Every person that exercises fears getting that dreaded injury. Every beginner that is new to exercise has an overriding fear of getting an injury when they finally have the motivation to start a new adventure in exercise.

Whatever your fitness goals, getting injured surely isn’t one of them. But according to a study from the University of Arkansas, there has been a 35 percent increase in gym injuries in recent years.

At Live Strong Gym our main responsibility is to make sure that everyone from a beginner to an athlete is safe from the injury that is going to take them away from their main goal.

Here are 5 common gym injuries and how to prevent them.

1. Shin splints

Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) is an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around your tibia. Pain typically occurs along the inner border of the tibia, where muscles attach to the bone.

In general, shin splints develop when the muscle and bone tissue (periosteum) in the leg become overworked by repetitive activity.

Shin splints often occur after sudden changes in physical activity. These can be changes in frequency, such as increasing the number of days you exercise each week. Changes in duration and intensity, such as running longer distances or on hills, can also cause shin splints.

Other factors that contribute to shin splints include:

Having flat feet or abnormally rigid arches.

Exercising with improper or worn-out footwear.

Runners are at highest risk for developing shin splints.

Dancers and military recruits are two other groups frequently diagnosed with the condition.

How to prevent it:

  • Stretch your calves and hamstrings.

  • Avoid sudden increases in physical activity.

  • Exercise on softer surfaces when possible.

  • Strengthen your foot and the arch of your foot.

  • Strengthen your hip muscles.

  • Buy new athletic shoes that are right for you.

  • Stay at a healthy body weight.

2. Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common exercise complaint. The knee is an intricate joint, involving bones, menisci, muscles, tendons, and ligaments all supporting the joint. If there is damage or stress to any of these components, you may have achy knees. Plus, many physical activities—running, jumping, stretching, bending—can put a lot of strain, impact, or body weight directly on the knees, and in turn, cause pain while you work out.

This is common among weekend warriors who work out intensely but inconsistently. You can also develop tendonitis over time if you’re regularly doing these motions.

Some causes of knee pain are a bit more serious, however. A common cause in young people, especially those who exercise or play high-impact sports, is patellofemoral pain syndrome. Also known as runner’s knee, this syndrome is characterized by pain in the soft tissues and bone around the kneecap.

How to prevent it:

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Wear supportive, stable, well-fitted shoes

  • Keep leg, hip, butt, and core muscles strong

  • Gently and regularly stretch the muscles that support your knees

  • Avoid kneeling on hard surfaces without knee pads or a cushion

3. Wrist Pain

Weightlifting exercises such as the bench press and biceps curls put extra strain on your wrist. If you use improper form, too much weight or lift weights too frequently, you can experience wrist pain known as tendinitis.

The tendons of the wrist can become hot, painful, inflamed, swollen, and degenerated over time—and trying to work out through the pain can turn a simple acute condition, like tendonitis, into something more serious and chronic.

Tendinitis indicates the tendons that connect muscle to bone have become inflamed. Learning proper form and resting enough between weightlifting sessions can reduce your wrist pain.

How to prevent it:

  • Wrist Flexor Stretch. To do this stretch, you will want to keep your elbow straight while you pull your wrist backward with the opposite hand.

  • Wrist Extensor Stretch. To do this stretch, put your arm out in front of you with the palm facing up. Lock your elbow in place and pull the fingertips downward with your other hand.

  • Tennis Ball Squeeze. Squeeze a tennis ball as hard as you can without making it hurt.

  • Resistance Band Wrist Flexion. With your palm up and elbow at your side as though you were going to do a curl with a dumbbell. Then you will want to wrap a resistance band around your hand and keep your elbow at a 90 degree angle. Slowly curl upward and squeeze your hand so that your forearm muscles tense.

  • Resistance Band Wrist Extension. Instead of having your palm facing upward like the previous exercise, instead your hand should be palm down. Wrap a resistance band around your hand and keep your elbow at a 90 degree angle at your side. Slowly curl your wrist upward and engage the muscles in your forearm. You can hold your forearm with the other hand for added stability.

Other than stretching and building strength in your forearm and wrists, you may want to look at how you’re holding the equipment – especially if you are bench pressing.

  • Proper Form. When bench pressing, lifting with bent wrists is going to cause you to work harder because that force you’re creating when you are trying to lift the bar isn’t going straight up. Proper form for benching is when your arm, elbow, and wrist are all in a straight line when fully extended.

  • Grip Width Matters. Another cause of wrist pain bodybuilding people experience is when they grip the bar too far or too close. A wide grip is going to cause your elbows to be at an obtuse angle while your wrists are going to be at an angle that puts a lot of stress on the joints. A too close grip is going to cause the same problems.

  • Proper Nutrition. Just like the rest of your body, your joints require nutrients to help keep them moving easily. Without an adequate supply of the right nutrients, your body isn’t going to be able to adapt to stress correctly and this can lead to micro-tears in tendons and the joint’s cartilage will begin to deteriorate.

4. rotator cuff injury

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens when you try to sleep on the involved side.

You don’t need to be a world-class athlete—think major league pitcher—to develop some serious issues with your rotator cuff. Even casual lifters can fall prey to rotator cuff injuries.

Rotator cuff injuries are most common in men over the age of 65. However, many adolescents are at risk if they're involved in overhead movement sports, such as basketball, baseball, tennis, volleyball and swimming.

How to prevent it:

  • To strengthen your rotator cuff, it's best to use lower resistance with more repetitions. Low resistance exercises gradually strengthen these small muscles without the risk of injury. The rotator cuff muscles are relatively small, keep the movement slow and controlled.