Going to the gym is a great way to support both your physical and mental health! However, this worthwhile hobby can do more harm than good if you’re not properly prepared. Common gym injuries can happen to anyone who works out, no matter their level of fitness or experience with exercise. In this article, we list ten common gym injuries and how to prevent them so you can get the most out of your workout and stay safe in the gym!
1. Pulled Muscles or Strains
A pulled or strained muscle, number one on our list of common workout injuries, occurs when there is a stretching or tearing of the tissue that connects muscle to bone. An injury like this can be caused by lifting an object that is too heavy, lifting with improper form, or lifting too much and not giving your body time to rest. Individuals with pulled or strained muscles may experience pain, swelling, muscle spasms, and limited range of motion at the sight of injury.
While sprained ankles are considered a common injury, they can happen anywhere even while not exercising. To get a sprained ankle, one must twist, roll, or turn an ankle in an unnatural way. This unnatural motion can put stress on the ligaments keeping the ankle bones together, causing pain, swelling, and immobility. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the injury can take several months to heal.
Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons, meaning that it can occur anywhere there is a tendon in the body. Very frequently, this impacts the areas surrounding joints, most commonly the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels. As the tendons become inflamed, patients may experience tenderness in the afflicted area. Tendinitis denotes a more specific injury depending on where it is located. For example, an inflammation of the elbow could be classified as Tennis Elbow.
4. Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries can occur in the gym when lifting heavy weights overhead. Repetitive overhead activity can cause an overuse injury to the rotator cuff, which involves tears in surrounding tendons. Patients with injuries to their shoulders may experience recurrent pain when performing certain activities, crepitus, limited mobility, and muscle weakness.
5. Groin Injuries
Groin injuries can be caused by overuse of the muscles on the inner side of the thigh. Exercises like squatting or lunging can cause irritation in the muscles surrounding the groin area. Individuals may experience pain, feelings of pressure, swelling, muscle spasms, bruising, weakness, and limited mobility depending on the cause of the injury.
6. Wrist Injuries
Wrist injuries in the gym can include sprains and tears, fractures and breaks, and dislocations. Symptoms of a wrist injury can vary depending on their cause. However, pain symptoms will generally include severe or worsening pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising.
Shin splints are a common injury characterized by pain in the front portion of the lower legs. Shin splints can be caused by overuse or a sudden increase in the intensity of the activity you are engaging in, usually jumping or running on a treadmill or other high impact surfaces. Symptoms of shin splints include tenderness, soreness, and mild swelling along the shin.
Common injuries that cause knee pain include sprains and tears of soft tissue, fractures, or dislocations. Knee injuries in the gym are commonly caused by leg extensions, squats done in improper form (with or without weights), treadmill running and other exercises that involve flexion or extension of the knee. Knee injuries can cause swelling, stiffness, redness, instability, popping or crunching noises, and impaired mobility.
9. Back Injuries
Back injuries in the gym can range from mild to severe; these injuries can include strains, bulging or herniated discs, and even fractures. These injuries are often caused by putting undue pressure on the muscles supporting the spine, performing exercises without proper posture, or attempting to lift too much weight. Symptoms of a back injury can include pain, tenderness, stiffness, muscle spasms, bruising, swelling, and trouble moving and standing.
10. Equipment-Related Injuries
Lastly, both severe and minor injuries can be caused by accidents with equipment. Machines at the gym are heavy and involve many moving parts. This being said, there is the potential to break bones or to incur other injuries if you drop, fall off of, or trip over equipment while using it.
How to Avoid Common Gym Injuries
Now that we’ve outlined injuries you can get at the gym, it only makes sense to cover how to avoid getting hurt during your workout. Here are a few different steps you can take to stay safe when exercising.
Check With Your Doctor
Before beginning any type of workout regimen, consult with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough! Your doctor may ask you to avoid certain exercises until you work up to a higher level of fitness.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Before working out, make sure your body is ready for it! Begin your exercise routine by stretching or jogging in place to loosen up your muscles and slowly increase your heart rate. After you finish your workout, take time to stretch and drink plenty of water.
Gradually Increase Intensity
If you wanted to run a marathon, you would not simply run 26.2 miles after never having run before in your life. You would start at the beginning. Similarly, when starting any new workout routine you want to pace yourself when increasing the intensity of your workouts to help prevent injury.
Listen to Your Body
Your body will tell you how it feels about the exercise you are asking it to do and the intensity level you are asking it to reach, so it’s important to pay close attention to how you feel when engaging in any exercise. After workouts, make sure to fuel your body correctly with nutritious food and water so that you can support your physical recovery and overall health.
Practice Proper Form
Practicing good form is essential to staying safe during your workouts and achieving maximum results. Make sure that you lift weights in a controlled, precise way and return to a neutral position between reps. To make sure you’re using machines and other gym equipment correctly, read the instructions on each machine or speak to a gym trainer. Additionally, make sure to dress correctly; this means wearing the proper footwear and supports and avoiding baggy clothing that might catch in a machine.
Rest and Recovery
It is incredibly important that you give your body time to rest and recover between workouts. Whether this involves supplements or a revolving gym rotation is up to you, but be sure to give yourself a break.
Get Help From Village Emergency Centers
For common gym injuries and all the other emergencies life brings, you can find the care you deserve and the peace of mind you need at your Village. Visit our website to learn more.