Common Gym Injuries and How to Treat Them
Workout injuries happen to every person, it has almost become a bragging right at this point--hurting yourself while trying to improve yourself.
No one can really say anything about that and there are definitely worse and more embarrassing ways to show up with an injury.
If your last workout was years ago and you want to get into shape by starting a fitness program, your body will take a beating because of very natural events like age, muscles not being used to that much exertion, increased weight and just natural wear and tear of the body.
If you workout every day and follow a strict regularity with your fitness, you are equally prone to injuries just by doing something awkwardly, landing wrongly on a jump, uneven flooring during a jog, even sleeping can cause an injury.
Because we all get injured, there has been so much research into the subject of injury prevention and especially injury recovery.
No matter if you are a professional athlete in mid-season form preparing for a heavy playoff run or if you are a fitness beginner wanting to turn your life around, there are tips that are available to you to set you up for success in the life-changing world of fitness. You can check out my previous posts about injury recovery, like the Foam Rolling Guide, Resistance Bands, Deadlift TIps, etc.
In this article, I am going to talk about 10 of the most common workout injuries, what causes them and how to treat them.
Before I get into it, always remember the golden rules of working out: always stretch before the workout, have both a warm up and a cool down and ease into your workout!
Most commonly called the runner’s injury, hamstring strains are primarily caused by poor technique or awkward form, as well as an imbalance of strength.
When your hamstring muscles are flexed and the most exertion is given to that muscle group, that is when they are most susceptible to injury because it is at that point where we are pushing for growth and for increased strength.
Think of a runner who is running at their peak speed--their hamstrings are pushed to their limit and the runner is trying to hold that speed for as long as possible.
Hamstring strains would roughly take a minimum of about four weeks to heal completely because we walk every day and constantly change from sitting to standing--there is pretty much no way to not use your hamstrings.
Strength training such as standing deadlifts is the best method to avoid injury, and in terms of recovery, foam rolling is a great way to get back to your optimal performance form.
Bicep Tendon Rupture
Given the regularity of weight lifting in most workouts, bicep tendon rupturing is a very common injury that happens to the best of us, regardless of any prior workout experience.
This injury happens most commonly after bicep curls, and the way that it works is through your bicep working too hard as you lift weights that are too heavy.
Any person’s fitness goals can include gaining strength, and while we think that carrying heavier and heavier weights is a good thing, we can easily see that the idea is not as good as it seems because our muscles can’t handle it at the moment.
Whether you are bringing the weight up or down during a bicep curl, we are not doing our body any favors by using a weight that is too heavy.
Stretching and massaging the bicep would be a great remedy for this as the bicep needs to recover. It is also a good indication that you should decrease the weights that you are lifting.
No matter what your workout experience level is, a pulled groin can happen to anyone. With the increasing amount of home working out these days, it can happen anywhere too.
Groin pulls happen when the inner thigh muscles engage in heavy workouts without having been warmed up beforehand. The most notable workouts to cause a pulled groin are squats, lunges and sprinting--all of which require the leg being bent while your flexed thigh carries weight.
The best way to prevent a pulled groin is to warm up the inner thighs. For recovery, you have to compress the muscles, but them under ice and rest. Working out this area during injury will lead to a slower recovery and the potential for further injury.
Lower Back Injuries
Whether you are working out or doing something completely unrelated to fitness, lower back injuries are popular and recurring, and are heavily related to our lifestyles.
These injuries occur after repeatedly doing things with poor posture, such as sitting with a curved back, standing slouched, lifting weights improperly and even sleeping in awkward positions.
Related to workouts, the lower back is most susceptible to injury during weightlifting, as improper form and techniques cause our backs to improperly handle the weight.
The best prevention is to start off with core stability exercises, and the best treatment is self-correction: practice good posture during pain and in the future. Planks and any kind of spinal mobility would go a long way.
Similar to lower back pain, neck injuries most commonly occur during everyday tasks and mundane day to day activities like the ways we sit, lack of mobility (or too sudden movement), lifting weights and sleeping position. Neck injuries are usually a chain reaction from back pain as the two are usually significantly connected.
If you regularly have poor posture, such as a crunched back, misaligned stance while standing or leaning on your head, you likely would have already experienced this kind of pain.
When it comes to working out, neck pain occurs whenever your back is putting in too much effort at the moment, causing a chain reaction of applying pressure to your neck.
The best prevention here is to avoid doing workouts that require you to sit down. For recovery, massaging and moving your neck around are the best methods, along with improving your posture in general.
Another common lifestyle related injury is foot pain, which we have all experienced in one way or another, whether working out or simply doing nothing.
Given the uneven surfaces of roads, sidewalks or trails during a run or walk, we can see how different surfaces demand more of our feet than others.
Similarly, if we walk with feet facing inwards or applying too much pressure in Foot PainFoot awkward areas of our feet, over time we will start to notice the pain on our feet and heels.
In terms of working out, common areas of foot pain are around the heel and the tendons of the big toe. For heel pain, this happens when we apply too much weight along the heel, which is usually the first point of contact with the ground.
For the big toe, pain occurs when too much weight is applied onto the front of the foot. Both of these areas of pain can be prevented by correcting your footwears, as well as adjusting your way of walking.
In terms of recovery, massaging and self-correction are the best ways to go.
Because we are always on our feet, ankle pain is a very common occurrence that typically happens whenever we apply any kind of weight on a single leg.
From things like stretching to the workout itself, ankle pain can happen at any time regardless of proper or improper form. Depending on your age and family genetics as well, all of our levels of susceptibility to ankle pain are varied.
The ankle is a very mobile and in demand joint, so injury is no stranger.
If you are doing any kind of single leg exercise when you are standing on one leg, your ligaments come into play, however if your foot turns inward unexpectedly during these workouts, there is an unnatural and irregular stretch for your ankles, causing the ligaments to be torn.
The best prevention for ankle pain is flexibility exercise to prevent loss of balance and to promote strength. In terms of recovery, massage and less usage temporarily are good fixes.
The muscles between the hips and the toes are constantly at use both during workouts and while doing everyday tasks.
As you can imagine, if any kind of unexpected action happens that requires you to engage your leg muscles, you are susceptible to an injury due to improper form. This is no different for quads.
Our bodies can only handle so much, and it is important that your quads are properly warmed up and that proper weights are used.
For working out, quad pain usually happens when we have improper form or if we are carrying weights that are too heavy. The best prevention is to warm up properly before working out and doing exercises that are within your capabilities.
The best recovery is foam rolling and massage.
These are just a few of the common gym injuries that I have noticed throughout the years. There are so many recovery items at your disposal that can get you back on the course of your fitness goals in no time.
While so many injuries are due to non-workout related activities, before working out, always remember the golden rules: always stretch before the workout, have both a warm up and a cool down and ease into your workout!