5 most common workout injuries and how to prevent them | Back In Motion

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5 most common workout injuries and how to prevent them

Published: 23 December 2021

The new year is a great time to either start new fitness goals, or even reset your current fitness goals. Some of us might want to take up running, others might want to join a gym and some of us simply want to stay more active in our day to day lives. Whatever your fitness goals are, getting injured definitely isn’t one of them!

The reality that comes with any physical activity is that there is always a risk of injuries – the two go hand-in-hand (unfortunately). Although injuries do happen, fortunately there’s plenty you can do to help prevent them from happening!

Here are some common injuries we see from working out and how to prevent them:

Lower back muscle strain

Lower back strains happen as a result of overuse or an overstretching of the muscles and ligaments in your back that holding the bones of your spinal column in place. When these muscles get strained, it can cause tiny tears in the tissue, leading to them being weakened.

This then causes back pain such as muscle spasms, never pain and stiffness.

These injuries often happen in the gym when performing exercises using a heavy amount of weight such as squats or deadlifts.

There’s nothing wrong with training with heavier weights, but when you are either using the incorrect form or are going too heavy – your lower back can take on a lot stress, leading to injury.

Here are some tips on how to prevent lower back strains injuries:

  • Warm up!
    Performing a proper warm up and doing stretches before exercise, allows blood to flow through the muscles, priming them for a workout. If you skip this, you’re putting yourself at risk of an injury.
     
  • Using the correct form
    As deadlifts and squats are 2 exercises that recruit muscles in your whole body, it is imperative to use proper form while performing the exercise to ensure that not just one muscle group is taking the load.

    For example: when performing a deadlift, ensure you lift with your legs and don’t just let your lower back pull the weight.
     
  • Use appropriate weights
    This one is pretty straight forward! While it’s okay to incorporate heavier lifts into your training, going too heavy unnecessarily can lead to injury. Train smart!

Wrist sprains

Wrist sprains are a common injury for all types of athletes, across all types of sports. Often, these injuries occur as a result of trying to break your fall during sport. Once your hand makes contact with the ground, the pressure makes its way into your wrist. This can then stretch the ligaments that connect the wrist and hand bones a little too far for their liking!

However, they often occur in the gym too - but not as a result of a specific fall. We often see wrist injuries from movements that involve any weight bearing on the wrists and repetitive overuse. A 2017 study conducted by the Journal of Orthopaedics, showed that strains and sprains made up nearly half of all weight training injuries [1].

These include movements such as push-ups and most exercises that involve the wrist in a pushing motion. A lot of crossfit athletes and weightlifters are at risk of sustaining a wrist injury due to the nature of their sport.

Here are some tips on how to prevent wrist injuries:

  • Warm up!
    There will be a common theme here with warming up. We can’t stress enough how important it is for your body… and yes that includes your wrist joint too! Perform wrist rolls, stretch the forearms and ensure your wrists are nice and loose before performing any strenuous activity.
     
  • Strengthen the muscles around the wrist
    Having strong forearms, means you can better support weight and load at a lower risk of injury.

    Simply exercises are a forearm curl, squeezing a tennis ball or using hand grips.
     
  • Consider using wrist supports
    Wrist supports (wrist brace or wrist wraps) during activity is a suitable option. You’ll notice a lot of professional gymnasts use wrist supports, as it allows them to place a larger load on the muscles, without isolating the wrist joint.

Knee pain

Knee injuries are a common condition we see in practice, and these are from athletes from all different disciplines. In many cases knee injuries often happen as a result of a twist or a fall in contact sports, but knee injuries also happen in athletes who aren’t involved in sports!

Knee pain can strike during exercises that require placing load on the knee joint and flexing the knee (squats, lunges, deadlifts, jumps, burpees to name a few). Although weight training is generally safe for the knees, if you are experiencing pain it’s a good idea to get it examined by a physiotherapist to help address underlying issues.

It’s essential to practice proper form and follow the correct technique for each exercise to ensure that you are not placing any unnecessary stress on the knee joint.

Here are some tips on how to prevent knee injuries while working out:

  • Warm up!
    Once again, warming up is in the list! Your knees play a vital role in any vertical movements (jumping and squatting) so ensuring that the joint is nice and “warm” before performing any activities is a good idea.
     
  • Manage your load
    Ensure you are splitting your training to allow your leg muscles and knee joints adequate rest. Overloading the muscles surrounding the knee joint will cause them to be overworked, and can lead to knee pain.  
     
  • Strengthen the muscles supporting the knee
    Strengthening the muscles that support the knee ensures that your knee is strong, stable and flexible. Having weak hamstrings, quadriceps and calves and force the knee joint to take the pressure of certain movements instead of having the muscles activate.  

At Back In Motion, our goal is to provide you with long lasting results, which we call results4life. This is centered around using a defined path to help measure progress in your rehabilitation. Our approach addresses key areas that are fundamental to lasting recovery from not only injury or pain-relief but treatment and prevention of injury re-occurrence.

Back In motion is always here to help you!

With practices Australia-wide, we’re Australia’s leading provider of physiotherapy and related services. Contact us on 1300 859 981 to organize a booking with one of our physiotherapists or podiatrists and we can help you with your knee pain!

References

[1] Cinque, M., et al. (November 2017). Upper Extremity Weightlifting Injuries: Diagnosis and Management. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320896255_Upper_Extremity_Weightlifting_Injuries_Diagnosis_and_Management