We all know the importance of staying fit and healthy. Fitness goals require us to hit the gym or head out for a run. Whatever we do, accidents can happen anywhere. Whether you are a professional athlete or an amateur, it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Prevention is always better than cure.
Most gym injuries are caused by improper form or incorrect use of equipment. People often try to lift too much weight without properly warming up, or they use machines without understanding how they work. This can lead to muscle strains, pulled ligaments, and other injuries. Leading Physiotherapist in Delhi and Gurugram, Dr Saed Varis shares a few prevention tactics for some of the most common gym injuries.
- Shin Splints: Also called medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints are a common injury among gym-goers. They are caused by over-exerting your lower leg muscles and tendons, usually from sudden, high-impact movements such as jump squats or by running on the treadmill, especially when it is slanted. Make sure to start your workouts with a proper warm-up of light stretching and dynamic exercises. Wear proper footwear with good arch support.
- Lower Back Sprain: This happens when you exert when you have strained the muscles surrounding the spine. Squats, deadlifts, lifting heavy weights, and twisting the torso, are the major culprits for such injuries. Make sure to warm up before lifting weights and focus on proper form. Strengthening the core muscles can also help to reduce the risk of injury. Additionally, it’s important to listen to your body and not lift weights that are too heavy for you. Keep your spine neutral while working out.
- Elbow Injuries: Elbow injuries or tennis elbows occur due to repetitive motions of the arm and forearm, such as lifting weights or doing push-ups. The medical term for this is lateral epicondylitis which causes pain and tenderness in the outside of the elbow that may go down the arm. To prevent elbow injuries, it is imperative to use proper form when lifting weights and use lighter weights if needed. You should also take breaks between sets and stretch your arms regularly. Wrist extensor and flexor exercises can also be beneficial in strengthening the elbow muscles. Additionally, icing the elbow after activity can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
- Shoulder Injuries: Repetitive movements like overhead lifting can damage the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that support the shoulder. Overuse of the rotator cuff muscles can tear or strain them. To prevent rotator cuff injuries, it is important to use proper form when lifting, avoid repetitive motions, and take frequent breaks. Additionally, strengthening exercises such as shoulder presses or lateral raises can help to maintain healthy shoulder muscles.
- Knee injuries: This type of injury is often caused by incorrect form when doing exercises like squats, lunges, and leg presses, which can put extra strain on the knee joint. It can also be caused by repeated bending and straightening of the knee which stresses the kneecap (patella). Doctors call it patellofemoral pain syndrome. Proper warm-up and stretching before a workout can help reduce the risk of knee injuries. Additionally, use proper technique when lifting weights, avoid sudden or jerky movements, and wear shoes with arch supports or orthotics.
- Ankle injuries: Ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle get overly stretched or torn. Ankle injuries in the gym can happen due to incorrect form while lifting weights or performing exercises such as squats, lunges, or plyometrics. Poorly executed exercises can put too much strain on the ankle joints leading to an injury. Wearing the right type of shoes and ensuring that the gym has the appropriate safety equipment can help reduce the risk of ankle injuries. It is also important to warm up and stretch before exercising to reduce the risk of injury.
- Equipment-related injuries: Gym-goers often encounter equipment-related injuries. This is due to incorrect use of the equipment, not being familiar with the correct way to use it, or not following the safety guidelines provided by the gym. For instance, if not properly used, a chest press machine can lead to shoulder impingement, which is caused by compression of the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder joint.
To prevent such injuries, it’s important to always read the instructions and ask for help if unsure. It is also important to warm up and stretch before any activity and to use the correct weight and form when exercising.
Lastly, wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for a full range of motion. With these strategies, you can enjoy your workouts and achieve your fitness goals safely and effectively.
HOD, CK Birla Hospital (Physiotherapy), India’s Leading Physiotherapist
Dr Saed Varis is an eminent physiotherapist in India with vast experience in treating post-operative orthopaedic conditions like TKR, THR, ACLR, HTO, etc. He has vast experience treating conditions like PA shoulder (Frozen Shoulder), Bankart Lesion, Knee Pain, Bursitis, Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Wrist Pain, Ankle Pain, Ligament Injuries, and many other musculoskeletal conditions.
Gurgaon’s Top Physiotherapist Dr Saed Varis, says, because of ageing, or due to a serious injury, certain individuals might start suffering from joint issues that restrict them from performing daily activities. One of the most common among them is knee osteoarthritis, which is an outcome of old age. Other knee diseases caused due to inflammation and injury are rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis, respectively. Serious knee diseases make normal activities such as walking, sitting, climbing stairs, lifting heavy objects, or standing for a prolonged duration of time very difficult. If medicines cannot show significant improvement in the knees, then the patients are suggested to go for a total knee replacement surgery (TKR).