The Most Common Gym Injuries
During the cold season, a lot of people take to the gym to replace their regular running routine outdoors. Also, athletes use gyms for cardio exercises as part of their cross training routine. Depending on the level of fitness and familiarity with gym equipment, people can become overzealous with their training, or make a wrong move. Thus, injuries taking place in the gym are quite frequent, especially among amateur athletes.
Today we will discuss the most common types of injuries which appear as a result of exercising at the gym and the first aid measures you should apply. Also, we will offer you a few helpful tips to help you avoid suffering them. As with any kind of article regarding physical injuries during running or exercising in general, please remember that this does not replace a visit to your doctor and recovery routines assisted by a licensed physiotherapist.
- Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are the most frequent type of injury that take place in a gym and they occur most commonly while running on the treadmill. It happens especially if you are used to regular running on a track, before you get used with the concept of static running on a moving band.
The ankle sprain is caused by sidestepping, when the weight of your body is placed on the outer side of your sole. The ligaments in your ankle are severely strained, and may even tear. The first aid routine in case of mild sprains is the RICE method. In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend wearing a cast for a few weeks.
One simple way to avoid an ankle sprain is to keep walking on the band of the treadmill until it stops moving completely. Also, do not wear brand new sports shoes on the treadmill – wear them for other types of exercises, such as the elliptical bike, until your feet get accustomed to them.
- Shin Splints
Shin splints are very common among new gym members who try to compete with seasoned and fit athletes. A sudden increase in the rhythm, duration and intensity of the exercises will lead to the inflammation of the muscle running along your shinbone – known as medial tibial stress syndrome or shin splints.
It manifests as pain along the inner part of the leg between the knee and ankle, which grows in intensity as you continue exercising.
The RICE method also works as first aid and treatment of shin splints. As for prevention, a gradual increase in the intensity of your exercises is the top recommendation, together with wearing adequate training shoes which offer good support to your sole and ankle.
- The Runner’s Knee
This type of injury manifests itself as pain behind your kneecap, which keeps increasing in intensity as you continue running on the treadmill. It is sometimes accompanied by a creaking sound, as if your kneecap is grating against another bone. The reason for the occurrence of this injury is low strength in the muscles surrounding your knee which cannot offer it optimal support and align it properly as you run or do squats or jumps.
The best way to cure this type of injury is to apply the RICE technique and then focus on a series of exercises which are meant to strengthen your quadriceps and hip flexor muscles.
- Lower Back Strain
Lower back strain occurs especially if you are doing back strength exercises on weight machines or squats. You feel a sharp pain in your lower back muscles, which prevents you from continuing your exercises.
You should rest and allow your back to heal with professional massage and other remedies recommended by your doctor. Afterwards, your physical therapist will help you gain a correct posture while doing the exercises which caused your injury. The key to avoiding further injuries is to find the neutral spine position and assume it whenever you lift weights or do squats.
Usually, these injuries occur when you start exercising on a new machine, or when you wear inadequate running shoes (brand new, or too worn out). Take it easy and learn to understand your fitness level and set up a gradual increase in your exercises, and you will be safe from these injuries.