Saanichton Physical Therapy Blog

Gym Injury Prevention

Gym Injury Prevention

WEIGHT TRAINING INJURIES

Improper weight-training techniques can lead to weight training injuries. The most common areas to be injured are the back, shoulders, and knees.

Back Injuries

Back sprains and strains most commonly result from improper lifting technique when performing exercises such as bench presses, deadlifts, and rows. Sprains involve stretching of ligaments while strains involve stretching of muscles or tendons. Initial treatment involves the R.I.C.E. method (i.e. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Assessment and treatment by your physiotherapist are also valuable. At Saanich Physio your Physiotherapist can help you minimise the risk of obtaining weight training injuries.

Training Tip: The risk of back injuries can be reduced by maintaining a neutral spine and avoiding flexing or extending the lower back under heavy load.

Shoulder injuries

Lifting weights overhead incorrectly can lead to injuries such as shoulder impingement syndrome and rotator cuff damage. Shoulder impingement syndrome is when swelling and inflammation of structures in, and around the shoulder results in pain in the front and side of the shoulder/upper arm. Rotator cuff damage causes pain and weakness of shoulder movement. Treatment for these conditions may include physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication in minor cases; and cortisone injections and potentially surgery in more serious cases.

Training Tip: The risk of shoulder injuries increases with excessive repetitions. Ensure you also train other body parts to give your shoulders adequate recovery time between training sessions.

Knee Injuries

Repetitive knee exercises such as squats, lunges, deep knee bends, jumps, knee extension and leg lifts can cause pain at the front of the knee. Injury to the patellar tendon (the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin bone) can occur with overuse. Small tears develop in the tendon leading to pain just below the kneecap. Treatment in the form of physiotherapy and a patellar tendon strap often helps to reduce symptoms and your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications.

Training Tip: Ensure that your kneecap tracks correctly (i.e. over the outside of the foot) during squat and lunge exercises.

If you feel pain from weight lifting in the gym seek treatment and corrective strategies from us at Saanich Physio. The longer you keep training with an injury or small niggles that can turn into bigger injuries, the longer your recovery time will be. Seek help early and keep yourself in the gym – there is no need to suffer from weight training injuries.

REFERENCES:
Aasa U, Svartholm I, Andersson F, et al. Injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med 2017; 51:211-220.

Kerr ZY, Collins CL, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of weight training-related injuries presenting to United States emergency departments, 1990 to 2007. Am J Sports Med 2010; 38(4): 765-71.

Mazur LJ, Yetman RJ, Risser WL. Weight-training injuries. Common injuries and preventative methods. Sports Med 1993; 16(1): 57-63.

Siewe J et al. Injuries and Overuse Syndromes in Competitive and Elite Bodybuilding. Int J Sports Med 2014; 35: 943-948.

Siewe J et al. Injuries and Overuse Syndromes in Powerlifting. Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 703-711.

Weisenthal BM, Beck CA et al. Injury Rate and Patterns Among CrossFit Athletes. The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine 2014; 2(4): 1-7.