Top 5 Fitness Related Injuries and how to avoid them
By: Chris Volgraf, CSCS
Here we are coming down the home stretch of the summer, with August now upon us. There is nothing worse than experiencing success with your fitness program, only to have it sabotaged by a troublesome injury. Here are 5 of the most common injuries we see at the PLC and what you can do to prevent them. Please feel free to do an on-line search for the italicized exercises I have recommended to prevent or help treat each injury.
- Low Back Pain—undoubtedly the number 1 complaint of incoming patients is low back pain. Often is the case one can avoid low back pain by placing emphasis on core stability, abdominal and glute strength and hip flexor and low back flexibility. (Here are a few exercises to search online—Supine Pelvic Tilts, Planks, Ball Crunches, Hip Flexor Stretch, Prayer Stretch and Lying Knee to Chest Stretch)
- Shoulder Pain—the shoulders have climbed the ranks of the injury list quite rapidly with the increasing number of desk jobs around the world. Many shoulders have begun to internally rotate from tightness in the chest and lats and our upper middle back muscles that stabilize the shoulder blades have become incredibly weak. If the shoulders are already internally rotated, you will have a lack of mobility in your shoulder (especially in external rotation) and you stand a greater chance of injury when raising anything above your head, performing any throwing or swinging motion, etc. You also have a greater likelihood of impingement which is when the tendons of the rotator cuff become irritated, inflamed or pinched. Strengthening the scapular stabilizers and increasing the flexibility of the chest and lats will greatly decrease the likelihood of injury to the shoulders and improve your posture at the same time! (Exercises to help—TYLW on ball, Bent Over Row, Twisted Prayer Stretch and Pec Minor Door or Corner Stretch)
- Achilles Tendonitis—with the increasing popularity of high intensity exercise, Achilles tendonitis has been one of the more popular injuries out there. The two most common causes are ramping up the intensity too high or too quickly (overuse/overtraining injury) or lack of mobility in the ankle from tightness in the calf/gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. We can greatly diminish the occurrence by slowly progressing intensity and working on ankle mobility with stretches for the calf area. (Exercises to help—Gastroc Stretch, Soleus Stretch and Rest, Ice Compression and Elevation)
- Plantar Fasciitis—the summer is always busy season for plantar fasciitis. How many of you our there walk around in bare feet, flip flops or sandals? Do you often get pain from sporting your summer fashion pieces…then plantar fasciitis is the likely culprit. Plantar fascia is a connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot and can suffer micro tears or adhesions from overuse during exercise or improper footwear. Stretching and massaging the plantar fascia and stretching the calves helps tremendously. (Exercises to help—Plantar Fascia Stair Stretch, Calf Stretch, Soleus Stretch and Golf/tennis ball Plantar Fascia massage)
- Tennis Elbow—whether you are tennis player or not, anyone can fall victim to Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis. Tendonitis is an overuse injury, so repetitive motions can to cause tendonitis anywhere in the body, especially in the elbow. Frequent exercisers, tennis players and golfers often complain from Tennis Elbow. Strengthening the muscles in the forearm and massaging the area of discomfort are the best way to prevent and treat Lateral Epicondylitis. (Exercises to help—wrist curls and extensions, pronating and supinating the hand with stable elbow, radial and ulnar deviation and massaging the area of discomfort).