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The 7 Most Common Injuries at the Gym (and How to Avoid Them) 

Injuries at the Gym

If you’re interested in maximizing your lifespan, reducing your susceptibility to various illnesses and conditions, and just feeling better in general, one of your best options is to regularly physically exercise. For most people, that means playing sports or working out at the gym (or both) several times per week.

Unfortunately, sports injuries are common. When you’re pushing your body to its limit and using heavy machinery to work out your muscles, it’s only natural to occasionally experience a significant injury.

But what are the most common injuries at the gym and how do you avoid them?

The Most Common Injuries at the Gym

These are some of the most common injuries you’ll see at the gym:

  1.       Muscle pulls and strains. If you attempt to lift too much weight, or if you use your muscles in ways they weren’t intended to be used, you could experience a muscle pull or strain. These are usually minor injuries that go away on their own, but they can be downright painful and take you out of commission for several days.
  2.       Shin splints. If you run frequently or push yourself too hard on leg day, you could end up with shin splints – essentially, hairline fractures in your shins. The best way to treat shin splints is with rest and patience.
  3.       Sprained ankles. Sprained ankles usually result from misplacing your feet when running or moving. They range from mild to severe; accordingly, you may fully recover after just a few days or after several months of rest and treatment.
  4.       Knee (and other joint) injuries. Your knees, along with the other major joints of your body, bear the weight of your exercises. If you overuse them, or if you don’t use them properly, they may become damaged. In extreme cases, you may experience a blown-out joint, which is extremely painful and leads to a long, challenging recovery.
  5.       Tendinitis. Tendinitis occurs when your tendons become inflamed. This is usually attributable to overworking, and it’s a sign you’re not resting enough. If you experience tendinitis, the treatment usually starts with rest and ends with physical therapy and a gradual onramp to resume your previous activity.
  6.       Wrist sprains (and dislocations). If you’re using your hands, arms, and wrists, you may be at risk of experiencing a wrist sprain or dislocation. Again, these range from mild to severe, and are usually treated with rest and physical therapy.
  7.       Equipment-related injuries. According to the data, treadmills are the most dangerous piece of equipment at the gym. That’s partially because they’re used so commonly – and most people believe them to be perfectly safe. Still, you can experience injuries from using almost any piece of equipment if you’re not careful. Always make sure you’re using equipment properly.

Getting Treatment for a Gym Injury

If you find yourself injured at the gym, get yourself to safety as soon as possible if you can. Remove yourself from the dangerous area and contact a gym attendant. They may help you file an injury report with the gym. If you need emergency medical attention, contact emergency services; otherwise, your best option is to head to an urgent care facility. Urgent care is a step down from emergency care, providing you with urgent attention at a lower cost.

Preventing Gym Injuries

Fortunately, nearly all of the injuries above and other conceivable sports injuries can be prevented by following these strategies:

  •       Follow the rules. The rules in the gym and rules for casual sports matches are there for a reason. Make sure you understand these rules thoroughly and follow them as closely as possible.
  •       Read the instructions. Similarly, before using any piece of machinery, you should take the time to read the instructions for that machine. How is this supposed to be used? What’s the proper form for this machine? If you have any questions, ask a gym attendant; they’ll be glad to help you.
  •       Warm up properly. Always take the time to warm up properly. If you dive into a sport without warming up, you’ll be more likely to strain a muscle or experience an even more significant injury. Go for a light jog, do some light exercises across all your muscle groups, and try to limber up.
  •       Stretch. Similarly, you should take the time to stretch. While stretching before vigorous activity can be beneficial, you must be warmed up first. Stretching after vigorous activity is an absolute must.
  •       Avoid pushing past your limits. Understand your personal limits and avoid pushing past them. While it’s beneficial to push yourself and strive for greatness in the gym, it’s also foolish to attempt more than you can reasonably handle. Lifting too much weight, running too fast, or attempting a dangerous trick can all lead to injury. 
  •       Rest. Resting is just as important as working out. After heavy workouts, take a rest day. And if you’re experiencing a minor injury, take some time off until you fully recover; if you keep playing through the pain, you could end up making it worse.

Thankfully, the vast majority of gym injuries are completely avoidable with the right strategies. A bit of proactive preparation and attention to your surroundings can take your risk close to zero, even if you can never fully eliminate that risk.