Exercising? Don’t Injure Yourself

by Danny Fernsby
man holding painful injured shoulder

Getting injured at the gym is a common experience. It’s so common it’s almost like a rite of passage. You worked so hard you popped something. Or, even better, tore something. Yes, you are just that hard. You’re so awesome and your work ethic is so amazing, injury has to be the logical conclusion.

Sarcasm, intended. Injury shouldn’t be a commonplace occurrence in the gym, because there are some really easy ways to prevent injuries.

Whether you’ve been hitting the weights for years or just walked into a gym right before reading this post, injury doesn’t have to be your reality. With a little knowledge and a lot of patience, you can avoid the pain and misery that comes with injuries.

Okay, let’s get to the worst exercise injuries and the advice of the medical experts so you can recover faster, hit your goals, and avoid becoming disabled.

#1 Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis, man foot arch painThe first sign of plantar fasciitis is horrific pain in the bottoms of your feet. This can last for weeks if you don’t get it looked at. If you keep pushing your body, you’ll need surgery and that might not help with the horrific pain, either.

Plantar fasciitis is often caused by impatience when increasing your speed or doing exercises involving jumping. It causes severe inflammation of the ligament in the arch of your foot, which then causes swelling and tenderness of the heel. If you, at all, think your feet aren’t important, think again. Ask anyone who breaks a leg and they’ll tell you how miserable it is to have reduced movement.

To avoid Plantar Fasciitis

Gradually increase the amount and intensity of your workouts. This will give your body time to adjust to the increased strain and protect itself.

When doing calf raises, add flexion. By performing weighted heel raises, slowly, you’ll feel less pain in about three months, which is much faster than if you just stretched your feet.

How to perform this exercise

  • Stand on a low box or padded step
  • Keep your heels off the step and balance on the balls of your feet
  • Count to three as you rise on your toes as high as possible
  • Pause, then go as low as your heels possibly can
  • Pause again
  • 1 rep, complete
  • Every other day, do 8 to 12 reps
  • When you hit 12, add a heavy backpack

#2 Dislocated Shoulder

You will feel a huge amount of pain in your shoulder joint. It’ll also seem like your arm has gone through a growth spurt. While the movies make it look like a dislocated shoulder isn’t a big deal by just having your friendly neighborhood whoever count to two and shove it back in, dislocating your shoulder is a big deal. Relocating it should be done by a professional, not you, or the person standing next to you. Many times, the range of motion after a dislocated shoulder will be worse and unable to be completely fixed. Even with therapy.

To avoid shoulder dislocation

The first step to avoiding a dislocated shoulder is to not land on your elbow. While this isn’t the only way to dislocate your shoulder, it is the most common. To prevent dislocation, do a shoulder roll, instead. Just like hitting your funny bone isn’t funny, neither is putting all of your weight, plus the force of gravity from the height you’ve fallen, onto your bony elbow.

How to perform a shoulder roll

Popularized in martial arts movies and gymnastics, doing a shoulder roll isn’t common knowledge and needs to be practiced.

  • Settle down into a kneeling position
  • Roll forward from this kneeling position
  • Squat, stand, and then jog

The next time you trip, slip, or leap for a ball, do a shoulder roll. Not only will you save yourself from some embarrassment, you’ll also look agile and cool.

#3 Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis, man with sore achilles tendonThis injury can occur when running too quickly up steep hills and pushing your Achilles tendons passed their limits. The first sign will be mild pain.

Achilles Tendinitis, in its acute stage, will make walking painful for a few days. It will then fade into the distance until it flares up again whenever you put strain on your Achilles.

To avoid Achilles Tendinitis

Though the Greek demi-God, Achilles, couldn’t avoid his weak Achilles tendon, you can.

Tendinitis, aka inflammation, is very common in the Achilles tendons. During walking or running, you put a lot of stress on these tendons. Mentioned above, but the first sign will be mild pain. Don’t run through the pain. Bike or swim until it goes away. This mild pain can suddenly turn into a monster of misery for you.

Before jogging, sprinting, or running up hills, warm up your legs. Do some karaoke steps, aka grapevines, butt kicks, and high-knee runs. That way, your Achilles will be ready for the workout.

#4 Bulged Disc

A bulged disc can be caused by a lot of heavy lifting that, most often, involves rounding your back. When you have a bulged disc, you’ll feel immense pain in your lower back that’ll keep returning whenever any strain is put on it.

Each disc of your spine has a nucleus of gel between the layers of collagen rings. So, kind of like tons of peanut butter sandwiches stacked on top of one another. When you deadlift or squat, using bad form, or do crunches and sit too much, you squeeze out the peanut butter. Eventually, there’s none left, and the pieces of bread, i.e. collagen rings, just push against each other and create horrific disc bulge.

To avoid a bulged disc

  • Don’t sit for too long
  • Start with goblet squats, then front squats, then back squats, if squatting huge reps is your thing
  • Build your core

These are just four of the injuries that can be caused by working your body too hard. With these simple tips, you can get more done with less injury.

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