• 10 Most Common Injuries and How to Prevent Them

    Injuries during exercise and sports are surprisingly common. Running, for instance, is a popular activity for both amateurs and professionals alike, yet a staggering 80% of people who participate in this exercise end up with an injury. Whether you’ve experienced an exercise-related injury or just want to practice prevention, take a look at these 10 most common injuries and how you can ease the pain.

    Runner’s Knee

    First up is an injury so common among runners that it was named after them. This injury causes a pain around and behind the kneecap. Those who run on pavement regularly are more likely to find themselves with this injury. The best way to prevent Runner’s Knee is to stay away from downhill running and try to run on a track or softer surface. If you already have some tenderness, anti-inflammatory medication and cutting back on your workout until you heal is a good option.

    Muscle Aches

    Muscles aches are one of the biggest complaints after a workout. Chronic muscle aches are not only painful, but they can lead to further health issues if you don’t address the symptoms properly Take small steps when adding in additional work to your exercise program so you don’t shock your body. If you find yourself with sore muscles, gentle stretching, plenty of water, and some over-the-counter painkillers can be beneficial.

    Sprained Ankle

    Spraining your ankle is surprisingly easy. The sprain occurs when your ankle is flexed into an awkward position (usually inwards or outwards), thus causing the ligament to overstretch. This can happen from just stepping off of a curb at a bad angle.photo courtesy of jon candy Preventing a sprained ankle means wearing proper shoes and improving your posture. Recovering from a bad ankle sprain can take some serious work. If you suspect you have a sprained ankle visit your doctor for further instructions.

    Achilles Tendinitis

    Achilles Tendinitis is the inflammation of the muscles and tendons connecting your foot to your leg. Badly fitting footwear, increasing your running mileage suddenly, and overly tight calf muscles all attribute to this swelling. The best prevention is taking the time to stretch your leg muscles, especially your calves, before and after your workout. Wear properly fitted shoes that support your arch. If you already have some tenderness, rest is very important. Icing and elevating your foot can also help.

    Shin Splints

    Shin Splints are another injury that many walkers and runners can experience when the muscles and tendons behind their shin are inflamed. It can be a very aggravating feeling that many people find to be more irritating than severely painful. Shin Splints can be difficult to prevent. Many experts recommend using supportive shoes with an additional shock-absorbing upper and arch. Try to not run on hard ground (pavement) and up hills. The best tip for easing pain is to ice the shin area and rest.

    Pulled Muscle

    A pulled muscle may first surface as a muscle ache before setting into acute pain. Pulled muscles are different than a general muscle ache because this injury involves torn muscle fibers and/or tendons. The usual cause of a pulled muscle is a combo of overexertion and bad flexibility. The best way to prevent a pulled muscle is to always warm up before and cool down after a workout. Stretching regularly is very important for your flexibility and injury prevention. Rest and gentle stretching are ideal for healing a pulled muscle as well.

    Plantar Fasciitis

    The location of this injury occurs on the plantar fascia, which is the tissue on the bottom of your foot. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation or tearing of this area. The most common cause of this is improper footwear and walking/running on hard surfaces. The pain associated with this injury varies from stiffness to a near stabbing sensation. Preventing Plantar Fasciitis can be accomplished through wearing proper shoes with extra cushioning. Foot massage and stretching can help you relax and erase tension in the muscle. Treatment for this depends on your doctor and the severity of the condition.

    Side Stitch

    This is another common injury that can seem to pop up out of nowhere. The side stitch is also known as an ETAP or exercise-related transient abdominal pain. This pain actually occurs due to a diaphragm spasm when you have poor posture or exert yourself. Practicing proper posture and refraining from overworking yourself are the best ways to prevent a side stitch from occurring. If you feel the cramp beginning to develop, deep breaths, bending over, and tightening your core will help it pass.

    Stress Fractures

    Many people wrongly assume that broken bones and fractures are saved for only close-contact sports. Even exercise such as jumping and running can lead to stress fractures however. These fractures look like tiny cracks in the bone due to a repeated jarring movement on the legs. You can help prevent stress fractures by taking a calcium supplement, wearing comfortable shoes, and taking up cross-training to prevent repeated stress on your legs. If a fracture does occur, you will need to take plenty of time off and usually go to physical therapy.

    Blisters

    While blisters seem harmless, they can turn into a big problem if they aren’t taken care of properly. Blisters are what forms when something, such as a shoe, puts pressure on a portion of your foot. As this object rubs against you, it ends up tearing the skin internally, causing a pocket to form. Blisters can be extremely painful and even develop into an infection if they are left untreated. Covering your blister with a bandage while it heals is a great idea. You can prevent blisters from forming by wearing proper fitting shoes and breathable socks.

    The Bottom Line

    Injuries due to exercise usually stem from overtraining or overexertion, bad posture, and repetitive motions with little rest. Taking the time to prevent injuries from occurring will protect your health and keep your goals on track.

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