An accident at the gym can lead to a myriad of potential injuries, so how can you avoid this? Find out, with this list of the most common gym injuries and preventative measures.

The 8 Most Common Gym Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Jonathan Borba

Working out at the gym has become a lifestyle for many people, which is why protecting your body against injury is paramount.

Having to claim compensation for a fatal injury at the gym is not something that occurs often, as fatal injuries in this environment are rare. That said, minor injuries in the gym are much more common, which is why knowing how to avoid them is very important.

So, how can you do this? In this article, we’re going to take you through the 10 most common gym injuries, and some preventative measures to avoid them. Take a look…

1. Pulled Muscle

A pulled muscle typically occurs when the muscle is overstretched when you attempt to do a quick movement that your muscle is not fully prepared for. It can occur almost anywhere in the body.

In the gym, it can happen when you attempt to lift a heavyweight or attempt a sharp, strenuous movement. The feeling will usually manifest itself as a sharp pain initially, and then will likely feel sore for a while afterward, affecting your movement.

How to Avoid a Pulled Muscle

Warming up before exercising can prevent pulled muscles, as it prepares your body for any intense activity. Stretching beforehand is also a good idea, as this can get your muscles ready to be pulled in different directions during your workout. It can also help to reduce tension and improve circulation and energy levels, so it has multiple benefits.

In the long-term, stronger muscles are more resistant to pulls, so adopting a strength-training program into your workouts can help to avoid these injuries.

2. Sprained Ankle

A sprain usually occurs when your ankle twists or rolls awkwardly, which can then pull or tear the ligaments holding your ankle bone together. It usually occurs if you don’t have the correct footing, but is sometimes just an accident that sometimes can’t be prevented.

How to Avoid a Sprained Ankle

Although sprains are usually unavoidable, as they can happen so suddenly, there are a few ways to avoid one. These include:

  • Trying low-impact workouts, for example using the elliptical.
  • Do exercises to strengthen ankle muscles, like standing on one leg.
  • Don’t skip leg day, as this can help to build these muscles too.
  • Try exercises that won’t use your ankles, like upper body workouts and swimming.
  • Wear proper training shoes.
  • Consider wearing an ankle support.

3. Shin Splints

Shin splints usually happen when people run, putting too much stress on your leg over a period of time. They’ll often appear if you often run on a hard surface, don’t have good running technique, or haven’t been active for some time before your workout.

How to Avoid Shin Splints

There are a huge number of ways you can avoid getting shin splints, including:

  • Warming up and stretching before running
  • Running on even terrain
  • Running on a range of different surfaces
  • Running in multiple directions, rather than in one direction on a track
  • Wearing proper shoes, with good support
  • Making sure you leave enough recovery time between workouts
  • Make sure you run with good form
  • Don’t run when you have an injury or pain in your knee or leg region
  • Avoid increasing your activity levels suddenly
  • Try doing exercises to strengthen your foot arch and hips

4. Knee Injuries

Knee injuries can range from mild to severe and can cause pain at the front, inside, or outside of the knee cap. The pain can originate for a number of reasons, but usually has something to do with a twist, pull or tear of the tendon in that region. Generally, though, normal wear and tear over time can degenerate the cartilage.

How to Avoid Knee Pain

Avoiding knee injuries and pain can be achieved through a few methods. Most importantly, it’s all about taking it slow when it comes to increasing physical activity. To do this, it’s advised that you increase your physical activity time by no more than about 10% every week.

Also, doing a range of different activities, rather than focusing on repetitive motions, will help. You should also always warm and cool down, and ensure you’re using the proper techniques for all your workouts.

The most effective way to avoid knee degeneration is to strengthen the knee muscles in order to protect the bone. This can be done through leg exercises like squats, leg lifts, lunges, and calf raises.

5. Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is usually caused by strain from being overstretched, as well as bad posture and lifting. This can be due to everyday activities, like sitting in an office chair for long periods or lifting heavy objects. In the gym, this usually originates from lifting weights.

How to Avoid Lower Back Pain

To avoid lower back pain and strain from lifting weights in the gym, using the proper lifting techniques is essential. Lifting with your back bent or twisted can cause real damage. So, following basic lifting guidelines is sure to help you to avoid this issue.

6. IT Band Problems

The iliotibial band (IT band) is a long piece of connective tissue, or fascia, running alongside the outside of the leg, hip, and knee. It is used to help with the rotation of your hip, and also helps to stabilize and move your knee, protecting the outer thigh.

That said, repetitive overuse of this muscle can cause injury, usually to the knee or hip. It can become tight or inflamed, and this then causes friction when you bend, causing a lot of pain.

How to Avoid IT Band Problems

To avoid this, as usual, you should always warm-up and cool down properly, and never exceed your limits. You should also ensure that you rest and recuperate after your workouts so you don’t overdo it. It might also help if you wear proper shoes, train on softer surfaces, and maintain good form throughout.

7. Tendinitis

Tendinitis occurs when your tendon – attached to your bones in all areas of your body – is put under pressure. It will usually present itself as a dull ache in the affected limb or joint, as well as tenderness and swelling.

It can be caused by a sudden injury, but more likely comes about through repetitive movements. Certain sporting activities, like basketball, tennis, running, swimming, and baseball can cause tendinitis in the most-used areas of the body.

How to Avoid Tendinitis

Making sure to use proper technique, and not overloading the tendon, is the best way to avoid tendonitis. That said, it’s often just the general wear and tear of getting older, so pain relievers after the fact are the most effective solution.

8. Joint Injury

Joint injury can occur at various points of the body, most notably the rotator cuff in the shoulder, or the wrists and elbows. It’s caused by poor form during strenuous activities, muscle weakness in the area, or repetitive use of the joint. Whether overtime or during a sudden movement, the joint can become injured and painful.

How to Avoid a Joint Injury

There are a number of ways you can avoid joint injury across the body, including:

  • Stretching and warming up before exercising to limber up the ligaments and muscles.
  • Avoid repetitive actions by varying your workouts.
  • Keeping good posture.

Let’s Avoid the Most Common Gym Injuries Together!

As you can see, there are plenty of potential injuries you might experience at the gym. That said, by following the proper guidance and techniques, you should be able to avoid them as best as possible. Good luck!