Top Tips to Avoid Fitness Injuries in 2017
If you’re working hard at a New Year’s resolution to become more fit and active, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Starting or renewing an active lifestyle can reap a wide variety of long-term rewards, but you’ll want to avoid injuries that can put you on the sidelines.
In this blog, the Long Island-based orthopedic surgeons at Mirza Orthopedics will explain some of the most common fitness-related injuries of the upper extremities – including shoulder and elbow injuries – as well as tips on how you can avoid them.
Common Fitness Injuries
Rotator cuff injuries– The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surrounds your shoulder joint and helps keep it in its socket. Activities such as swimming, baseball, tennis, and pull-ups can result in a strain, tear, or inflammation that causes a dull ache. Rotator cuff injuries can occur because of repeated overhead motions that cause these muscles to wear down over time (often, but not always, in people older than 40) or because of a sudden incident, such as a fall while biking or skiing.
Tennis elbow– Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the forearm where they attach to the upper arm bone. These elbow injuries often occur in people who play tennis or other racquet sports, since they repeat the same motions over and over. Symptoms usually start gradually and cause pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, which tend to worsen without treatment. Anyone can get tennis elbow, but it’s most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50.
Golfer’s elbow – Golfer’s elbow results from overuse and causes pain in the tendons that connect your forearm to your elbow. Pain can also spread to your wrist and forearm. Your elbow may feel stiff, and you may have weakness in your hands and wrists or tingling in your fingers. These elbow injuries not only happen to golfers, but also to other athletes such as tennis players, since they also repeatedly use their wrists and clench their fingers.
Tips to prevent injuries
The following tips will help you avoid injury:
- Don’t start too quickly – If you’re just getting started, your body may need time to adjust, particularly if you haven’t been very active. Increase the duration and intensity of your exercise slowly over time.
- Rest and recover – Especially when you feel pain, it’s important to let your body recover. In addition, in some activities, such as weightlifting, you should take 24 to 48 hours off between sessions. Varying your fitness routine can also ensure that you’ve not overusing the same groups of muscles.
- Warm up properly, especially in cold weather – Your body needs more time to warm up when it’s cold, so make sure to allow enough time for an adequate warm-up. This helps raise your total body and muscle temperature, improve blood flow to your muscles and helps you avoid injury.
- Use proper training and equipment – Take lessons if you need instruction on proper technique and equipment, which can help you avoid injury. For example, using the wrong weight and size of tennis racket can increase your chances of developing tennis elbow. The same is true of improper stroke technique.
- Stop when it hurts – Exercise can cause some discomfort, especially if you’ve just starting to get into shape. But forget the idea of “no pain, no gain” and don’t ask your body to do too much too quickly. Exercising through an injury can make the problem worse and even cause another injury since you’ll be putting additional strain on other areas. And if pain persists, you should see a doctor.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a fitness-related injury, contact Mirza Orthopedics today. We can correctly diagnose your hand, wrist, shoulder, and elbow injuries and provide the most effective treatments that will relieve your pain and help you stay active with as little time off as possible.