How to deal with common exercise injuries

Monday August 27 2018


By Beatrice Nakibuuka

The struggle to remain fit comes at a cost as some people develop injuries, especially when they assume poor positions, lift excessive weight or experience accidents. However, Quraish Golooba, a physiotherapist at UMC Victoria Hospital Bukoto says some people do not know why they develop injuries.

Hamstring strain
Also known as muscle pulls, they are the commonest fitness injuries caused by strength imbalance and improper form. Athletes are more susceptible when they run their fastest because the quicker one goes, the more pressure they put on the hamstrings while extending the stride. The injury could take about four weeks to heal. However, that period could be lengthened because when we walk, we exert more pressure on the muscles. The best way to avoid such injury is through strength training using standing deadlifts.

Sprained ankle
Golooba notes that exercises done while standing on one leg pose a risk of spraining ones ankle. The sprain may also occur when one is running as well as when one is using a treadmill without focusing. Besides that, running over uneven terrain increases the risk.
He says, “The ankle is a very mobile joint. Although it was made to move, a sprain can happen when the foot turns inward (inversion). This unnatural move tears the ligaments that are located on the outside of the ankle. A good way to reduce this painful injury is by doing flexibility exercises to prevent loss of balance and strength.”

Nobert Bwana, a physiotherapist at Physique Centre in Kamwokya remarks that poor posture is the main cause for dislocated joints. “Lifting excessive weight usually increases the risk of injury. This is because extra pressure on shoulders, hands, elbows and knees makes them assume unnatural postures. If you cannot press or pull without your body losing balance, it is advisable to reduce the weight,” he warns.

Shoulder injury
Many people do exercises such as shoulder and chest presses and pushups with arms facing inwards, which is unnatural, and leads to an overuse injury of the rotator cuff-group of muscles around the shoulder joint. The most common cause of these injuries is repetitive motions that require overhead movements.
“The repetitive motion is unnatural for the body,” Golooba says. “Ligaments get stretched over time and the risk increases as you get older because the tendons degenerate.”
The best way to avoid this common injury is to do exercises that will keep you fit as you age and ensure to balance your shoulders as you exercise.

Hip bursitis
This common chronic outer hip pain occurs when the small sack of fluid between the tendon and the bone of the outside of the hip gets inflamed. That also prevents you from moving effectively. This overuse injury is common in over-active people because they put a lot of pressure on the hips because they run or cycle for too long. Strengthening your gluts and hip muscles can help prevent the damage.

Quad strain
Stressing the muscles when they are not prepared to handle the pressure is the most common cause of the quad strain. The condition brings about imbalances of the muscles from the hips to the toes.
Overstretching is known to cause the injury. Foam rolling after a strenuous training is ideal as it helps with muscle recovery.

Inflamed feet
For one that runs or sprints regularly, they are at risk of suffering this type of injury. “It comes as a result of repeated pressure on the foot which leads to inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes causing it to feel tight and inflexible. Pick the right kind of workout shoes and insoles because your feet need enough support to absorb the pressure,” Bwana explains.

Lower back pain
“They can be caused by muscle spasms, working out in the wrong postures or over use of the back muscles. It is mainly experienced by weight lifters. It is, therefore, advisable to start exercises with core stability exercises incorporated in warm-ups,” Golooba advises. One can also develop an anterior displacement of the vertebrae disc which is also common among heavy weight lifters. Proper posture is crucial to preventing back injuries and spinal mobility drills have to be included in every workout.

Torn ligaments
Bwana says, the ligament that holds the leg bone to the knee gets strained, usually by a hard hit. Rotating the knee too far to one side or extending it too far can tear the anterior cruciate ligament.

Have a fitness programme and follow it strictly.
When you go to the gym, do not do exercise because other people are doing them because they may be too strenuous for you and increase your injury risks.
Consult a professional to help you develop a programme that suits your health.
Do warm-up exercises for both hard and simple workouts to prevent muscle injuries and pulls and increases flexibility. It prepares your heart and other organs for a particular exercise you want to do.
Consider the condition of your footwear. The sole should be in good condition to give you comfort.