Exercising is exciting, and so much better for us than inactivity. It is always important to stay within your range of abilities when exercising because going from little or no exercise to a vigorous regimen can set you up for injuries. And of course, we know that injuries can happen to people from all levels of ability, even professional athletes. Exercise injuries can occur suddenly, like with a fall, or after lifting weights that are too heavy. They can also be more subtle, and transpire over weeks or months, in instances such as using poor form over and over. The risk of injury is very real. Frequent causes of sports injuries include overtraining, poor abdominal support, too lengthy runs, unfamiliarity with gym equipment or exercises, and the use of poor technique or posture. Typical injuries for those who are not used to working out include back pain, tendinitis, and pulled muscles.
When exercising, folks need to begin by staying closer to the intensity of activity they are accustomed to and not go immediately from low intensity to high intensity. Going from zero to 60 in a workout regimen can set you up for exercise injuries. Pick activities within your fitness and balance levels, and those your body can handle. If the goal is to improve general health and not be sedentary, people can progress slowly while listening to their body, without the need to throw around heavy weights and do intense workouts. After periods of inactivity, running, and even vigorous walking, can be damaging or cause an exercise injury. Start out slowly and work up to longer times and distances. Sure, you may have been a distance runner in high school, but that doesn’t mean you can jump right into that level of running without proper training. To prevent exercise injuries, start by easing your way into new exercise routines and gradually build up to heavier weights, faster or longer bike rides, and a more vigorous walking or jogging routine.
A common mistake people make is to work through the pain felt while exercising, thinking it will eventually go away. The repeated injury, in addition to the use of poor form, puts too much strain on the joints. These exercise injuries are referred to as overuse injuries and are typical injuries seen by physicians. Tendonitis is an example of an overuse injury from repetitive activity that aggravates the joint. It’s normal to experience muscle soreness after working out, but when that pain lasts more than a few days, that exercise injury has not healed and it’s time to talk to your doctor.
Seeking the advice of a physician prior to initiating an exercise program is always recommended. Make use of a trainer, to educate and supervise for proper form, use of equipment, and variety and frequency of exercise. Those who are accustomed to exercise may also experience sports injuries, so always be aware of the repeated stress various exercises can place on joints, and use proper body mechanics and posturing.
Unaddressed exercise injuries, overuse injuries, and cumulative traumas can cause damage to the joint’s ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Whether you are riding the waves, running on the beach, pounding the pavement, or climbing some new height, the repetitive low-grade impact can be enough to damage the soft tissues.
When these injuries are not addressed, and the soft tissue is not repaired, degeneration of the joint can occur. Unhealed soft tissue makes the joint unstable, which allows for extra and abnormal motion in the joint. Many sports injuries lead to symptomatic arthritis in later years due to injured ligaments and joint instability. The body makes attempts to stabilize the joint, which may result in painful muscle spasms at first. Over time, the body will deposit calcium along the lines of stress, producing bone spurs. Bone spurs are typically a sign that the ligaments were no longer able to stabilize the joint, and the body has sent in reinforcement in the form of additional bone. Arthritis has taken place.
Standard treatments for musculoskeletal injuries resulting in joint pain involve symptom management utilizing NSAIDs, cortisone injections, physical therapy, and chiropractic to provide pain relief. These modalities can often provide relief for sports injuries, but for those who have already exhausted these methods, and continue to experience pain, Regenerative Orthopedics should be sought. If cartilage damage has taken place, Stem Cell Therapy may be part of the treatment plan.
Regenerative Orthopedics is a great treatment option that is very effective for injuries that arise from overzealous exercising, and for those injuries that occur during athletic events because the treatments regenerate and repair the damaged ligaments and soft tissue, allowing the exerciser and athlete to continue with their desired activity. If you’ve injured yourself while trying a new exercise or sport, or are a regular exerciser or athlete with a sports injury, Regenerative Orthopedics can get you back to the activity you love.