Weight lifting helps build muscle mass, tone the body, increase strength and boost metabolism, but improper techniques can result in painful or debilitating injuries.
Weight lifters who fail to take proper precautions put themselves at risk for injury, especially to the shoulders, knees and back.
Overhead weight lifting activities, such as bench and shoulder presses and lateral raises, can result in shoulder impingement syndrome.
With this condition, inflammation and swelling of the rotator cuff leads to pain in the front and side of the shoulder and upper arm. Initially, the pain may be noticeable only when you lift your arms, but as the injury progresses, you may feel pain even when sitting still or lying down.
The same types of weight lifting activities that can cause shoulder impingement syndrome can also result in a tear to the rotator cuff. A rotator cuff tear is a painful condition that causes pain and weakness with activity.
Proper diagnosis is imperative to proper treatment. Treatments may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines, cortisone injections, regenerative techniques, or potentially surgical repair.
Repetitive leg lifts, including hack squats, lunges, deep knee bends, jumps, and knee extension can cause injury to the patellar tendon.
The patellar tendon connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). When the patellar tendon is overused tiny tears can develop in the tendon. As a result, you may begin to feel pain in the patellar tendon, usually just below the kneecap.
Physical therapy and a patellar tendon strap can often help reduce the symptoms of patellar tendinopathy, however, further treatment is often needed. Your doctor may recommend treatment with anti-inflammatory medications or may try regenerative treatments such as platelet-rich plasma injections. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair extensive damage.
Bench presses, rows, and dead lifts are among the most common weight lifting exercises leading to back sprains and strains. Sprains — tears or stretches in the ligaments — are acute injuries directly caused by trauma.
Strains also occur from injury; however, those usually affect the muscles or tendons rather than the ligaments. Most sprains and strains can be effectively treated with the R.I.C.E. method, or rest, ice, compression and elevation. Severe injuries may warrant surgical repair.
Lifting heavy weights with the back muscles, rather than the leg muscles, can result in a herniated disk. This painful condition occurs when one of the rubbery cushions, or discs, between the vertebrae slips out of place or ruptures.
Treatment for a herniated disc usually includes a combination of medications and physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
In addition to shoulder, knee and back problems, improper weight lifting techniques can result in wrist, elbow and neck injuries as well. If you have begun to experience pain or discomfort as a result of a sports injury, schedule a consultation today with Steward Health Care: Centers of Orthopedic & Sports Medicine.
Our experienced orthopedic and sports medicine specialists can help you avoid further damage and get you back to your favorite strength training or weight lifting regimen.
This article reviewed by Dr. Stephen Kirk