5 Most Common Weightlifting Injuries
- Disc Herniation
- Shoulder Bursitis or Tendonitis
- Achilles Tendonitis
- IT Band Syndrome
- Wrist and Elbow Tendonitis
1. Disc Herniation
The most common weightlifting injury is a disc herniation. This is when the soft center of the disc between two vertebrae in the spine is pushed outward. If the protruding disc undergoes too much pressure, it may rupture.
A herniated disc is usually caused by improper lifting form. With a herniated disc, weightlifters may experience back pain along with numbness or a tingling sensation in their legs. By continuing to practice poor lifting mechanics, disc herniations may become more severe and a lifter may even develop degenerative disc disease. To prevent disc herniation, lifters should lift with a neutral spine position and engage their core to put less pressure on their vertebrae.
2. Shoulder Bursitis or Tendonitis
Shoulder injuries are also common for weightlifters. When exercising, they often may injure the tendons, which connect muscle to bone, in their shoulders. This occurs when weightlifters practice poor lifting techniques on shoulder bearing exercises or when they attempt to raise the weight level excessively.
After an injury to a shoulder tendon, lifters are at greater risk of further shoulder injuries if the tendon is not healed properly. Additional injuries may include bursitis or issues with the rotator cuffs.
To avoid shoulder injuries, lifters should practice proper lifting form and should gradually increase the weight they are using as they build enough muscle to support it.
3. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is when lifters experience pain in the back of their heel and achilles tendon area. This injury is most commonly experienced by runners and those who perform weight bearing exercises with their legs. If not taken care of properly, achilles tendonitis can quickly worsen. This is often the case when athletes continue to run, particularly on unstable or uphill surfaces.
Healing achilles tendonitis may take a significant amount of time and requires patience. To decrease inflammation, athletes should rest and attempt to stay off their feet as much as possible. As inflammation declines, calf raises may be done to help strengthen the affected muscles.
4. IT Band Syndrome
IT Band Syndrome is an injury that occurs to the ligament that runs from the outside of the thigh to the knee. With this type of injury, athletes may experience pain from the outer hip area down the leg towards their knee. IT Band Syndrome is commonly experienced by lifters who do single leg exercises and runners with poor form.
To prevent IT Band Syndrome, athletes should make an effort to keep their knees in line with their toes when running or performing leg exercises. Glute strengthening exercises can also be helpful to decrease the pressure off the IT band.
5. Wrist and Elbow Tendonitis
In addition to the shoulder, weightlifters also often experience tendonitis in their wrists and elbows. Lifters develop tendonitis in these areas by over-gripping weights and simply overworking the tendons. When this occurs, they often feel aches and pains from the outside of their elbow down the forearm to their wrist.
To heal tendonitis in the wrist and elbow, rest is essential to help decrease inflammation in the impacted areas. As the inflammation dies down, then lifters can begin to gradually strengthen those areas with various wrist and gripping exercises. In addition, lifters can use wrist wraps to provide extra support and prevent excessive fatigue.