Common Weightlifting Injuries
Weight lifting is a sport as well as part of someone’s exercise regimen. Experienced weight lifters rarely suffer serious injuries but newcomers to the sport or exercise are more prone to musculoskeletal injuries.
Distal biceps rupture:
This is a rupture of the biceps tendon that attaches the biceps muscle in the arm to a bone of the upper forearm. A weightlifter can rupture this tendon at the elbow with a sudden force that extends the elbow while trying to contract the biceps. Performing a biceps curl and then losing control of the weight is an example. Surgery to reattach the tendon is usually needed. Choosing a weight that a person can lift and control can help prevent a distal biceps rupture.
The labrum is a cartilage bumper in the shoulder that surrounds the glenoid (socket). With repetitive compression of the labrum or possibly an acute motion that injures the shoulder, the weightlifter can feel discomfort or a clicking sensation deep within the shoulder. An orthopedic surgeon can perform a physical exam and tests that suggest a labral tear. An MRI with contrast injected (MR arthrogram) can demonstrate a tear. Surgery is often required to treat a shoulder labral tear if it limits activity. Proper technique and having shoulder pain evaluated early if it is not improving can be helpful.
This is more of a cause of chronic shoulder pain in a weightlifter rather than an acute injury. Avoiding exercises that cause pain can help the problem. Working with a physical therapist to improve shoulder mechanics and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder can often speed recovery. Seeing an orthopedic surgeon or a physical therapist when this problem develops and starting a treatment program can often accelerate return to overhead lifting.
Lower back muscle strain:
A strain of the muscles of the lumbar spine can occur from using improper technique with exercises or picking up or putting down weights awkwardly. Fortunately most don’t require more aggressive treatment than rest and activity modification. Proper lifting technique is key.
Quadriceps or hamstring muscle strain:
Acute strains of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles from squats, leg presses, lunges and other lower extremity exercises can occur. Most heal without surgery and require only rest and short-term exercise modification. Proper exercise techniques and choosing an appropriate amount of weight can help prevent injuries.
Patellar or quadriceps tendonitis:
These are also more chronic issues with the tendons around the knee than acute injuries. Pain in the tendons above or below the kneecap with lower extremity exercises can develop and worsen over time. Often short-term avoidance of exercises that reproduce the pain, anti-inflammatory medication, and ice can resolve the problem.
Many of the injuries listed above can be prevented by using proper technique. Often simply rest and short-term activity modification can prevent a minor pain from turning into a more serious injury.
If any musculoskeletal pain continues to limit your ability to work out the way you want, consider visiting Dr. Stickney to learn and understand possible treatments by calling 425-823-400 to schedule an appointment or email him at ProOrthoAppointment@proliancesurgeons.com.