It doesn’t take a genius to work out that weightlifting can take its toll on the body, especially if people use the wrong techniques or don’t warm up properly. Here are three of the most common injuries suffered by weightlifters.
One problem weightlifters can suffer from is shoulder impingement. This results in pain in the front or side of the shoulder, especially when people are doing presses, incline bench presses and upright rows. It can also lead to weakness when the arm is raised.
It’s caused by a muscle tendon ‘catching’ in the shoulder. The tendon involved is called the rotator cuff tendon and it stretches from the shoulder blade to the arm bone. It runs through a narrow space that is positioned between the shoulder blade and the top of the arm bone. When people suffer a shoulder impingement, this tendon becomes trapped in the space and it gets scraped against the shoulder blade.
A slipped disc
Another part of the body that comes under strain in weightlifting is the back and, if people are not careful, they can sustain a slipped disc. This is also referred to as a prolapsed or herniated disc and it happens when one of the discs in the spine ruptures, causing the gel inside to leak out.
As well as causing back pain, this can lead to discomfort in other areas of the body. For example, it can affect the sciatic nerve. Running from the back of the pelvis through the buttocks and all the way down to the feet, this is the longest nerve in the body and if pressure is placed on it, people can suffer a lasting aching pain, tingling in one or both legs and numbness.
A shifting of the kneecap
The legs are at risk of injury during weightlifting exercises too. For example, people can suffer a shifting of the kneecap (patella). The technical term for this is patellofemoralmaltracking.
The patella is located in a groove at the bottom of the thigh bone and it is controlled by the quadriceps. However, if there is a muscle imbalance or overload, the patella can move off this grove, causing inflammation and discomfort.
Prevention is better than cure
There are various treatments available for these injuries, but as a general rule it is always better to prevent them from occurring in the first place. If you ever lift weights, it’s really important that you follow the correct procedures. If you’re not sure of anything, don’t just guess. There is plenty of information and guidance available from personal trainers and reputable online sources.
Also, always ensure you warm up using effective stretches and exercises before you pick up any weights and avoid the temptation to push yourself too far.
The most serious weightlifting injuries may require emergency first aid. Prompt and effective action can help to minimise pain and reduce any damage. This is why first aid training is so important. Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to access these courses from organisations such as St John Ambulance.