How Common Are Workout Injuries?

Workout injuries are unfortunately quite common. But how can you prevent them? Check out our latest blog post for tips on how to stay safe while working out.


Workout injuries are a common occurrence in both professional and amateur athletes. Working out brings risks, but with the right precautions they can be minimized. According to the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine (OJSM), an estimated 3.5- 5 million sport and recreational related injuries occur in the United States each year, with over half of these injuries occurring at fitness facilities and gyms.

Although many different type of injuries can occur during exercise, strains and sprains, muscle tears and inflammation are most commonly encountered. These types of injuries range from mild swelling to complete muscle tear and tendon rupture, yet often go untreated due to being wrongly identified as minor aches or soreness. As such, recognizing common symptoms for different types of exercise-related injuries is incredibly important for recovery and prevention from future occurrences.

Types of Workout Injuries

Workout injuries are unfortunately quite common, and people of all ages, genders, and fitness levels can suffer from them. From muscle strains and tears to ligament sprains and dislocations, there are many different types of workout injuries that can occur. In this article, we’ll explore each type of workout injury, the causes of them, and the treatments that can help you get back on your feet.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Musculoskeletal injuries from exercise or physical activity may be caused by excessive loading, inadequate rest or technique. When the body is pushed too hard, too fast for it to handle, it can lead to minor strains or more serious overuse injuries. Common musculoskeletal injuries resulting from exercise include muscle strains, tendonitis and stress fractures.

Muscle Strains
A muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or its attaching tendons. It occurs when the muscle fibers tear as a result of overexertion and inadequate recovery — such as not stretching before and after exercising. A mild strain may feel like a pull or cramp in the affected area while more severe strains can cause moderate to severe pain and lead to swelling, bruising and loss of range of movement in the affected area.

Tendonitis is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon. It typically occurs when there has been a repetitive activity that puts stress on one part of the body which causes microtears in the tissue fibers leading to tenderness and pain when pressure is applied. Common symptoms are stiffness, localized pain and tenderness usually located around major joints such as shoulders, wrists, elbows, hips and ankles.

Stress Fractures
A stress fracture is an overuse injury where small cracks form in bones or in cartilage between movable bones due to repeated force or impact that’s greater than what these tissues can withstand. They most commonly occur after increasing training intensity too quickly resulting in overload on certain bones which compromises their integrity with time leading to actual microscopic fractures in those areas. Symptoms are localized pain that worsens with activity and further improves with rest before gradually increasing again if no changes are done with regards to physical activities used by athletes going through this process

Cardiovascular Injuries

Cardiovascular injuries due to a workout can be some of the most serious, with symptoms ranging from chest or throat pain to dizziness and heart palpitations. To prevent cardiovascular strain, it’s important to warm up before starting any form of exercise. Start slow with your workouts and build up over time to the intensity you desire. Additionally, feel free to take breaks during exercises that strain your heart rate; if you need a break, that’s okay!

People participating in high intensity sports activities such as running or biking have an increased risk for cardiovascular injuries. Taking proper precautions such as wearing protective equipment is important for reducing the risk of injury in these types of activities. Being aware of your body’s signal calling for rest or a slowed down pace is also necessary in order to reduce the chance of overtaxing one’s heart during athletic activity.

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries result from repetitive motions and can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat. Performing the same exercise for too long or too often can lead to pain in the joints, tendons and muscles. Common overuse injuries include tendonitis, tennis and golfer’s elbow, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, shoulder bursitis and swimmer’s shoulder.

If you’ve recently adopted a new workout routine or significantly increased the amount of physical activity you’re doing, you’re likely at risk for an overuse injury. To help prevent them from happening in the first place, it’s important to warm up correctly before exercise and cool down afterwards with stretching exercises. Building strength through variety is also important – try out different types of workouts that use different muscle groups so your body never gets accustomed to a single routine. Finally, working with qualified trainers is always recommended as they can provide knowledge on proper form and technique while making sure your time at the gym or other exercise classes is effective but also safe.

Causes of Workout Injuries

Workout injuries are more common than you may think, and they can range from minor aches and pains to more serious injuries. Knowing the causes of workout injuries can help you take steps to avoid them. Some of the most common causes of workout injuries include failing to warm up properly, pushing past the point of fatigue, and using improper form. Let’s explore these causes and more in depth.

Lack of Warmup

One of the most common causes of workout injuries is inadequate warmup prior to exercising. Many people underestimate the importance of a good warm-up as they begin their workouts and may jump right into lifting weights or cardio exercises without prepping their muscles first. A good warm-up helps to ensure that your body’s muscles are ready for exercise and can help minimize your risk of injury. A dynamic warm-up typically consists of light exercising such as walking, jogging, running, dynamic stretching, and simple calisthenics for about 5 to 10 minutes. It is important to note that everyone has different levels of fitness and flexibility requirements when it comes to warming up correctly for workouts, so make sure you consult with a medical professional if you have any questions about the best way to prepare your body before exercise.

Poor Form

Poor form is a leading cause of workout-related injuries. Although the exact cause of an injury can vary from person to person, improper form while participating in any type of exercise is one of the most common factors. Poor form can lead to muscle strains, pulls, and tears at best and chronic injury or permanent damage at worst.

In order to minimize risk, it is important to approach each exercise with proper posture and technique. This includes ensuring that good body posture is maintained throughout the movement, using controlled movements when working with weights, using proper breathing techniques while lifting; never locking out joints; keeping joints within their natural range of motion; avoiding involvement of momentum in lifts; and making sure muscles are fully warmed up prior to beginning a workout.

Ideally, a personal trainer should be consulted for assistance in learning correct form before participating in any activity or attempting new exercises, as injury can be caused by incorrect or overuse of certain muscle groups when or if someone has inadequate knowledge about proper form for certain exercises or activities. Whenever starting a new exercise regime or program it is recommended to allow adequate time for the body to adapt tissues and joint structures that are being impacted by the new movement patterns created by the exercises.

Too Much Intensity

Too much intensity is one of the leading causes of workout injuries, particularly for people who are just beginning a new exercise routine. Pushing yourself too hard can result in pulled or strained muscles, as well as joints and tendons that are overstressed. Even if you have been doing the same exercises on a regular basis, it is important to remember that your body needs time to adapt to any changes in intensity or weight lifting movements.

If you want to safely increase your workout intensity, it is recommended that you raise your weights and repetitions gradually rather than jumping straight into an intense routine. Starting slow and light will give your body a chance to adapt so that you can stay safe while gradually pushing yourself further within the limits of what your body can handle.

Additionally, allowing enough rest between workouts is key when it comes to avoiding injury — since increasing your exercise frequency without proper rest may allow muscle tissue to break down before new muscle has had a chance to form. Finally, even experienced athletes need breaks from intense workouts: suddenly going cold turkey can also lead to injury due to unaccustomed inactivity.

Prevention Strategies

Working out can be a great way to stay healthy and active, but unfortunately, it can also lead to injuries. Many of these injuries can be avoided by following a few simple prevention strategies. Preparing before a workout, taking regular breaks, and stretching after completing a workout are just some of the strategies that can help you avoid injury. Let’s dive into these strategies in more detail.

Use Proper Equipment

When exercising, it’s important to use the correct safety gear and equipment. Wearing the proper shoes helps to reduce the risk of lower body injuries, such as sprains, pulls or strains of joints or muscles in the feet, ankles, knees and hips. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), proper fitting shoes with adequate cushioning help absorb shock when you are running or walking and can provide more stability throughout a workout. Other recommended apparel includes gloves if lifting weights, helmet with skiing or snowboarding, sports goggles for bike riding and mouthguards when playing contact sports.

Additional safety equipment can include sweatbands, wrist guards while skateboarding and heart rate monitors used during cardiovascular exercises. Lifting weights requires additional attention to form in order to avoid muscle strain and fatigue – look up instructional videos online before attempting any heavy lifts and make sure you’re using your full range of motion and ensuring that the weight is evenly distributed throughout your body before lifting. Lastly, use mats when necessary on hard surfaces as this can help cushion falls that may occur during your workout routine.

Listen to Your Body

It’s essential to understand your own body and listen to its needs. Know your own fitness limits and avoid pushing yourself too hard in a single workout session; instead, build endurance slowly with shorter bouts of exercise. When lifting weights or over-exerting yourself, start with low weights and work your way up gradually as your fitness level increases. Avoid repetitive motion activities that might strain the same muscle groups and create injuries over time. Similarly, warm-up before working out to raise blood flow in the muscles gradually, allowing them to become flexible without injury. Additionally, after exercise sessions, stretching and cooling down are extremely important to avoid aches the next day. It can be tempting during workouts to overexert yourself at times – but it’s important being aware of any discomfort or pain in order not only to prevent an injury but also ensure that you get the most out of every workout session!

Warm Up and Cool Down

It’s important to take the time to warm up and cool down when exercising. A warm up is any physical activity done before the main workout, such as walking or jogging at a slow pace. This encourages your body to become more flexible and increases your heart rate and circulation in preparation for more intense exercise.

Cooling down after your workout is just as important. This can involve stretching, light walking or jogging, and any other exercise at a lower intensity than in the main workout. This will help your body return naturally to its pre-exercise level and can reduce post-exercise soreness and injury risks. Stretching also plays an important role in helping you stay limber even after you finish working out.


After examining the causes, types and risk factors associated with workout injuries, it is clear that they are common and often quite serious. While there may be a wide variety of treatments available, they do not always provide an effective solution. Proper technique and appropriate exercise programming are essential in order to reduce the risk of acute or chronic injury during physical activity.

In addition to proper technique and programmed progression of physical activities, athletes should also pay attention to their body signals. Listen carefully to your body and make sure you take breaks when necessary. Finally, it is important to get adequate rest and recovery between activities in order to keep the body refreshed, resistant to injury and operating optimally when engaging physical activity.

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