Common gym injuries and what to do about them

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Don't let injury keep you down (Source: Getty)

Plantar Fasciitis

What is it? One in ten people will develop this painful foot condition at some point in their lives, and it’s a blight among keen runners. It’s often – but not always – caused by over-pronation (rolling inwards on your feet) and is more common in people with low arches. The pain is often at the heel, or it can affect the arch of the foot, with a pain similar to cramp, usually at its worst after a period of rest.

What to do about it? First rest it. Try to keep walking – and certainly running – on it to a minimum for a few weeks. Orthotic shoe inserts that help to support your arches can also relieve the pain in the short term. More severe or particularly long-lasting cases may require physio, splinting or other professional treatment.

Runner’s knee

What is it? Runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome as it’s properly called, is another condition sadly common in runners and cyclists. It can come on over time or due to a particular event and is characterised by a dull, throbbing pain behind the knee-cap which worsens considerably with strenuous use.

What to do about it? Again, rest is the first step to recovery, with gradual introduction of stretching exercises. Work at the gym focusing on strengthening your leg muscles may help prevent recurrence in the long-run.

Shin splints

What is it? This impact injury really describes a host of ailments of the lower leg, often caused because the shin absorbs a lot of the stress of running.

What to do about it? This can be a tricky question. It could be a symptom of a structural problem such as flat-feet or a weak pelvis. If rest doesn’t shake the pain it’s worth speaking to a physiotherapist to assess whether you can alter or improve your movement style.

Rotator cuff tendinopathy

What is it? This is the most common cause of shoulder pain, affecting the muscles that anchor your shoulder ball in its socket. It’s often caused by a tear or inflammation of these muscles and can result in restricted movement and weakness.

What to do about it? If your symptoms are persistent it’s worth getting this checked by a doctor – a scan will reveal if you require surgery. As ever, rest is important.

Bicep tendonitis

What is it? A common ailment among gym-goers, this painful condition that especially affects overhead movement. It’s usually caused by an inflamed or torn bicep tendon and is often linked to shoulder problems.

What to do about it? As this condition is often part of a wider problem, it’s worth speaking to a doctor to get it checked out.

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