COVINGTON, Ga. – There are many benefits to regular exercise, including reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes; however, exercise can also lead to injury. Muscle strains, tendinitis, joint pain and knee injuries are among the many common injuries Harrison Goodno, MD, sports medicine physician at Piedmont Newton Hospital, treats.
“Because of its benefits, an increasing number of people of all ages have been becoming more active. Overdoing the exercise, not properly training or warming up, however, may eventually cause injury,” Dr. Goodno, who recently joined Piedmont Physicians Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Covington, said. “Most common injuries, however, are minor, but it’s important to know how to deal with them if they do occur.”
- Muscle strain. A muscle strain, also known as a muscle pull or tear, can be very painful. A strain is typically caused by excessive force on a muscle from overstretching or overdoing exercise. The severity of a strain can range from mild to severe, and the most common symptoms are muscle tightness and weakness, inability to fully stretch the muscle and bruising. “It’s important to ice the injured muscle, keep the injured region elevated and reduce activity or exercise until you’re able to seek help from your doctor to discuss treatment,” Dr. Goodno said. “In most cases, a muscle strain simply needs rest and activity modification, but a doctor can help determine whether other treatments are needed.”
- Tendinitis. Anyone can get tendinitis, an inflammation or irritation of a tendon (a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle), but is more common in adults, 40 years of age and older. “It’s more common in this age group because as tendons age, they’re easier to tear,” Goodno said. “They can also undergo chronic changes which may lead to a condition called tendinosis when a tendon does not get a chance to properly heal.” There are a number of activities and exercises that can cause tendinitis, like tennis or golf, and it’s typically caused by repetitive use or impact and poor stretching or conditioning before exercise. The most common places it occurs are in tendons in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee or ankle, and symptoms include pain that gradually builds up or becomes suddenly severe at the site of the tendon and surrounding area. Dr. Goodno advises resting, activity modification and icing the injured area and to seek help from a doctor if tendinitis pain doesn’t improve after a week of rest. Further testing, such as ultrasound or MRI, may be needed to better examine the injured tendon.
- Knee Injury. There are several ligaments in the knee that are prone to injury, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Changing direction quickly or landing incorrectly after a jump can lead to a torn knee ligament, causing sudden and severe pain. Other symptoms include swelling, inability to put weight on the knee without pain and feeling of joint instability. “This type of injury needs to be examined by a doctor as soon as possible,” Dr. Goodno said. “Treatment will depend on the severity of the tear. A minor tear can oftentimes heal on its own with time, but more severe tears could require surgery.”
For more information about common exercise-related injuries or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Goodno, visit piedmont.org.