Common Gym Injuries


Common injuries that occur at the gym:

  • Muscle Strain
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis

Common injury areas that occur at the gym:

  • Back
  • Shoulders

Muscle strain is the most common injury. There are different degrees of muscle strains from a minor overstretching injury to a muscle tear. To avoid muscle strains, make sure you perform a warm up and a cool down.  It is important to listen to your body.  If something hurts, stop and stretch.

Tendinitis is caused by a repetitive strain to the tendon of the muscle. If you overwork a muscle, you can develop tendonitis.

Bursitis is inflammation to the bursa.  A Bursa is a fluid filled sac that provides decrease friction and helps to give a fluid movement to the joint. Avoid doing the same exercises all the time; change it up to avoid overuse of one particular area.

Back pain is one of the most common areas injured at the gym because the back is at the center of the body for all movement and exercise. To avoid injury, bend with your knees and tighten your abdominal muscles during exercises.

Shoulder impingement injuries occur due to lack of rotator cuff strength and or overuse of the rotator cuff muscles. To avoid injury, limit overhead weighted exercises and make sure to work on shoulder stability before increases the weight with strengthening exercises.

Harbor Physical Therapy can evaluate your gym injury and determine the most optimal course of treatment to get you back to the gym as quick as possible.  Our physical therapists will review your gym routine, educate you on proper body mechanics, and exercise routine to reach your fitness goals without injury.

Clinical Question – Strain vs. Sprain

What is the difference between a strain and a sprain?

Strain- A strain occurs to a muscle or tendon from an acute injury.  An example of this is when someone is in a car accident.  The person’s muscle/tendon is over contracted or over stretched depending on the position of the person during the accident.  Common symptoms are pain, weakness, decrease range of motion, and muscle fatigue. 

Sprain- A sprain occurs to a ligament in response to an overstretch or tear. An example of a sprain is when a patient steps off a curb and lands on the outside of their foot, this results in an ankle sprain.  Common symptoms are pain, swelling, brusing, and decreased range of motion.

Clinical Question – Tendinitis

What is Tendinitis?

Tendinitis is an inflammation of a tendon.  This is most often caused by overuse.  Common areas that develop tendinitis are at the elbow, back of the ankle, knee, and shoulder.  Symptoms of tendinitis are tenderness to touch over the tendon, pain with movement, decrease range of motion, decrease strength, and swelling of the tendon.  Physical Therapy is beneficial for patients with tendinitis because it decreases symptoms and strengthens/stretches the injured area to prevent re-injury.