One of the most occurring problems faced by muscle builders and athletes that strength train is joint pain. You and everyone you know at the gym at one time has commented and remarked on how your (knee, shoulder, elbow) is in pain. Complaints like these can be found at any given time in any gym around the world, and unfortunately, this joint pain causes your muscle building to be less efficient.
Fortunately, most of the time joint pain can be attributed to several simple things. More often than not, bodybuilders are in pain working out because of one of the following:
•They rarely warm up adequately
•They perform muscle building workouts for too long and/or too frequent
•They’re training with weights that are too heavy.
•They don’t allow enough time for their joints, tendons, muscle, etc to rest.
•They don’t use the proper technique when lifting weights.
•They don’t consume all the proper vitamins and nutrients their body requires.
•Or, all of the above.
Pain that comes in goes in a knee, elbow, or someplace else is not a sign of a serious problem – every person experiences that, strength trainer or not. We’re referring to chronic pain – pain that lasts for days, weeks, and possibly even months without interruption. In addition, we’re referring to pain that is not caused by one of the above strength training mistakes, but something much more serious.
Bodybuilder/Muscle Building Joint Problems:
There are a variety of different problems that inflict athletes, as well as non-athletes, in the joints. The most common types of joint pain afflictions include tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis.
Tendinitis – Tendonitis is the most common and the most treatable cause of pain that affects bodybuilders and weight trainers. However, if left untreated as a bodybuilder tries to gain muscle while “working through the pain” can cause a real, long-lasting problem. It can quickly put an end to all strength training programs for the next several months. Athletes experience tendonitis when the tendon around the joint has become inflamed from an overuse or injury.
Related: tendonitis causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention.
Arthritis — While there are many kinds of arthritis, the two main ones include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Out of these two, osteoarthritis is by leaps and bounds the most common to those that undergo weight lifting and strength training exercises.
Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tewar on the joints, classified by the deterioration of the cartilage that is located at the ends of the bones. This smooth cartilage turns rough, which causes more friction and pain as you lift weights. If untreated, this pain can immobilize you. In fact, many athletes careers have been ended by cases of chronic osteoarthritis.
Bursitis – Located within our joints are located small, fluid filled sacks known as bursae. The bursae acts as an assistant to the movement of muscles and joints by cushioning them against friction. These sacks have the ability to become inflamed and injured due to a variety of reasons (training mistakes listed above) and a chronic pain can occur, also called “bursitis.”
Bursitis is most commonly found in the shoulder or elbow, as known as tennis elbow.
Muscoskeletal injuries that come from overuse are injuries that occur from a certain event or accident which involves repeated stresses of that area’s body tissue. This results in an overload and breaks the tissue down. The most typical injuries related to overuse include shoulder and rotator cuff tendon problems, shin splints, as well as tennis elbow. Acute injuries occur from a single event as well, but may not be considered to be an overuse injuries – an example is an ankle sprain.
Commonly, overuse injuries stem from an underlying weak area of tendons or muscle tissue. This can be caused by extensive physical activity and training, or improper stretching. Specifics on some of the more common injuries include:
Sprains – Ligaments that are affected by injuries are called sprains. These are the structures the keep bone connected to another bone. Sprains can be graded I, II, or III, depending on the amount of tearing and damage done to the particular ligament. Common areas that are inflicted by pain include the knees, elbows, ankles, and sometimes the wrists. Due to the important role that ligaments play in our bodies by connecting our bones together, sprains that affect the ligament can be extremely serious.
Once a sprain occurs, it can take several weeks to several months for a ligament to properly heal because of the limited blood supply that exists in these structures. Any attempt to put physical pressure on the sprained ligament during the healing process may cause permanent damage.
Strain – Muscle fibers or muscles that are injured are called strains. Just as sprains are, strains are graded on a scale of I, II, and III, with grade typically being the most severe as it represents the total tearing of the muscle. Once a strain occurs, with proper rehabilitation and relaxation the muscle will return to full flexibility and ability. Because of their more plentiful blood supply, muscles heal much quicker than their ligament counterparts.
Tendonitis – Tendons have the task of attaching muscles to bones. These injuries are commonly called tendonitis, or alternatively, tendonosis. Some common tendons to become injured include the Achilles tendon, the rotator cuff, and the tendons located on the inside and outside of the elbow. Injuries to the tendons in our bodies occur when they are overused have the ability to become chronic – such is the name for the common term “tennis elbow.”
Like ligament injuries, tendon injuries are slow and difficult for our bodies to heal because of their very limited blood supply. It’s important during rehabilitation of the injured tendon to help flex and strengthen the muscles around the injured tendon to help make the protecting support structure stronger.
Our knee is a complex joint that is subject to a lot of common, as well as uncommon problems. As you might imagine, a lot of these problems derive from running and sports have to do with something that is called the “patellofemoral complex.” This has to do with the knee cap, quadriceps, and the patellar tendon. PFPS, or patellofemoral pain syndrome is known as “runner’s knee,” chondromalacia of the patella, or anterior knee pain.
For years the softening of the cartilage found within the knee cap was believed to be the source of runner’s knee. However, the pain that is experienced now with runner’s knee is believed to either come from the innervated subchondrial bone, infrapatellar fat pad, or possibly even the medial and lateral retinaculum of the joint.
Unfortunately, cartilage is known to have a lower amount of blood than that of the bones found in our body. As such, cartilage relies on compression to push out waste and allow nutrients to enter the cartilage through synovial fluid in the joint. While running, you may mistrack a knee cap – parts of the cartilage may be under too little or too much pressure for compression to occur as it should, which means nutrients will not enter into the joint.
This can result in deterioration of the cartilage and cause a great deal of pain in the knee.
Runner’s knee symptoms
Symptoms of runner’s knee can include pain being felt near and around the knee cap, specifically near the inner portion and below it. You may also feel that the pain gets worst and is more common after you sit for a long time (as your knees are bent). Other times pain might be common is when you’re walking or running downhill or at an angle, such as on stairs.
Aggravation of the symptoms is possible every time you bend the knee as it creates increased pressure between the surface of the joint and the knee cap of the surface of the thigh bone. This additional force on the injured area leads to pain.
Runner’s knee treatment
If you believe runner’s knee is in it’s early stages of development, you should limit the amount of stress that you put on this area to allow time for healing. It is very crucial for you to avoid running downhill as this adds stress onto the patella-femoral complex.
Exercises that you perform with a bent knee should be avoided.
You can use this exercise database to find some good exercises for building back up strength in your knee. It’s best to start using the exercise examples with slow movements and bodyweight only. You should always consult a trainer professional before attempting to rehabilitate your own knee.
Aussie rules always ruled higher in the opinion of parents’ when compared to rugby-codes. But this opinion stands challenged, as new research has pointed out that Australian football accounts for the highest injuries as compared to all other types of football. // The aussie code seems to have topped the charts of contact sports injuries, the second place being occupied by league , the third by rugby union and the last , being soccer.
A report published today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that among Australian rules players who are 15 and above, there were 734.3 cases of hospital treatments per 100,000 participants, compared with 677.9 for rugby league. Union and Soccer were way behind to even compete – on 316.9 and 242 hospital treatments per 100,000 participants. Touch football was by far considered the safest, with 121.2 per 100,000 participants. The frequent type of injury was Fractures.
The report is based on figures from 2002-03, when hospitals were, for the first time asked to maintain a record of sports injuries. James Harrison, head of the National injuries Surveillance Unit at Flinders University, which compiled the report, issued a word of caution. Though these figures might really make Australian football look like the ‘bad brother’, one must consider several other factors. For example, rugby codes had higher incidences of neck injuries.
Common Knee Injuries Many athletes experience injuries to their knee ligaments. Of the four major ligaments found in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) are often injured in sports. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) may also be injured.
Changing direction rapidly, slowing down when running, and landing from a jump may cause tears in the ACL. Athletes who participate in skiing and basketball, and athletes who wear cleats, such as football players, are susceptible to ACL injuries.
Injuries to the MCL are usually caused by a direct blow to the outside of the knee. These types of injuries often occur in contact sports, such as football or soccer.
The PCL is often injured when an athlete receives a blow to the front of the knee or makes a simple misstep on the playing field.
When people talk about torn knee cartilage, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus. The mensicus is a tough, rubbery cartilage that is attached to the knee’s ligaments. The meniscus acts like a shock absorber. In athletic activities, tears in the meniscus can occur when twisting, cutting, pivoting, decelerating, or being tackled. Direct contact is often involved.
Treatment of Knee Injuries Orthopaedic surgeons use a variety of methods to treat knee injuries in athletes. A common method used to treat mild knee injuries is R.I.C.E., which stands for “rest, ice, compression, and elevation.” Rest the knee by staying off it or walking only with crutches. Apply ice to control swelling. Use a compressive elastic bandage applied snugly, but loosely enough so that it does not cause pain. Finally, keep the knee elevated.
The most important advice is to seek treatment as soon as possible, especially if you:
•Hear a popping noise and feel your knee give out at the time of injury
•Have severe pain
•Cannot move the knee
•Have swelling at the injury site
Usually contact sports such as rugby, or gymnastics and horse riding where falling happens are responsible but excessive training such as in swimming can overwork the shoulder muscles and tendons and this is an overuse injury.
If the athlete has suffered a direct blow there will usually be sudden pain in the shoulder. A muscle or tendon maybe torn or partly torn and there may also be damage to the ligaments in the shoulder which will be a sprain. A torn ligament is a sprain whereby a torn muscle or tendon is a shoulder strain. The overuse injury starts with little pain but gradually gets worse as the athlete continues to use the shoulder.
HEALING AND RECOVERY
After a direct blow the shoulder should no longer move as this will do further damage to the injured tissues. Ice should be applied over the injured area but protect the skin with a thin towel from the ice. This should be done every couple of hours for the first twenty four hours to reduce the swelling. This is because the ice stimulates the blood flow to and from the damaged area. Avoid heat penetrating creams as this will delay recovery. Medical advice should be sought as there is a risk that there may be a cracked or broken bone.
For overuse injury apply ice to sooth the area, stop the activity that is probably causing the problem and seek medical advice just in case the shoulder is inflamed and it is the inflammation causing the pain.
Shoulder repetitive strain injury or overuse
For overuse injuries the key to repetitive training without problems is to build up gradually. Avoid doing ‘extra’ training if you have had to miss a day or two and after intense training have a rest day. Warming up is essential and diet is also important for repetitive training. Enough energy foods should be eaten and never train on an empty stomach.
Shoulder strain exercises
•When the shoulder is free of pain gentle exercises can be done.
•The movements will be within a very small range, but may be the only type of strengthening exercise that can be done without pain and should be started as soon as possible to promote the most useful healing.
•Stand with your injured arm by your side and with you other hand hold your injured arm between you elbow and shoulder and push you injured arm forward holding the injured arm steady with your hand. Hold for a count of ten.
Repeat this exercise but push your injured arm backwards.
Same again but this time push your injured arm outwards.
•Stand with your legs slightly apart, put your arms at your side and raise them to shoulder height. Hold for a count of ten and repeat.
•Standing with your legs slightly apart, hold both arms out in front of you, raise them and touch your hands above your head.
These last two exercises can then be repeated using light weights.
Protect and prevent your shoulder from further injury
Firstly all equipment should be checked. Even racquets can break or straps on helmets can be broken but still used. Floors should not be slippery and football pitches should not be a mud bath. Sports shoes should not be worn after they have become old and worn even though athlete’s love their tastiest trainers or their luckiest ones. The support will not be adequate and there can be risk of tripping.
Always warm up adequately as this brings blood and oxygen to the joints and also lubricates them. Make arriving for you sport early enough to warm up as part of the session, as once injury has occurred the risk of further injury is higher. Warming up also enhances performance. If it is possible play for a shorter length of time to test out your shoulder for full movement and function without any problems.