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Fitness Injuries

Lots of exercise is good for you inside and out, but it can occasionally lead to aches, pains and mishaps.

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ACL Strains & Tears
It’s not just skiers and football players who tear the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. A lot of people are doing it. Menstruating women do it eight times more than others. Why? Two reasons. Women have wider hips, so the angle of the femur into the knee is sharper. This makes them prone to putting more torque on the ACL when they start and stop abruptly. Also, during menstruation, progesterone and relaxin hormones cause the soft tissue to become like a wet rubber band—more likely to rupture.

It’s important to build the muscles (hamstrings and quadriceps) around the knee to keep pressure off the ligaments. This way the muscles take some of the force when you’re in motion, instead of the joints.

Achilles Tendonitis
This happens when you torque your Achilles tendon, which connects the two large calf muscles to your heel. This usually happens when you rotate the foot and knee in opposite directions. This tendon is the strongest and largest in your body, and can withstand a 1,000-pound force. It becomes particularly vulnerable when you increase training dramatically, or fall into a hole. You’ll need demobilization and/or surgery after a tear. If you stretch and warm up the area, you can reduce the chance of inflammation and tears. Wear good, stable shoes, too!

MORE: Exercise & Your Appetite: The Truth

Hamstring Pull
The hamstring is a group of muscles that attach to the lower leg and support the hip joint. It becomes injured by overuse—particularly over-striding during a run. Scarring of injured areas creates more tension, making re-injury rates about 80 percent. This is why it’s especially important to stretch after a warm-up. Put your foot on a chair and lean forward, while bending at the hip until you feel hamstring tension. Switch legs after holding for a minute.

Groin Pull
Your inner thigh muscle (adductor muscle group) lies between the femur and pubis bone. This is vulnerable to tearing when you overexert yourself or your muscle is cold. Stretch and strengthen the area by lying on your back and spreading your legs (butterfly position). Allow your knees to fall apart so you feel the stretch. Place a ball between your legs and squeeze to strengthen.

Rotator Cuff Strain
The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and their tendons, which originate from the scapula and form a cuff over the upper end of the arm. This head of the humerus is your shoulder joint. The cuff helps lift and rotate the arm and stabilize the humerus within the shoulder joint. It’s vulnerable to tears after a fall or repetitive overhead arm activities. Strengthening the area will help prevent injury. Never lift weights without being able to see your hands.

 

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