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Weightlifting Injuries

What are Weightlifting Injuries?

Weightlifting is a popular sport as well as a great form of exercise that can target and strengthen muscle groups across the entire body. As part of fitness training, the practice of weightlifting is common. However, incorrect form and inadequate recovery time often lead to injury of the upper extremity.

Types of Weightlifting Injuries

Weightlifting injuries can be classified as acute, traumatic, chronic, or from overuse. In the case of weightlifters, chronic injuries are the most common as they are correlated with overuse and ignoring the symptoms. This type of injury is actually more common in more mature athletes who may have an accumulation of injuries over the years, in whom stretching and warmup are very important.

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of  Weightlifting Injuries

Weightlifting injuries are normally linked to an excessive overload of weight, speed or repetitions of a specific movement. These injuries are common in the elbow and wrist.

Distal biceps tendon ruptures

Rupture of the biceps tendon at the elbow is usually linked with an eccentric contraction with a weight. The distal rupture is less common than proximal shoulder rupture. Patients can complain about a wide variety of symptoms. Some patients hear a pop while others feel a sharp pain in the elbow. This acute pain can be accompanied by a snapping feeling. There may or may not be bruising or deformity. Weakness of supination, rotating the wrist to palm up, is more notable than elbow flexion weakness.

Elbow plicas, cartilage and ligament injuries

Elbow plicas are thickening of the synovial lining of the elbows due to overuse and overload. Similarly, the cartilage lining the bones comprising the elbow joint can be damaged, predisposing to arthritis. Ligament damage from overload or loss of control may be minor sprains or major problems, leading to arthritis, weakness, and pain, secondary to instability.

Wrist ligament injuries

Minor sprains occur during overload and loss of control or technique faults. Complete ligament tears occur on a larger scale and generally lead to instability, arthritis, and pain when ignored.

Causes of Weightlifting Injuries

The causes of weightlifting injuries are linked to some elements such as technical errors, fatigue, overloading, and dropping weights while flexing the elbow.

This makes it even more important for weightlifters to gradually and safely increase weights and focus on form.

Treatment Options

Treating weightlifting injuries depends on the type of injury and its severity.  Some injuries require emergency treatment while others can be treated conservatively.  

The R.I.C.E method can be considered in cases of traumatic or acute injury. The affected area is usually immobilized, ice applied, combined with judicious compression, and rest.

The management of overuse injuries progresses to physical therapy and may require the weightlifter to reevaluate their form or decrease the weight they are working with temporarily.

Preventing Weightlifting Injuries

The prevention of this weightlifting injuries is very important. Every person that practices this type of sport should check the equipment and should have an adequate warm up. Weightlifters ought to increase their max weight with proper training to build their strength, coordination, and skills.

Deficient application of technical knowledge is the major cause of weightlifting injuries. Both professional and casual weightlifters ought to consider working with a trainer to maximize form for each of their lifts. An individualized training program is a worthwhile goal.

If You Believe You Have a Weightlifting Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People who have been hurt while weightlifting should be evaluated to maximize healing and learn how to try to prevent further injury, strength, and mobility issues.

If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

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