Injury Prevention Tips

Read these 26 Injury Prevention Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Exercise tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Knee Injuries and Prevention

Knee injuries are something that most people deal with, espcially those involved in sports. Most knee injuries are caused from improper impact forces upon the knee joint because of improper lower body postural alignment. A good way to check if one has good lower body posture is to sit in a chair in front of a mirror.

Put a chair in front of a mirror and sit down slowly (as in take 8-10 seconds on the descent). Watch your lower body as you do the movement. If your feet look like they are slightly falling in towards each other or your knees are coming towards one another, you are one of the 'knee injury prone'. This is a sign of a few things going on in your alignment, probably that you have tight adductors (inner thigh muscles) as well as tight plantar flexors (soleus and gastrocnemius). This causes most knees to go in as well as most feet to flatten.

A good way to try and prevent knee pain is to 1) Stretch your legs more to loosen them up, in combination with 2) try squatting while keeping the weight on the outsides of the feet and making sure the knees stay apart, either over or outside (laterally) of the toes. Doing both those things will strengthen the outer thigh muscles (like the iliotibial band) and help your knees operate properly based upon your neuromuscular anatomy.


Low Back Pain and Prevention

Almost all low-back pain can be attributed to a 'rounded' lower back. What this means is that instead of having an arch that in a sense makes your butt stick out, your lower back rounds during exercise making you look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Avoid this at all costs, please!

The shape of your spine should look like a thin 'S' shape, starting from your head and going down to your butt. When people exercise/workout, this 'S' shape should truly be staying the same and not turning into a 'C' shape. Ooh, no. A good tip to remember when exercising is to remember that your lower back should never be rounded. Always keep an arch so that you will avoid stressing any of the discs in your spine, ensuring that your spine will function properly and allow you to not have any low-back pain.

How do I keep from getting neck pain when working at my computer?

Sit Up Straight

See if you can program your computer to remind you to correct your posture every 20 or 30 minutes. This can reduce the neck and shoulder pain you get from slouching over the keyboard for extended periods of time. If the computer won't cooperate, remind yourself some other way, by getting your watch to beep or even using Post-it notes.

How do I know if I´m overtraining?


One indication of overtraining is your resting pulse. If your pulse first thing in the morning is 10 or more beats more than normal, you may be suffering from overtraining. Other indications are unusual (for you) fatigue and a lack of enthusiasm for your workouts. Try cutting back for a week and see if you feel better. Cutting back for a week will not only let your body rest, but your muscles will fully recover which may alow you to see more results upon returning.

If you have fever or other such symptoms, see your doctor.

Does alcohol help or hurt exercise?

Alcohol and Working Out

Never drink alcohol before you work out, even if you're not going to exercise for several hours. Your reflexes can still be compromised, plus your hydration is affected. Do your run or other workout, rehydrate with water, then have a beer if you must. It's best to skip the drink completely before a big competition because effects can linger to the next day.


Causes of lower back pain

Causes of low back pain: Low back pain is usually triggered by a combination of overuse, injury or strain to the muscle ligaments and or discs that support a person’s spine. Other causes of lower back pain could be caused by pressure to nerve roots, herniated disc, osteoarthritis, spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, fractures, scoliosis, osteoporosis or compression fractures. Less common causes of lower back pain could be ankylosing spondylitis, bacterial infection, spinal tumors, paget’s disease and Scheuermann’s disease. Pelvic inflammatory disease, aortic aneurysm, peptic ulcers, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, urinary tract infection, kidney stones and prostate disease can also cause lower back pain. Please seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms: back pain with chest pain, pain or a feeling of squeezing or heavy weight on the chest, you have had a recent severe injury to your back and now you have loss of bowel or bladder control, weekness in the legs, tingling or numbness in the leg, buttocks, or genital area and if you have moderate to severe pain in you back immediately following an injury seek medical attention right away.

What can I do about leg cramps?

Leg Cramps

If leg cramps are a problem for you, try drinking 8 oz of tonic water daily. The quinine in it can help reduce the frequency of leg cramps.

How can I avoid getting too much sun when exercising?

Watch Your Shadow

The safest time to exercise outdoors without getting too much sun exposure is when your shadow is longer than your height. When it's shorter than you are, the sun is too high in the sky and you should limit your sun exposure. Wear sun screen in any case.


Alleviate Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is known as an 'Overuse Injury' in most cases. People usually end up using way to much shoulder and wrist action while playing the game, and not enough rotational movement. If this is an ailment that is bothering you, probably avoid just flexing and extending the wrist. Yes, rest the elbow, but work on your rotational movement more importantly. If rotational movement (abdominal rotation) is not worked on, then the injury will only continue to be present. By training your body to rotate (especially when playing tennis) the elbow pain should improve, for now you will not just be hitting the ball with your arm, but with the rotational forces in your torso as well.

Can I exercise if I´m taking medication?

Prescription Drugs

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can have side effects that impair your workout or sports performance. Check with a pharmacist to see whether what you're taking affects exercise.

What exercise movements might hurt my back?

Ballistic Rotation

Ballistic rotational movements of the spine, where you twist quickly and with little control, are a major cause of neck and low back pain, because of stress on the discs and other structures. Don't do it--practice sports injury prevention.

Can I wear my regular plastic glasses for racketball?

Protective Eyewear

For preventing eye injury during sports, wear goggles and other eye protection that are designed for the sport, not for street wear. Goggles are a necessity for racketball and recommended for other racket sports, handball, basketball, and lacrosse. Use approved goggles for water polo and face shields for hockey.

Can I work out after donating blood?

Donating Blood

Recreational endurance athletes who donate blood should skip training that day and the next while rehydrating with lots of fluid. You may want to skip another day, or take it easy, if you don't feel quite right.

What should I do if I get dizzy after a run?

Feeling Dizzy

If you feel dizzy during or after a workout or race, lie down. Do not sit or stand still. The cause may be minor, but if you stand or sit your blood pressure can fall dangerously low and cause you to faint.

Lying down will usually normalize your blood pressure, and also keep you from getting hurt if you fall. Check with a doctor after to identify the cause.

How can I prevent shin splints?

Shin Splints

To prevent shin splints, strengthen the front of your lower leg by lifting the side of a weight plate with your toes (heel on the ground) or walking around on your heels, then stretch your calves. If you have mild shin splints, cut back on your running, ice afterwards, and check that your shoes aren't worn out. A severe case calls for time off running and a trip to the doc.

How can I prevent kickboxing injuries?

Kickboxing Safety

Cardio kickboxing is popular and fun, but there is a risk of injury. The American Council on Exercise suggests preventing injury by avoiding overextension on kicks, not locking joints when punching or kicking, not wearing weights or holding dumbbells when you work out which can stress joints, and not pushing beyond your present ability. This can apply to karate and other martial arts classes as well.

What can I do myself for sports injuries?

First Aid

Remember R.I.C.E.--rest, ice, compression, elevation--as first aid for joint and muscle injuries. Note that it's ice, not heat for the first 48 hours or as long as swelling is present. Even if you have an injury like a bad ankle sprain that requires medical attention, ice it right away, then go to the doctor, unless you can get to the doc in a few minutes.

How can I work out and not irritate my sore rotator cuff?

Precautions for Sore Rotator Cuff

If you have shoulder/rotator cuff soreness, keep your hands where you can see them when working out. This means no behind the neck presses or pulldowns, no military presses, and no deep bench presses.

Are ankle injuries common?

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are the most common athletic injury and can recur because the ligaments, once stretched out, do not easily return to their original state. Make sure you do stretching and rehab after the injury to keep from spraining that ankle again. A few weeks off with proper rehab can keep the injury from hanging around for months, sometimes years.

How can I avoid back injury while training?

Bending and Twisting

Twisting while you're in a forward flexed position puts your back at risk for injury. Try to square up your feet with the load, even when lifting light weights or other implements, and lift heavy objects by bending your knees, not leaning over from your waist.

Is it safe to wear headphones when I run?

Headphone Warning

Only wear headphones jogging outdoors when you can be sure you won't be surprised by a car or a suspicious character. Even in situations that seem safe, look around before turning or veering from a straight line to be sure someone you can't hear won't run into you. It may be best to save your music or tape listening for the treadmill or stationary bike.

How safe is it for me to do outdoor sports during a lightning storm?

Avoid Lightning

If you hear thunder, it's time to get off the golf course, get out of the water, or bring the boat to shore. When there's 20 sec between flash and bang, the lightning is 4 miles away (5 sec/mi) and you should seek shelter.

If caught in the open in a lightning storm, stay away from solitary trees and poles, metal, including any you are wearing, water, and other people. Get to a ditch or low lying area and squat down until you're sure the lightning is gone. Lightning likes to strike the highest thing around; don't let it be you.

Do I need sunglasses for outdoor exercise?


Take sunglasses and sunscreen when you go to the mountains as well as the beach, and any time you will be outdoors exercising in the snow. Also use as necessary when working out even in your front yard.

How can I prevent blisters?

Blister Prevention

Blisters may seem minor, but a bad one can cause you to miss days of training. When you find, say, a new shoe starting to rub, cover the area with a band-aid or moleskin before a blister develops. Then attend to the problem with the shoe.


Illness/Sickness Prevention

When you exercise in a gym setting, make sure that the area is ventilated. If not and there are a few people in there coughing or sneezing, those germs will be floating around spreading to everyone else maybe even getting to you and getting you sick. If the gym/workout area has the ability to crack a window or ventilate in some way, ask an employee to help you with that. Otherwise maybe find a different area all-together to workout at, ar a new gym that tries to prevent you from getting sick :)


Rotator Cuff Training

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that act together to stabilize the shoulder. It is referred to the 'Scapulohumeral' area of the human body (that attaching to your scapula and humerus bones), and hose muscles being your teres major, teres minor, deltoid, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and subscapularis muscles. Yes, those are all real; go check online if you don't believe me (they reside in the upper back). Let's figure out what that means to train your rotator cuff properly.

Most of the muscles in your Rotator Cuff musculature work internal and external rotation (turning your arm/palm in and out). This all has to be done through griping something. What I mean is, your rotator cuff muscles work when you exercise your grip. Most injuries come to your rotator cuff when quick explosive shoulder motions are done. Rotator Cuff injuries also arise a lot because of improper lifting techniques. If you are involved in a sport where you want to make sure you do not hurt your rotator cuff, work on your grip.

When you exercise, utilize your hands a lot. Don't wear those terrible wrist straps that help you lift more, but instead workout while holding weights so that your forearms also get tired. The more you grip things strongly and stress your muscles, the harder your rotator cuff muscles have to work, strengthening that musculature and preventing injury! I don't care if you just grab weights and hold them for a prolonged period of time, but use your grip as much as you can when you exercise so that you won't tear your rotator cuff.

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Nicholas Frank