Regular exercise is essential to your health and wellness, but the idea of “pushing through” injuries with exercise is a bad idea. If you have an injury, exercise shouldn’t be completely avoided unless specifically recommended by your doctor. Exercise modifications can be critical to preventing further injury. Make sure that you inform your doctor or personal trainer if any exercise is causing chronic pain — or if injuries aren’t healing.
Here are some common injuries and suggested exercise modifications:
Wrist sprain: Avoid heavy weight lifting (biceps curls), pull-ups and other forces that lead to wrist distraction. Avoid end-range dorsiflexion in push ups. Avoid heavy weeding and pruning and paining. Aerobic: avoid rowing, elliptical machines with moving arms, and cross-country skiing.
Tennis elbow: Avoid excessive resistance and repetitive wrist extensions with weight. Avoid lat pulls. Aerobic: avoid rowing, cross-country skiing, use caution with kickboxing. Do not use arms with elliptical.
AC sprains and rotator cuff tendonitis: Weight Training: avoid abduction and flexion above 90 degrees, avoid overhead press, pull ups, and lat pull downs. Aerobic: avoid cross country ski machines, rowing machines, Tae Bo classes, and swimming. Do not use arms with the elliptical.
Cervical sprain, whiplash, etc.: Weight lifting: avoid quick rapid motions such as military press, heavy squats with neck loaded, lat pull downs to the posterior neck, abdominal crunches with hands on the head pulling the neck into flexion. Aerobic: avoid running, step aerobics, blading, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and Tae Bo. Caution with bicycling on a road bike; a bike with upright bars is better.
Cervical disc: All of the above precautions and in addition, avoid lat pull downs, overhead press and posterior triceps elbow extensions completely.
Lumbosacral sprain, disc: Weight lifting: Avoid lumbar extensions, military press, heavy squats, rapid knee extensions. Avoid toe touches (with lumbar flexion). Avoid diving, snowboarding, downhill skiing, blading, Tae Bo, and soccer. If skiing, do very easy slopes and avoid icy conditions.
Hip arthritis/DJD: Weights: avoid high resistance and deep squats, avoid walking lunges. Aerobic: Minimize or avoid running. Avoid cross country ski machine. Ski easier trails. Avoid fast swimming, blading, and soccer. Stationary bike should be well tolerated.
Patellofemoral and IT band syndrome: Similar precautions for severe DJD of the knee. Weights: avoid deep squats, limit depth of lunges. Aerobic: caution with running, step aerobics, steep or fast downhill hiking, snowboarding, bicycling and Stairmaster. Stationary biking may be tolerated. Water aerobics should be well tolerated.
Patella and quad tendonitis: Bicycling and water aerobics may be well tolerated. Avoid volleyball, basketball, and all jumping.
Meniscus tear: Bicycling and water aerobics should be well tolerated. Avoid basketball, volleyball, skiing, and snowboarding.
Ankle sprains: Avoid high-impact aerobic activities initially; avoid basketball, kick boxing and Tae Bo classes and other jumping activities.
Stay active; be well.
Dr. Mimi G.