Exercise is an important piece to our healthy living puzzle.  It strengthens our heart, bones, and muscles while helping us maintain a healthy weight.  Unfortunately, injuries caused by improper form, lack of safety equipment, or becoming overzealous about the workout can prevent us from participating all together.

The most common injuries occur in the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and spines.  Different sports are likely to cause different injuries (ie soccer and knee injuries, pitchers and shoulder injuries, or tennis and elbow injuries).  It is recommended to see a doctor of chiropractic who specializes in sports medicine before starting an exercise program to make sure you are functionally adequate.

Strains and Sprains

Although acute injuries may cause fractures, injury to muscles, tendons, and ligaments are most likely.  A strain is an overextension of muscles and tendons which attach bones to muscles. A sprain is a tear of ligaments which attach one bone to another.  They can range from mild which can be handled by a chiropractor to severe which may need surgery.  Ankle and knees are common areas of sprains.

Tendinosis and Tendonitis

Overuse of a particular joint or joints due to over training can cause pain and dysfunction and lead to tendinosis or tendinitis.  Tendinitis means there is swelling in the tendon.  Tennis elbow on the outside of the elbow, golfer’s elbow on the inside of the elbow, and rotator cuff injuries are often tendinitis.

Stress Fracture

This type of fracture occurs when an abnormal amount of stress is placed on a normal bone.  This is a common injury in distance runners who start out runner too far too quickly.

Diagnosis and Treatment

History, consultation, and examination are used to diagnose the patient. X-rays can only be used to see stress fracture, so if imagining is necessary to determine severity, MRI or diagnostic ultrasound must be used.

If there is a fracture, casting is probably necessary.

Resting- It is a myth to stop moving a soft tissue injury for weeks at a time.  Rest for no longer than 48 hours because long-term immobilization can prevent proper motion and decrease healing.  In most cases, the sooner the person becomes active after an injury, the more rapid the recovery.  If you have an overuse injury, switch to a different exercise.

Ice or heat- see my previous blog to determine which is best for your injury

Compression- May be beneficial to reduce swelling.  This is on a case by case basis.

Elevation- Elevation of the injured arm or leg above the level of the heart is thought to be helpful in reducing swelling also.

Pain relievers- Recent research demonstrates that some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may actually slow the healing process by restricting the body’s natural healing mechanisms, so they should be used sparingly.

Chiropractic Care- A chiropractor may manipulate joints, do soft tissue work, use kinesiology tape, or modalities like ultrasound depending on what is right for you with your injury.


Warm-up, cool-down, use proper technique and safety equipment.  Train with a coach or trainer who is an expert and have a chiropractic balance your muscles and joints before it is too late.