What to Do When Fitness Injury Strikes

How to stay in shape until you're back in the game

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Cynthia Haines, MD

You've reduced your calories and increased your activity and finally, the weight loss is starting to show. Then one unsuspecting day you don your workout clothes, tie on your sneakers -- and the next thing you know, you're yelping in pain.

Experts say a workout injury can happen to anyone, regardless of experience or conditioning.

"A pulled muscle, a strained back, a turned ankle, a shoulder sprain -- it can happen in the blink of an eye, usually when you least expect it," says Todd Schlifstein, DO, clinical assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at New York University Medical Center.

According to sports medicine specialist Robert Gotlin, DO, the most vulnerable areas for pulls and strains are the hamstring and thigh, followed by leg or calf muscles.

If you're a beginner exercising to lose weight, the risk of injury may be even greater, with hot spots that also include knees and ankles.

"If you are overweight, the most common injury is a sprain occurring in either the ankle or the kneecap," says Gotlin, director of orthopaedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. This problem often occurs when surrounding muscles are weak due to a lack of exercise, he says.

"The more out of shape you are when you start to work out, the greater your risk of injury, particularly if your muscles are weak," says Gotlin.

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