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“No pain, no gain is not always true in exercise, so don’t push through it if your mind is telling you it may be something else,” says Natalie Neuharth, D.P.T., physical therapist at Orthology. “It’s always better to prevent injury than to try and fix it.” And if you are injured, don’t brush off the pain. “The longer you wait, the more chronic it can become, and it can potentially take longer to heal and lead to other pains and injuries,” says Neuharth.
Whether you’re concerned about your rotator cuff, shin splints, hip pain, or an irritated knee, follow these guidelines below to help you decide on a plan of action.
5 types of workout pains to pay attention to:
1. Sharp pain
A sharp or stabbing pain during exercise (or any time, really) is a red flag that something is up. “Sharpness is not a normal physiological response. If you are experiencing sharp pain, it usually means there is something not functioning properly in that body system,” says Neuharth. “A few common causes of sharp pains are impingement of a tendon, such as at the shoulder, a loose body [such as] a bony fragment, bone on bone contact, or a tear of the meniscus in the knee. If the sharp pain occurs once and not again, it is probably an anomaly and nothing to be concerned about.” But checking in with your doctor is always a good idea if something feels wrong.