In the challenging sport of aerobics, injuries are common and often involve the foot, ankle and lower leg. The knee and back can also be involved. Medical professionals agree that most injuries occur from using improper footwear, inappropriate surfaces, poorly chosen movements, too fast tempos and simple overuse injuries.

If you are attending a high impact class and the impact is too much bring it down a bit for some low impact segments. If the instructor does any movements that cause you pain, first check your form and if that doesn’t help modify or choose another movement.

Unfortunately, tempos are being conducted way too fast in most aerobics classes. If you find yourself shortening your steps, not going through the full range of motion or feel like you might trip switch to a slower class.

The surface you train on is very important. The best aerobic’s surface is a hardwood suspended floor which still has a little give to it. There are poured urethane gym floors that also offer some support. The worst floors are concrete or wood on concrete. Carpeting no support and can actually slip a little. Mats can provide too much cushioning leading to a twisted ankle.

Avoiding injuries in aerobics requires proper footwear. Look for a shoe especially made for aerobics or cross training. These will give you the lateral support needed for side to side movements and good cushioning for impact forces.

Common aerobics injuries include the following:

*Plantar fascitis (arch pain). Arch pain is caused by stressing the bottom part of the foot. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band running from the front to the back of the bottom of the foot. If you have rearfoot or forefoot instability, with severe pronation, the fascia can become inflamed causing great pain. Make sure your shoes have proper arches or see a podiatrist for special inserts.

*Shin Splints. Shin splints are probably the most common lower extremity injury. Pain is usually felt along the shin muscles (front, middle or back) and is a result of high impact forces or training on improper surfaces. Strengthening the muscles of the shin before your workout is helpful and icing them afterward will reduce inflammation.

*Heel spurs. Heel spurs occur when calcium deposits build up on the bottom of the heel bone. These take a long time to grow. Stretching the bottom of the foot before class is helpful.

*Achilles tendinitis. During aerobics we spend a lot of time on our toes. This creates pain and tightness in the back of the calf. Stretching the calf before and after class is helpful. Also, remember to bring your heels down. You should not always be up on the balls of your feet.

*Stress Fractures. Stress fractures, like shin splints, are caused by improper footwear, hard surfaces and overuse syndromes. Women usually get fractures in the lesser metatarsal bones. See a podiatrist right away to avoid a truly debilitating injury.

*Sesamoiditis. The sesamoid bones are just beneath the large metatarsal bones. These bones take incredible forces during aerobics because, as mentioned before, we spend too much time on the balls of our feet. Practice bringing the heel down. If a fracture occurs see a podiatrist.

When paticipating in various types of aerobics you need to be cautious and responsible. There are good aerobic programs and there are bad ones. Look for things like choice of shoe, the surface you train on, the moves the instructor chooses, speed of movement, and above all how you feel while exercising. You need to be responsible for listening to your body and exercising good common injury sense.