Tips for preventing sports injuries
A sports injury can be a devastating blow – even if you play for fun. In addition to being painful and debilitating, some types of injury can leave you unable to participate in your chosen sport for weeks or months at a time. You could even see your ability to go to work and complete your usual job compromised – something which could have an expressly negative impact on your life. In the meantime, treatment and even surgery may be needed to help you make a full recovery.
Fortunately, sports injuries don’t need to be a common occurrence. Unsurprisingly, some types of sports injuries are more common than others. Some of the sport-related injuries that we see in patients the most include the following:
Ankle sprains can occur in virtually any sport and can be caused by a simple slip, trip or fall. They occur when the ligaments that normally give your ankle plenty of support suddenly stretch and tear, causing pain, limited movement and potentially the inability to put weight on that foot.
An ACL tear is a type of knee injury and is more common amongst patients who play sports that involve suddenly changing direction or doing excessive amounts of jumping – think football, soccer, tennis and basketball. They can be very painful and can take a number of weeks or even months to recover fully.
If you participate in sports such as football and hockey, you are likely to experience a groin strain or pull at some point during your playing life. This type of injury occurs when excess stress is placed on the muscles in the groin and thigh which can cause them to overstretch or tear. Many patients notice a distinct ‘popping’ sensation at the moment of the pull.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to play tennis to experience tennis elbow. That said, it is more common in sports where you use a racquet and spend time twisting and bending your arms. Also known as epicondylitis, this painful condition involves repetitive strain on the muscles and tendons in the forearm near the elbow and can be very painful and debilitating.
What can I do to prevent sports injuries?
The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take that will minimize the risk of you becoming injured during your preferred sport, and in the event that an accident does occur, will help to reduce the damage to your body and speed up your recovery process.
How many times have you skipped warming up your body and gone straight into exercise or your chosen sport? Neglecting to warm up is a rookie mistake but one that many of us still make when we are rushed and want to get started with our chosen activity. However, it is absolutely crucial to preventing injury since it increases blood flow to the muscles and enables them to become more flexible and better able to absorb the impacts that our movements make. Cold, stiff muscles are far more likely to become damaged.
Ensure that you allow yourself at least 10-15 minutes to warm up properly, starting off slowly and building in intensity until your body feels warm. Once you reach this point, stretch properly. Lengthening your muscles and the attached tendons will make them even more flexible.
Get your technique right:
A significant percentage of injuries occur because the player is not using the correct technique for the sport that they are playing. Perfecting your technique can reduce the likelihood of injury occurring, particularly in the case of ball sports, athletics and other sports that involve twisting and over-extending your body. If you aren’t sure on the best techniques, ask your coach or a more experienced participant for advice and support.
Drink enough water
Water is essential for our body to work properly, particularly when we are pushing it beyond its usual limits as is often the case with playing sport. When you burn energy, you need to drink more to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can also hydrate your muscles, making them less likely to be damaged if they are overstretched.
Take time to cool down too!
Just like your warm-up, your cool-down isn’t something to be overlooked. You should give your heart rate time to come down naturally and ease your body back into a slower pace. While you are cooling down, your body will remove waste products from the muscles and replaced them with oxygen and nutrients that will keep them in tip top condition. Walking or jogging is ideal and again, allow yourself at least 10-15 minutes to cool down, even if it means cutting your activity short because you are out of time.
If you would like more advice and support on the best way to prevent sports injuries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our offices. Our experienced and knowledgeable team would be delighted to offer their assistance. Call a representative of Dr. Rovner in New York today at 516-794-2990.