Playing sports provides an excellent way for kids and adults to get the exercise they need and find an outlet for their competitive spirits. But sports come with risk. Our patients often ask for sports injury prevention tips, and while we can’t promise you or your child will always stay healthy, taking these precautions can decrease the chances of developing an injury.
1. Warm Up Properly
Jumping out of the car and onto the field or court is a good way to get hurt. Muscles need time to warmup. Protect them by letting them adjust to sudden movements, long strides or fast cuts. Do light cardio and stretch before any practice or game.
2. Use the Right-Sized Equipment
Many sports require some type of equipment, from special shoes to protective padding. To get the right protection, you need equipment that fits. For instance, a loose helmet won’t keep you safe from a big hit in a football game.
3. Get a Physical Before the Season Begins
Many kids’ sports teams require a preseason physical to flag any potential issues. The doctor may notice a problem that could impact your athlete on the field during this visit. Adults should also adopt this practice. Preventive medicine is always the most effective way to avoid injuries. Plus, you can get treatment for any new conditions, no matter how minor.
4. Play Multiple Sports and Cross-Train
Repetitive use injuries are common in sports such as tennis, golf and weightlifting, where you make the same movements repeatedly. Cross-training or playing more than one sport challenges your body and uses different muscles and tendons. You put less stress on your body by varying your sports, too.
5. Get Enough Rest
The body repairs itself when it rests. That includes getting at least eight hours of sleep at night, though young athletes may require more. It also means taking breaks when your body feels tired. Overtraining can lead to injury. If every session involves hard workouts, your body doesn’t have time to heal from the last one. You can start to lose form, which can result in an injury.
6. Take Breaks
One of the best ways to prevent sports injuries is to take a break. All athletes should have an offseason when they don’t engage in a sport, giving those muscles time to repair from constant use. Young athletes shouldn’t participate in any sport year-round.
7. Give Injuries Enough Time to Heal
Do you know what happens when you come back too quickly from an injury? Often, you get hurt again. You may reinjure yourself or develop a new problem because you’re overcompensating for your old injury. Listen to your doctor, and be sure to keep coaches informed about your condition. They need all the facts about your recovery to continue to keep you safe.
Trust OrthoBethesda for Sports Injury Treatment
Trying our ways to prevent injuries can help, but they won’t guarantee a healthy sports season. If you or your child get injured on the field or court, contact OrthoBethesda to discuss treatment options or book an appointment online.