No matter your place on the athletic scale, when springtime rolls around, you’re probably at a higher risk of injury. The specialists at Orthocenter are well-versed in sports medicine, but we’d prefer that you avoid injury, so here are a few tips to help you prevent a sports-related injury this spring.
The most common sports injuries
Before we get to the tips on staying injury-free, let’s look at some of the most common sports-related injuries. Easily the most common is muscle strains and sprains. You’ve probably suffered through some in your lifetime, whether it was a sprained ankle or strained back.
Other common injuries include:
- Tendinitis in your shoulder, ankle, or other joints
- Shin splints
- Overuse injuries, such as tennis elbow
- Knee injuries
- Back injuries
- Hip injuries, especially tearing the labrum, or soft tissue around the joint
Recovering from an injury means pain, inconvenience, and not getting to participate in activities you enjoy. We can’t promise that following these tips will mean you won’t get hurt, but your risk of injury will certainly be lower!
Ramp up carefully
If you’re like many people, you lose a bit of your fitness over the winter. If you get back out and try to perform at a higher level than your fitness allows, your risk of injury is far higher.
For example, if you haven’t run in a couple of months and you decide to do a quick three miles, the result could well be shin splints. Muscle strains are often the result of similar causes. Make your first few workouts easier than you think they should be. Increase your strength and stamina slowly and protect yourself!
Warm up, cool down
You already know it’s important, but it can be so easy to skip either part of a workout — especially if you’re really looking forward to your workout, or if you have plans with friends afterward. However, taking a few minutes to get your body ready for exercise and a few more to stretch and cool down could be the difference between six weeks of recovery and having fun playing your sport.
If you love riding your bike, you may be tempted to do it every time you work out. It’s fun! You enjoy it! Why not?
It’s easy to develop muscle imbalances that can lead to injury if you don’t participate in some cross-training activities. You’re also more likely to develop overuse injuries without variation in what you do.
Try to find a balance between cardiovascular work, like running, biking, or swimming; strengthening exercises, such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercise; and flexibility training, such as yoga or tai chi. You probably have a favorite activity already, but varying what you do gives you a better chance of avoiding injury.
Take rest days
Exercise is important, but recovery is, too. Make sure you take a rest day at least once a week, and avoid training the same muscle groups two days in a row. Your muscles need time to recover.
If you have questions about returning to activity safely, or you suspect you’ve sustained a sports injury, book an appointment at Orthocenter. We’re happy to help when you’re injured, but we’re even happier when you don’t get injured!
It’s easy to book an appointment. We have locations in Red Bank, Morganville, Marlboro Township, and Holmdel, New Jersey. Simply call the office that’s most convenient for you and we’ll get you scheduled.