Sports participation is often fun. That’s the appeal of it, particularly when it’s the basis for your physical fitness efforts. Instead of the impersonal and uninteresting use of weights and machines, playing a sport can engage your mind in a way that a treadmill or exercise bike may not.
As you’re enchanted with the strategic elements of your chosen game, it’s possible that attention to the mechanics of movement may suffer. Your involvement in the game could invite overexertion and playing beyond your ability or fitness. And accidents can always happen.
When pain flares up, it’s time to visit the sports injury specialists at Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for treatment. In the meantime, here are some of the most common injuries and steps that you can take to avoid them.
The spectacular damage and pain you see in professional sports make up only a small portion of sports injuries. It’s far more likely that you’ll be sidelined by soft tissue injuries that result from either poor technique, overuse, or overextension.
Sports that require running, stopping, fast changes of direction, and jumping often have a high incidence of strain injuries and sprains. The less prepared you are for a game, the more likely an injury becomes. Pre-game stretches are just the beginning.
Off the field, you need a mix of strength training and flexibility exercises to stay game-ready. This combination of training modes helps your body prepare for a wide range of physical demands.
Straining tendons and ligaments often introduces micro tears. Or they can be more seriously torn, requiring surgical repair. Common locations for tears are the Achilles tendon in the back of your leg and the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Once again, both strength training and flexibility training help you avoid damage to tendons and ligaments under game conditions. These stabilizing tissues count on the support of the muscles that surround or attach to them. When you’re not warmed up or adequately conditioned, more of the load transfers directly to the connective tissue, increasing your risk of injury.
Matching your footwear to the sport you’re playing is another way you can avoid injury. Shoes can cushion and support the foot against the types of motion you’ll typically encounter. Running shoes, for example, tend to be light while offering support over long distances, while basketball shoes aid short speed bursts and fast changes in direction.
Because sports sometimes come with frequently repeated motions, such as a golf or tennis swing, you may be at risk of inflammatory conditions like tendinitis. The elbow endures strain in golf and tennis while the shoulder sees injuries when throwing motions are common, like baseball and quarterbacking in football.
Often, repetitive strain injuries happen because of poor technique. Lessons on form can help you move with efficiency, working with the natural range of body motion. Building strength in support muscles prevents overcompensation that leads to problems with repetitive motion.
This only scratches the surface of sports medicine, but the common themes of building support muscle strength and flexibility answer the prevention question in every injury situation. The better prepared you are, and with the right equipment for your sport, the less likely it is that injuries will occur.
When they do, contact Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine by phone or online at the nearest of their three locations. Expert diagnosis and treatment will help you stay in the game.