The term “sports injury” describes any kind of injury sustained during a physical activity. People can sustain sports injuries during team sports like baseball or football solo activities like jogging. Common examples of sports injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, and dislocations.
Causes of sports injuries tend to fall into two broad categories: trauma and overuse. Traumatic injuries are caused by an accident on the field. For example, the athlete falls down or twists their ankle. Overuse injuries are the more common type and are caused by the athlete trying to go beyond their current physical limits. Improper training techniques, failure to do warm-up exercises, and simply trying to do too much can lead to overuse injuries. Tennis elbow, runner’s knee, and shin splints are examples of overuse injuries.
Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries
1) Use the appropriate safety gear.
Depending on the sport, you should use such safety gear as a mouthguard, helmet, pads, wrist guards, and knee guards. You should always wear the right gear for a given sport. For example, you don’t wear a football helmet when you’re cycling. Helmets should be snug and comfortable. Fasten the chin strap if there is one to keep the helmet on. Similarly, you need to wear the right shoes for your sport. Soccer players and football players both wear cleats to help them keep a good grip on the ground.
2) Get medical advice.
If you’re about to embark on a new exercise program or a new sport, see Dr. Olsen. Everybody’s body is different, and you may have some physical trait like a weak ankle that increases your susceptibility to injury. It’s best to learn that ahead of time, so you can take the appropriate steps to protect that ankle before you hurt yourself.
3) Warm up and cool down before and after playing a sport.
Experts have found that warm-ups prevent strains and other injuries. They loosen stiff muscles and boost the cardiovascular system so that more blood reaches the muscles. Walking or jogging can warm up the muscles and stretches increase flexibility.
Cool-downs help the body recover from the exertion of the workout or game. They also help regulate the circulation of the blood and are particularly important for endurance sports like long-distance running.
4) Don’t over train.
Even the strongest, fittest athlete needs rest. You should, therefore, not exercise the same muscle groups every day; instead, you should alternate groups.
Similarly, as you become fitter, you should resist the temptation to increase your workout too much. Some experts recommend the “ten percent rule” as a guide. The ten percent rule applies to both weight training and running. For example, somebody who can easily bench press 100 pounds should increase their weight to 110 pounds. That’s enough to give them a good workout without increasing the risk of injury. Similarly, a runner should increase their distance by ten percent.
5) Don’t exercise or play a sport if you’re already injured.
“Playing through the pain” is foolish, for you risk making the injury worse. Get the needed rest and treatment first, and then resume your training when you’re fully recovered.
Contact Olsen Orthopedics today to schedule your consultation if you’re suffering from a sports injury, or if you would like more information! We are conveniently located in Oklahoma City, OK.