How to Prevent Top 5 Sports Injuries
From athletes to weekend warriors, when you're putting everything on the line, injuries can be a common occurrence.You don't have to let injuries keep you from doing what you love. GMC is committed to helping all athletes prevent injury, heal, manage pain and get back in the game as quickly as possible.
Learn about the top 5 most common sports-related injuries and how you can take steps to prevent them. Follow these helpful tips to reduce the risk of a sports-related injury.
- Foot and Ankle Stress Fractures - Athletes who participate in tennis, track and field, gymnastics, dance and basketball are at the highest risk for stress fractures.
- Don’t do too much too soon. If you’ve taken time off or are new to exercise, start slowly and ease your way into your routine. Gradually increase time, speed and distance; a 10 percent increase per week is a good guide to follow.
- Use the right equipment. Don’t wear worn or brand new shoes.
- Watch your surfaces. Injuries can occur from switching from a grass tennis court to clay, or from an indoor to an outdoor running track.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Calcium and vitamin D-rich foods help build bone strength.
- Alternate your activities. Switch it up; alternate jogging with swimming or cycling.
- Include strength training in your routine.
- Runner’s Knee - Several steps can be taken to prevent and alleviate runner’s knee:
- Stay in shape. Good conditioning is important to controlling and preventing pain. Weight loss also helps prevent overstressing your knees.
- Stretch. Before and after running or any exercise, perform a light five-minute stretching routine.
- Increase training gradually. Avoid sudden changes in the intensity of exercise. Take it slow.
- Use proper running gear. Use running shoes with good shock absorption. Be sure they fit properly and are in good condition.
- Use proper running form. Lean forward and keep your knees bent. Also, try to run on clear, smooth, even, reasonably soft surfaces. Never run straight down a steep hill. Walk it, or run in a zigzag pattern.
- Meniscal Tear -
- Warm up properly. A good warm-up will get your knee ready for activity.
- Avoid activities that cause pain. Be careful and don’t overextend yourself.
- Rest and recover. Rest helps the soft tissues of the body recover from strenuous activity. Allow adequate recovery time.
- Stretch, strengthen and incorporate balancing exercises. It is important that the muscles around the knee be in top condition. Work on the strength and flexibility of all the muscle groups in your leg.
- Use proper footwear. A good pair of shoes will help to keep your knees stable, as well as provide adequate cushioning and support.
- Shin Splints -
- Choose the right shoes. Wear footwear that suits your sport. If you’re a runner, replace your shoes every 350 to 500 miles.
- Consider arch supports. If you have flat arches, they can help immensely.
- Lessen the impact. Cross-train with a sport that places less impact on your shins, such as swimming, walking or biking.
- Add strength training to your workout. Try toe raises. Stand up. Slowly rise up on your toes, then slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Leg presses and other exercises for your lower legs can be helpful, too.
- Achilles Tendonitis -
- Wear proper shoes. Give your feet ample support. Replace your running shoes before their shock absorption or padding is completely worn out.
- Warm up. Before and after starting any activity or workout, stretch the leg muscles and tendons to avoid sudden injuries. This also helps prevent the buildup of stress in your Achilles tendon.
- Take a break. If you participate in sports such as basketball or volleyball, make sure to give your legs and your Achilles tendons sufficient rest periods.
Your sports-related injury doesn’t have to sideline you. If you would like more advice, suspect you might have a sports related injury or suffer from pain that impedes normal, daily activities, please visit gwinnettsportsmed.com or call 678-312-5000 for a physician referral. More information about each of these injuries can be found at orthoinfo.org.