Nothing can sideline an athlete faster or longer than a sports injury. Athletes of all ages are susceptible to sports injuries. Some of the most common sports injuries include things like rotator cuff injuries, Achilles tendon injuries, fractures, knee injuries like meniscus tears and ACL injuries, ankle sprains, and dislocated joints.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to try to prevent sports injuries before they happen. If you are an athlete looking to stay injury free this season, here are 8 suggestions of things you can do to try to prevent sports injuries.
1. Stay Hydrated! Drinking plenty of water and other healthy fluids is really important for athletes. It gives you more energy when you are active, helps stabilize your core body temperature, and keeps your muscles from cramping up.
2. Increase Training Gradually. Many common sports injuries happen because people build up their training schedules too quickly. To avoid injury, you should gradually increase the intensity and duration of your training.
3. Transition Carefully from Sport to Sport. Even if you are in great physical condition, different sports activities require different muscles and skills. If you are trying a new sport, make sure to transition carefully to prevent injury.
4. Wear Protective Gear. Protective gear exists for a reason – to keep you injury free! Mouth guards, goggles, helmets, shin guards, padding – make sure to wear all of the protective gear recommended for your sporting activity. Before you get on the field, court, or your bike, you should have your protective gear ready for action.
5. Make Sure to Warm Up. People are busy and sometimes warming up may seem like a waste of time. But when it comes to sports injuries, a few minutes spent warming up can make all the difference. Establish a healthy warm up routine before you begin your exercise to prepare your muscles and reduce your injury risk.
6. If it Hurts, Stop! Many athletes hesitate to stop when they feel the first twinges of a possible injury. This is especially common for overuse injuries that can come on gradually but be very persistent and difficult to heal. If you feel unusual pain or discomfort, stop the activity to reduce your risk of a sports injury.
7. Take Time to Rest. If you are like a lot of athletes, you love your sport, and taking time off can seem more like a punishment than a reward. Yet everyone’s body needs a break now and then. Make sure to incorporate rest days into your routine so that your body has time to regenerate and heal, especially following demanding workouts.
8. Embrace Cross-Training. Regardless of the activities that you enjoy doing, it is always smart to incorporate new activities into your training to reduce your risk of injury. Different activities help you build up different muscle groups, while giving other muscles a much needed rest.
Even when you take the necessary precautions, accidents and injuries still happen on occasion. If you are experiencing some type of sports injury, you should seek medical attention from a qualified medical provider like an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine doctor.
Sports injuries left untreated can become much more serious so it is important to know when to seek help so that you can get back to your favorite athletic activities more quickly.