Sports are one of the best ways to stay active and have fun, but they can also be a major cause of injury. If you’re not careful, one single play could sideline you for the season. That’s why it’s important to know what causes sports injuries and how to prevent them from happening!
From taking care of your body before practice starts, being aware of your surroundings on the field or court, and knowing when it’s time for a break, these tips will help ensure that you stay safe while still having an amazing time playing sports.
Proper hydration is essential for preventing injuries. The more dehydrated your tissues are the more likely you’ll injure yourself while playing your sport. Dehydrated muscles and joints don’t stretch properly, making them more prone to tears and strains. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration status because by the time you feel thirsty it’s too late–you’re already dehydrated.
Listen to your body
Even if you are in practice or a game, you should know when something feels wrong. If you feel any numbness or tingling in your arms or legs when playing, stop playing immediately! Also, listen to your body when it’s time to take a break after a strenuous workout session. Your body needs at least 48 hours between workouts that involve similar muscle groups to recover fully. For instance, working out your legs two days in a row will not allow them to fully heal and you could potentially do further damage.
Prepare for the season
Your body needs time to get used to the demands of your sport and practice schedule. The more your practice or play, the more likely you are to suffer an injury to muscles, tendons and/or ligaments that haven’t been conditioned enough to handle such activities. If possible, try completing a couple of light workouts during preseason so that your body gets used to strenuous activity before getting started with official team practices or games.
Limit the “no pain no gain” mentality
Many people think that they should push through an intense workout session even if they feel some mild pain at first. However, pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If you can feel it at all, there’s a chance that the problem will only get worse with time and eventually lead to an injury if proper precautions aren’t taken.
Wear proper gear
Depending on what sport you play, wear protective equipment such as pads and mouth guards when appropriate. Although most sports injuries involve some type of trauma to soft tissue or bone, they happen most often when athletes are not wearing adequate protection.
Warm up before each practice or game and after
Some people view stretching as unimportant – but they couldn’t be more wrong! Stretching is just as important as warming up before you start playing because it helps prevent muscle spasms and pulls. It also improves your flexibility and range of motion making you more agile and less prone to injuries.
Stretching does not stop once the game is over! You should still stretch out any tight muscles or ligaments that you may have used during play. If you don’t, they could become even tighter and pull a muscle as you try to make sudden movements such as turning around quickly on the court/field.
Many sports and athletic activities place considerable stress on muscles, bones, and joints. Regular strength training helps athletes become stronger and more injury-resistant by promoting muscle balance throughout the body. A balanced athlete is less likely to suffer an overuse injury.
While we may do our best to prevent sports injuries, sometimes they may happen due to one reason or the other. When that happens, an All Pro Sports Medicine Doctor is your best chance of recovery. This doctor can diagnose your injuries and develop a customized treatment plan to ensure you recover better and faster.