5 Proven Ways To Avoid Sports Injuries

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a serious competitor, sports injuries are a part of being a willing sports participant—even at the highest level. In the past several days alone this has been demonstrated by a large number of athletes who have been unable to compete in the Rio games due to injuries they sustained either before or during an event.

But just because sports injuries are to be expected doesn’t mean they can’t be avoided to a large degree. That being said, it’s first important to know what areas of the body typically get injured during sports activities, and then how to prepare yourself in order to prevent an injury.

According to the NAIMS, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, the most common types of sports injuries are:

While this is a fairly long list, it does give a clear indication of the types of sports injuries athletes will likely experience during practice or competition. What this list doesn’t point out, however, is how to avoid these sports injuries altogether—because while they may be common to athletes, most or all of these can be prevented using a few simple, but proven techniques.

  1. Do a Quick Warmup

Before any major sporting event, athletes usually spend between 20-60 minutes getting their joints, muscles and mindset ready for competition with a series of full-body warmup exercises. Yet, while you won’t necessarily need this much warmup time before your own sporting event, giving your body a minimum of 5-10 minutes of warmup beforehand lets your body know you’re getting ready for a more strenuous and energetic pace.

By warming up for just a few minutes, you’ll not only improve blood flow to your muscles and the rest of your body, the elasticity of your muscles, joints and tendons will also get an added boost, which will prepare you for the next step in sports injury prevention.

  1. Get a Good Stretch

In a recent study published by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, stretching by itself didn’t offer much in terms of decreasing the risk of a person experiencing a sports injury. However, the study also found that participants who combined stretching with a warmup routine did see noticeable benefits, adding to the improvements that were already demonstrated in pre-activity warmups. For more information on the pros and cons of stretching exercises, read our article on The Truth About Stretching.

  1. Play by the Rules

Most sports involve some type of contact, whether that contact comes from another participant or the environment the sport is being played in. As a result, most sports require you as an athlete to follow rules that help you to avoid sports injuries, as well as equipment designed for keeping your body in the best condition possible. So beyond following the rules of conduct in your particular sport, be sure to wear your protective gear as well, regardless of how comfortable it might be.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Fortunately, most of today’s athletes are aware of the importance of staying hydrated during competition, and how not doing so can affect their performance. Conversely, however, not everyone who is a sports participant understands just how critical it is to keep your body hydrated before and after these types of activities.

To avoid dehydration, which we detailed in our article Keep Cool, Stay Hydrated, we referenced a recommendation made by the Mayo Clinic for athletes to get at least 1-3 cups of water before exercising. This is in addition to the water and/or sports drinks you should be getting during and after your activities as well. By doing so, you’ll help your body do a better job of regulating its temperature, allow your joints to stay lubricated and give your cardiovascular system the boost it needs to run a lot more smoothly.

  1. Let Your Body Rest

If you’re in pain during an event or you’re not performing at your best, your body is trying to tell you that it needs some time off in order to recover. As a physical therapist, I’ve seen plenty of patients whose sports injuries could have been avoided by simply listening to the warning signs their bodies were giving them.

Pain is most certainly a problem, so if your pain persists you should definitely consult with your physician, or see an experienced physical therapist or sports medicine specialist before resuming your sport. If you’re dealing with fatigue or muscle soreness, however, don’t be afraid to take at least a few days off before getting back into playing sports. Your body will certainly thank you for the rest.

Do you have a sports injury that needs immediate attention or you’d like to get a second opinion? Visit an All Sports Physical Therapy location near you to get the best physical therapy NY has to offer from our team of physical therapists and sports medicine specialists.

You Might Also Enjoy...