Whether it’s tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, dance, or another activity that gets you on the move, you love your sport. If you’re physically active much of the time by playing your sport, you’ve probably had at least one minor injury, if not more. You don’t like being out of the action.
Our team at Coastal Empire Orthopedics is headed by our two board-certified orthopedic surgeons. One of our specialties is sports medicine. We understand the mechanics of the sport you play, know how injuries can occur, and understand how to help prevent them.
Following are tips on how to minimize and prevent sports injuries. You may know most of them, but do you always do them? Vigilance is the watchword in protecting yourself from an injury.
To help prevent strains and sprains of your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, warming up is a “must.” Your warm-up should be geared to your sport. Your doctor can recommend warm-ups that help you avoid injury. For example, runners can walk, jog gently, cycle on a stationary bike, and stretch using opposite toe touches, while tennis players can do lateral lunges, knee lifts, and butt kicks. Good warm-ups activate the muscles that you’ll be using while you play your sport.
Wear the right shoes
Investing in shoes that fit well and are appropriate for your sport help keep you on your feet. If you play basketball, tennis, or another sport two or more times a week, you should be wearing a shoe made for that sport.
Did you know that your feet swell during the day? Buy shoes at the end of your day or after working out to ensure you don’t buy shoes that are too small. You should be able to wiggle your toes.
If you play team sports, you’re sitting on the sidelines sometimes. In some sports, you may be offline for a while, and then you’re in the game suddenly. While you have downtime, make sure to stay active some of that time by stretching, throwing a ball, or walking. Keep your muscles ready. You may need to be in warm-up mode several times during a game.
Stop if your body hurts
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Musculoskeletal pain only gets worse if it’s untreated. Continuing to play if you’re injured means a longer recovery when you stop, and it could mean permanent damage to your body. Make an appointment to see the doctor when you have musculoskeletal symptoms to receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
Avoid diving back in after an injury
If you do get injured, follow your doctor’s instructions and wait until you get the return to play decision to get back on the field. Your doctor works with you on the type of activity you should do while you’re beginning to stick your toe in the water, so to speak. Don’t push yourself to play three sets of competitive tennis the first time out on the court after an injury. Instead, play doubles first for a while. Then try noncompetitive singles games before any matches.
It’s tempting to walk off the court or field after playing and return home. Don’t forget to cool down by stretching, walking, and other exercises recommended for your sport.
Call Coastal Empire Orthopedics or book an appointment online today for sports medicine treatment geared to your needs.