If you have an athlete in your family, orthopedic sports injuries are likely a part of life. Whether playing football, soccer, track and field or hockey, most athletes will endure some type of sports injury in their career. Many of these injuries will be minor but some can be career ending.
Orthopedic sports injuries are common among children as well as adults. Even the most seasoned athletes will face a variety of injuries over time. Prevention of these injuries is key in order to get the most out of your body and to have success in whatever sport you prefer.
Check out these tips for preventing some of the most common orthopedic sports injuries:
- Wear the right protective gear: Before you hit the field, ice, track or courts, take simple steps to ensure you are arming your body with the best defense. Protective pads and helmets are required in many sports. But don’t have a false sense of security when you suit up. Be sure that your equipment fits properly and in good working condition. Gear that is damaged, too big or too small is not going to offer adequate protection.
- Hydrate: Drinking fluids including water and electrolyte rich drinks is important before, during and after your practices and events. Proper hydration helps your body perform at its best, decreasing the likelihood of cramping up and exhibiting poor form which can lead to injury.
- Good nutrition: Heading out for a practice or game without fueling up is not a wise choice. Feeding your body with the right balance of lean protein and carbohydrates will enhance stamina. Maintaining a healthy diet is important on a consistent basis, not just on days you will be participating in your favorite sport. Working vegetables, fruits and the right amount of calcium into your diet consistently will promote overall health.
- Know when to seek treatment: As a competitive athlete, it seems to go against nature to take a step back. But if you have an injury, the best thing you can do is take a break and allow yourself to heal fully before returning to the game. Meeting with an orthopedic surgeon, especially one that is fellowship trained in sports medicine, is a wise way to determine how long you need to sit out. Exercising with an injury can have more severe long term effects.
- Know your limits: In addition to taking a break when you are injured, it is equally important to know when to push it and when to hold back. As your body fatigues, you are more prone to injury. Pushing your body to the limit is a part of training to be your best but it is a fine line. Always listen to your body and consult with your trainer or coach. Pushing too hard can be the difference between peaking and risking an injury.
- Stretching and warming up: Most professional trainers and coaches will emphasize the importance of warming up your joints and muscles before a rigorous workout. This is key for injury preventing.
- Conditioning and strength training: No matter what sport is your favorite, you can benefit from strength training exercises to enhance performance and prevent injury. Always consult with a certified trainer or coach about which conditioning exercises are best for you.
If you are an athlete, orthopedic sports injuries can be life changing. Whether you are new to the sport or a veteran, you are never immune to suffering from an injury. Even with the best steps to prevent injury, you still might find yourself needing treatment. Be sure to consult a surgeon if you do sustain an orthopedic sports injury.