With an increase in sports and fitness activities geared toward adults, there has been an increase in the age of athletes, which is why sports injury prevention is a topic gaining more traction than ever. Although adults are increasingly active, they are more prone to common sports injuries due to the physical changes that come with age.
If you are an adult athlete, seeking expertise regarding sports-related injury prevention is especially important since the field of sports medicine has amped up its services in this area. Many sports medicine doctors now specialize in sports-related injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation programs, counseling, and guidance. Guidance and knowledge on preventing sports-related injuries is especially important if you are trying a new sport or physical activity or participating in a sport or physical activity for the first time after taking a break.
Common Sports-Related Injuries
There is an array of injuries that can occur depending on the sport or fitness activity you participate in. ACL tears are more likely to occur in activities that involve sudden stops or changes in direction like basketball or tennis, while tennis elbow is caused by repetitive movements of the wrists and forearms in sports like golf, swimming, baseball, and softball. Hip labral tears are common in sports that put a lot of strain on your hips like soccer and golf, while hamstring injuries occur when your hamstrings are overextended in sports like soccer and tennis.
The most notable sports-related injuries in adults are the following:
- ACL tears
- Achilles tendon ruptures
- Ankle sprains
- Joint injuries
- Shin splints
- Hamstring injuries
- Hip labral tear
- Tennis elbow (Epicondylitis)
Tips for Preventing Sports-Related Injuries
Recommendations for preventing sports-related injuries are as follows:
Whenever you begin a new sport or fitness activity, it is recommended that you first spend time mastering the form and technique. Using the correct and safest stances or postures for which sport or activity you are participating in prevents injuries. Workouts and movements are easier on the body when you engage in the right technique. Bad technique causes you to do more work than you need to, which leads to fatigue and an increase in the likelihood of injury.
Strength and Conditioning Training
Strength and conditioning exercises build the strength that your body needs to help protect it from preventable injuries. Strengthening your leg muscles around the knee can help prevent ACL tears and your muscles around the hip joint can help prevent hip labral tears. There are many other benefits you can gain from strength and conditioning exercises including healthier bones, improved posture, and increased fitness and metabolism.
Many experts believe that stretching is beneficial to athletes no matter the intensity of the workout. Stretching will increase your range of motion, improve your circulation, and improve your posture before you engage in physical activity. Most importantly, stretching reduces injuries by increasing flexibility. Stretching the calves can help prevent Achilles tendon ruptures and hamstring injuries.
Proper Rest and Hydration
Studies have shown that those with inadequate sleep at night increase their injury risk since there are such things as fatigue-related injuries. In addition, not being properly hydrated contributes to muscle fatigue. Staying adequately hydrated will reduce your risk of injury and prevent cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke from occurring.
Supportive footwear and equipment are essential to sports-related injury prevention. Most sports and fitness activities engage your feet, ankles, and knees, which can leave you vulnerable to sprains, strains, and fractures. Wearing supportive footwear and exercising the ankles can help prevent injuries such as ankle sprains that usually occur by landing wrong when walking or running and shin splints that occur during high-impact activities like running and dancing. You should wear shoes that have proper shock absorption, traction, ankle support, and arch support.
THE ROLE OF A SPORTS MEDICINE SPECIALIST IN INJURY PREVENTION
It is essential for adults participating in sports and fitness activities to seek the expertise from sports medicine doctors since many sports injuries can be prevented with proper knowledge. As stated earlier, a sports medicine doctor specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sports-related injuries. It is recommended for every athlete, no matter their age, to consult with a sports medicine doctor before participating in any physical activity or sport that can lead to injury. These doctors are trained in evaluating athletes prior to sports participation to determine their predisposition to injury.
If a sports-related injury has already occurred, sports medicine doctors can prevent it from becoming more serious. When needed, they work closely with physical therapists to rehabilitate patients after their injury or prescribe rehabilitation programs. They can also help athletes return to their sport safely after injury by proving them with counseling related to their injury, guidance on how to prevent injuries from occurring again, and advice on nutrition and training programs that will help improve their performance. Sports medicine doctors stay up to date on the latest research and developments in the sports field and can provide you with the best guidance when it comes to health, safety and injury prevention in sports.
It is important to seek these doctors for their expertise, since sports-related injuries that are left untreated can lead to long-term problems. If you are experiencing pain from an injury or ongoing condition, we recommend that you prioritize your orthopaedic health as an athlete and see one of OrthoUnited' talented sports medicine specialists. Make an appointment today!