Avoiding Sports-Related Injuries | Revere Health

All sports come with a risk of injury, and in general, the more contact involved in the sport, the higher the risk of a more significant or traumatic injury. In many cases, particularly for youth and younger adults, the benefits of sports participation tend to greatly outweigh these injury risks.

That doesn’t mean even younger people don’t have to worry about the potential for injuries, however, and anyone participating in sports should take precautions against these injuries. Here’s a look at some of the common injuries and risks, and some steps that athletes both young and old can take to reduce their risk.

Risks and Common Injuries

The most frequent types of sports injuries are sprains (ligament injuries), strains (muscle injuries) and stress fractures (bone injuries). When extreme stress is placed on any of these areas, injury can occur. In young athletes, overuse is often the cause of an injury.

The seven most common sports injuries are as follows:

  1. Ankle sprain
  2. Groin pull
  3. Hamstring strain
  4. Shin splints
  5. ACL tear
  6. Patellofemoral syndrome (injury resulting from repetitive movement of the kneecap against the thigh bone)
  7. Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)

Injury Risk Reduction Tactics

To reduce the risk of a sports-related injury, some tactics include:

  • Take time off: Plan at least one day off per week, and at least one month off per year from training for a given sport. This allows the body ample time to recover.
  • Wear the right gear: All players should wear the appropriate gear for the sport being played and confirm that equipment fits properly. Equipment includes pads to protect areas like the neck, shoulder elbows, chest, knees and shins. It should also include helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups and eyewear, depending on the sport being played. However, particularly for young people, do not simply assume that proper protective gear leaves you immune to all potential injuries—dangerous or risky activities still put you at risk.
  • Practice strengthening exercises: Regular conditioning exercises will strengthen muscles.
  • Stretch: All workouts should start with a gentle warm-up, including stretching. Stretching should also be done after games and practice, and can be incorporated into a daily fitness plan as well.
  • Practice proper technique: This is particularly important for young athletes who are still learning and need their habits enforced during play.
  • Be safe: Strict rules against dangerous actions like sliding (in baseball), spearing (in football) and checking (in hockey) should be enforced.
  • Listen to your body: Never play through pain.
  • Drink lots of fluids: Always hydrate before, during and after playing sports, and take extra care during periods of high heat and humidity.
  • Take a breaks: If you’re fatigued, take a break or stop playing. Fatigue takes away protective mechanisms and increases risk for all injuries.

If you have any specific questions about sports activity and injury prevention for you or your child, your doctor can offer recommendations.

Michael Carlson, MD

Orthopedics is rewarding for me because it allows me to help patients with injuries and get them back into action quickly. My classes in anatomy initially sparked my interest in medicine and also led me to choose orthopedics as a specialty. I love meeting people of all ages in my practice—I see kids, athletes, adults and retirees. I enjoy being able to understand people’s unique situations and trying to help them recover.

Sources:

“The Seven Most Common Sports Injuries.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/men/features/seven-most-common-sports-injuries#1

“2017 Sports Injury Prevention Tip Sheet.” American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/sports-injury-prevention-tip-sheet.aspx

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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