Exercise is good for the body and with the proper precautions, sports injuries can often be prevented. The quality of protective equipment – padding, helmets, shoes, mouth guards – have helped to improve the safety in sports. But, you can still be susceptible to injury. Always contact your healthcare provider before starting any type of physical activity, especially vigorous types of exercises or sports.
Causes of sports injuries may include:
- improper or poor training practices
- wearing improper sporting gear
- being in poor health condition
- improper warm-up or stretching practices before a sporting event or exercise
Common sports injuries include:
- Sprains and strains
- Joint injuries (knee, shoulder, ankle)
- Muscle injuries
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Pain along the shin bone
How can I prevent sports injuries?
The following are some basic steps to prevent a sports injury:
- Develop a fitness plan that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility. This will help decrease your chance of injury
- Alternate exercising different muscle groups and exercise every other day.
- Cool down properly after exercise or sports. It should take 2 times as long as your warm-ups.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
- Stretching exercises can improve the ability of muscles to contract and perform, reducing the risk for injury. Each stretch should start slowly until you reach a point of muscle tension. Stretching should not be painful. Aim to hold each stretch for up to 20 seconds.
- Use the right equipment or gear and wear shoes that provide support and that may correct certain foot problems that can lead to injury.
- Learn the right techniques to play your sport.
- Rest when tired. Avoid exercise when you are tired or in pain.
- Always take your time during strength training and go through the full range of motion with each repetition.
- If you do sustain a sports injury, make sure you participate in adequate rehabilitation before resuming strenuous activity.
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas, N., MD