By Marylyn Presutti
Recreational sports participation is an excellent way for many people to stay active and healthy. Basketball, soccer, running, and cycling are just a few examples of ways to stay physically active throughout one’s lifespan. Exercise has many health benefits, and no one should be sidelined from preventable injuries. Muscle strains, overuse injuries, and joint pain are just a few reasons why patients seek out medical care after sports participation. Most of these injuries can be easily avoided with a few key sports injury prevention tips.
Tip 1: Warm Up Appropriately
Dynamic warm ups (as opposed to static stretching), before activity can help improve muscle performance by increasing blood flow and tissue mobility. A few examples of dynamic warm up movements are jumping jacks and high knees.
Tip 2: Use proper footwear
Using old, worn out shoes, or shoes that do not fit correctly can change mechanics and lead to pain. Running shoes come in different drops and levels of stability, and there are many factors that play into finding the right shoe for the right person. Getting fitted for the appropriate shoes based on running pattern and foot mechanics is suggested, and this is something that physical therapists are qualified to perform
Tip 3: Dress appropriately for the sport
Many sports require additional equipment, such as knee pads or shin guards, and not utilizing such equipment during sport may increase the risk of injury. Also consider matching the type of shoe to the sport. For example, if someone is participating in a dance class but is wearing a running shoe, they may not have the correct tread in the shoe to allow for pivoting or turning without increased stress to the lower leg.
Tip 4: Incorporate cross training
Cross Training is important, especially when it comes to strengthening. Many sports injuries occur as a result of poor biomechanics with jumping, landing, and cutting movements. The muscles in the hip help provide stability to the leg and lumbar spine, providing proper control with these sports specific movements. Adding a comprehensive strength program can help reduce the risk of injury. A few examples of hip strengthening exercises include glute bridges, clam shells, and side lying leg lift (hip abduction).
Physical Therapists are qualified to not only treat, but also prevent sports injuries. Physical Therapists at Therapydia treat the whole person, not just the injury, and strive to help patients reach their functional goals so they can maintain health and wellness over their lifespan. Therapydia physical therapists have the knowledge, training and certifications to enhance patient outcomes, and whether it is assessing running mechanics and making shoe recommendations to prevent sports related injuries, Therapydia has the musculoskeletal experts that can help.