Spring is approaching and many are preparing for sports mania! From running, baseball, softball and more, there are plenty of spring activities for athletes of all ages to enjoy. Whether recreationally or competitively, this is a great time for kids (and adults) to get in shape and we recommend taking the necessary steps to prevent injuries.
Spring is also the time of year when we see more injuries. Common spring injuries include ankle sprains, muscle pulls, hamstring strains, shin splints, knee injuries, and Little League elbow or tennis elbow. Injuries can occur due to lack of conditioning the muscles and joints, and many of these injuries are preventable. Bowen Hefley Orthopedics, along with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, offer these steps to prevent injuries this spring season.
Warm up consistently. Always take time to warm up and stretch properly before any physical activities. Stretch muscles and allow at least 30 seconds in each stretching position. Once the muscles are properly stretched, warm up with jumping jacks, walking or running in place for about three to five minutes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. This could include walking, cycling, swimming, weight lifting, yoga or martial arts.
Proper equipment. Selecting the proper equipment such as shoes, clothing, a helmet for you or your child's specific sport and using the equipment properly for each activity is important. Each sport has unique clothing and sports equipment that can help reach your athlete’s highest potential during physical activity and help prevent injuries. Always remember to replace poorly fitting, worn, or old equipment.
Train and condition. If you or your child has not been consistently active this winter, condition the body and start training the muscle groups used in the sport in the weeks before playing. For example baseball and tennis players can work on shoulder strengthening and flexibility exercises and golfers can work on lower back flexibility and stretching.
Body awareness. Learn to recognize when the body is fatigued. Muscles that are fatigued lack the protective mechanisms in the body and increases risk for injuries. Rest and take a break. Use this break time to get some much needed hydration.
Always cool down and stretch all the muscles used. Stretching at the end of physical exercise is just as important stretching before. If you or your child is experiencing an injury or if you have any questions, consult an orthopedic specialist at Bowen Hefley Orthopedics.