Preventing sport related injuries

Sport and injury seem to go hand in hand, more so for some sports than others. Sports injuries can side-line an athlete for a long time, or even permanently – something no athlete likes to think of. However, there are some measures that can be taken to minimise the risks of injury. The first thing an athlete should do is watch for signs of possible injury. Pain is always a good indicator that something is wrong.

When accompanied by swelling, stiffness and difficult movements, pain can signal anything from a ligament sprain to a fracture. If any of these signs occur, the best thing to do is take some time off. Trying to perform in the presence of pain will only exacerbate the situation and prolong the recovery. If symptoms persist, you may consider consulting your doctor or physiotherapist.

Another way you can prevent injury is by staying in shape. It is expected that as an athlete you will be fit, however your workouts need to be consistent. If you only train during your playing season, you could be asking for trouble. This is also true for those older adults who play sporadically, or on weekends. Strength training to condition the muscles, and stretching to keep your joints flexible are important ways to prevent overuse injuries.

Not only should you workout often, but you should workout safely. Having a personal trainer is a plus, but failing that, you can have a friend act as a spotter during weight training to ensure that you are using proper form when lifting and lowering the weight. A spotter can also help you avoid accidentally dropping the weight. Warming up before your workout and your game will help to increase blood flow, loosen your muscles and prepare them for the task ahead. Cooling down afterwards prevents muscle soreness and stiffness.

Using the proper equipment can also prevent injury, especially if you play contact sport. Helmets, knee pads, shoulder and elbow pads should be worn, if necessary. If in doubt about your footwear, we can advise on the type you should purchase. Some athletes use heel cushions or orthoses to help absorb impact when they walk or run. Having them custom made is worth the extra expense for the protection they provide.

Remember, a strong and flexible body is less prone to injury. You love your sport and want to keep on playing it for as long as possible, therefore take the necessary steps to make this happen before injury strikes. Remember the cliché, prevention is always better than cure.

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