1) Warm up
Completing a warm up prior to exercise allows you to optimise your workout and ensure the body is ready. A warm up is a low level activity which increases the blood circulation throughout your muscles, tendons and ligaments and prepares the body for the upcoming demands of exercise. This is one of the most important aspects of sports injury prevention.
2) Gradually increase time and frequency
Whether you are starting a new sport, training for an event or just trying to get fit it is important that your enthusiasm doesn’t cause you to go too hard, too soon. The body takes time to adapt to increased demands so gradually increasing time and frequency allows the body to do this in a safe way.
3) Rest and recover
Rest days are essential to allow your muscles to recover and repair from the demands of your activity. Without rest days you can over stress certain muscle groups which reduces the chances of sports injury prevention.
4) Cross train
For a balanced workout programme try to include each of the following aspects to your workout; Resistance training, cardiovascular training, core strength, flexibility and balance. By incorporating each of these elements to your workouts your body will be in the best condition to maximise sports injury prevention.
5) Listen to your body
If your body is giving you warning signs make sure you listen to them. These include symptoms like swelling, specific tenderness, joint tenderness and reduced range of motion. Pushing through these early signs and symptoms can allow minor acute injuries to develop into a chronic condition. Seeing a physiotherapist earlier rather then later can prevent an injury from becoming a long term problem and allow you to get back to what you enjoy.
What are the most common sports injuries?
ACL Tear or Strain
The ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. The most common cause of sports injuries for an ACL strain is slowing down and trying to cut, pivot or change directions. Ligaments on the inside of the knee are often torn with the ACL injury, making it a devastating event.
Hip Flexor Straing
The hip flexors are muscles found on the upper-front side of your thigh. The main functions of the hip flexor muscles are to lift the knee toward your trunk, as well as assist moving your leg toward and away from the other leg. Hip flexors can be weak in individuals who sit a great deal at work or can become weak and stiff in individuals who have poor sitting posture. Sports injuries to this muscle group can be caused by sprinting, running inclines and activities with quick turns and sudden starts.
Most of the sports injuries that we see tend to involve the lower body, particularly knee injuries. One of the most common knee injuries is called patellofemoral syndrome. This diagnosis can be caused by a slip or a fall onto the knees, swelling of the knee joint or a muscle imbalance. Sometimes you can have swelling, leading to a muscle imbalance of the two major muscles that aid in proper tracking of the kneecap in the groove. If knee injury pain or dysfunction continues for more than two weeks, a referral to a physio may help with more aggressive stretching and strengthening. A physio may use knee taping or bracing techniques to aid with proper tracking.
Shoulder injuries cover a large number of sports injuries from dislocations, misalignment, strains on muscles and sprains of ligaments. The shoulder is considered one of the weakest joints of the body and is subject to a great deal of force during athletic activities.
Tennis elbow is usually seen with people are performing a great deal of gripping activities. It can be labeled as an overuse sports injury, also known as medial or lateral epicondylitis. Due to the repetitive action, the tendons of the forearm can become inflamed and make any wrist or hand motions extremely painful. Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, or even a brace, to try to take pressure off the area and prevent further elbow injuries. Stretching techniques and other strengthening exercises applied by a sports physio can help to break down the stiffness and gradually build strength, returning athletes to their sporting activities.
The hamstring muscle is located on the back of the thigh. Unfortunately, the hamstring muscles can be tight and are susceptible to a strain, which is also called a pulled muscle. Often, an athlete with a hamstring tear will experience bruising in the back of the thigh or the knee.
Sciatica is back pain that also travels down the back of the leg or even to the feet. This radiating pain can additionally be associated with numbness, burning and tingling down the leg. Sciatica can be seen in athletes who are in a flexed forward posture, such as cyclists, or athletes who perform a great deal of trunk rotation in the swing sports, like golf and tennis. The back pain and radiating pain can be caused by a bulging disc or a pinched nerve.
Athletes with shin splints complain of pain in the lower leg bone, or the tibia. Shin splints are most often found in athletes who are runners or participate in activities with a great deal of running, such as soccer. Athletes typically get shin splints diagnosed early in their season, as they increase activities or mileage too quickly.
A groin pull is also called a groin strain. The groin muscles run from the upper-inner thigh to the inner thigh right above the knee. Groin muscles pull the legs together and are often injured with quick side-to-side movements and/or a lack of flexibility. The injured athlete might notice difficulty with lateral movements, getting in and out of cars, as well as tenderness or bruising in the groin or inner thigh.