Tips for preventing sports injuries
It’s necessary to educate yourself and find helpful resources to take care of yourself while playing sports, no matter what level you play at or what type of sport you play for fun. Unfortunately, there are always some risks when engaging in these activities. Luckily, there are some ways to help prevent or minimize the injuries you may sustain.
Our team at Orthopedic Specialists of North Texas put together a list of helpful tips for preventing sports injuries for you to review and implement into your sports routine. If you do get hurt while playing, you can visit us in Denton, Texas.
Take Time To Rest
Taking time to rest your body is essential whether or not you’ve sustained an injury. Resting can help your body heal from the stress you put on it when playing any sport. It’s even more vital to rest when you have an injury because it’s usually one of the few ways your body can recover and get you ready to play again. Plan to take at least one day a week off to rest. Health professionals also suggest taking an entire month off from playing a year, usually during your offseason.
For example, if you play football, you may take a month off in late spring or early summer to rest and recover from your months of playing. Fuel your body with water, electrolytes, and good food to help promote its healing. If you do try taking one day off a week, avoid working out on this day. If you must get some energy out, take a short, slow walk with light stretching.
Avoid Playing Through the Pain
If you’re in the middle of playing your sport and you sustain an injury, don’t play through the pain. Playing through the pain doesn’t make you tougher, just like sitting out when you get hurt doesn’t make you seem weaker than your teammates. When you get hurt during a game, signal to your coach and team members that you need a timeout. Tell them what happened, and then sit out for the rest of the game. Continuing to play on a hurt limb may only extend the damage or worsen it.
Wear the Right Gear
Each sport comes with its own set of rules and gear. You follow the rules when playing your sport, so be sure to wear and use the right gear as well. It’s also important that the equipment fits you properly without being overly tight or loose. Make sure you wear the correct pads and guards, like:
- Knee pads.
- Shin guards.
- Neck pads.
- Mouth guards.
- Shoulder pads.
- Face guards.
Also, always wear your helmet in a sport that requires it. Protective gear doesn’t guarantee you won’t sustain injuries, but it may help reduce the damage.
Don’t Play in High Heat Conditions
The Texas heat can soar into the triple digits during the summer, making being outside unbearable even when walking to the mailbox, let alone playing a sport. Don’t play in high heat conditions, especially if the weather has heat advisory warnings telling people to reduce the amount of time they spend outside. Playing in high heat may cause you to sustain heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, exhaustion, or cramps. Sunburns and heat rashes also qualify as heat-related illnesses.
Some signs you’re getting a heat illness include:
- Heavy sweating.
- Cold, clammy skin.
- Muscle cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Increase Your Flexibility and Strength
It’s essential to increase your flexibility and strength by creating a workout routine that helps support your muscles as you play. You should also work on your flexibility to increase your range of motion, which may help minimize the chances of pulling a muscle. Consider implementing a stretching routine before and after you work out and play a sport. This can help work out the tension and stress gathered in your muscles after you use them, and it can help warm your muscles up before using them.
Avoid Playing With an Injury
Similar to how you shouldn’t play through the pain, don’t play with an injury. Playing with a fracture or a pulled muscle may only worsen the injury and prolong your healing. This means that if you’ve been out of playing because you have a fracture, you shouldn’t engage in your sport again without a sports medicine doctor’s permission. If you think you’re well again or the pain isn’t as bad as it used to be, but your doctor says not to play yet, listen to them.
Use Proper Techniques
When you learn to play your sport, your coaches teach the proper techniques and encourage them throughout your lessons, practices, and games. It’s important to remember how to use the procedures, especially during games when your coach may not be able to remind you on the field or court. Exercising proper technique while you play can help you preserve your body, such as your knees and back, from sustaining severe injuries.
How Orthopedic Specialists of North Texas Can Help You
If you have a sports-related injury, visit our full-service facility in Denton, Texas. We serve everyone, including those with a sports injury near Southlake. Our orthopedic specialists are here to help you, and we have several treatments available to help you heal. When you visit us, we can start you with a diagnosis to determine the exact issue. Once we know the problem, we can work with you to create a treatment plan, such as physical therapy.
At Orthopedic Specialists of North Texas, our services include:
- Ankle and foot treatment.
- Elbow and shoulder treatment.
- Hand and wrist treatment.
- Hip treatment.
- Knee treatment.
Contact us to make an appointment or learn more about the right treatments specific to your body’s needs. You can also use our online services to have a telehealth appointment to determine if you require a visit or learn about treatments you can get started on at home. Additionally, we have online resources you can review to learn more about your pain and symptoms, which can help you have a better starting discussion when you come in and speak with our sports medicine doctors.