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Common Sports Injuries & Prevention Tips

By Buffalo Medical Group | November 9 2017 | Doctor Tips

Sport injuries can be all too common, particularly as we age or take on new activities. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a well-trained athlete, there are important tips to be aware of to help you prevent sports injuries. Dr. Andrew O’Hara listed some of the most common injuries he sees at Buffalo Medical Group, and what you can do to help keep yourself from experiencing one of them.

The Most Common Injuries by Sport:

Football:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
  • Meniscal tear
  • Groin pull
  • Hamstring pull, tear, strain
  • Calf pull, tear, stain
  • Labral tear – shoulder
  • Labral tear – hip
  • Acromioclavicular joint injury
  • Concussion

Basketball/Volleyball:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Jammed fingers
  • Knee injuries
  • Deep thigh bruising
  • Foot fractures
  • Rotator cuff

Ice Hockey:

  • Concussion
  • Clavicle fracture
  • Acromioclavicular joint injury
  • Bursitis of the elbow
  • Wrist injury
  • Back injury
  • Hip injury
  • Knee injury (Medial collateral ligament, ACL)

Lacrosse:

  • Ankle Sprain
  • ACL tear
  • Muscle strains
  • Concussion
  • Shin splints
  • Abrasions
  • Commotio cordis

Baseball/ Softball:

  • All of the above
  • Overuse injury major concern

Soccer:

  • Sprain/strains
  • ACL tear
  • Shin splints
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Wrist sprains/fracture
  • Shoulder dislocations
  • Concussion
  • Abrasion

Now for How to Prevent Them…

It All Starts with a Warmup – Sometimes preventing common sports injuries is beyond our control, but many times they’re preventable. Some injuries we bring on ourselves because we’re not conditioned for the activity. Starting with a gentle warmup increases blood flow to the muscles, gets you more flexible and could help decrease injuries.

Be Aware of Muscle Fatigue – Often, we know when our bodies are tired, but continue to push ourselves. Knowing when to stop or take it easy can help ensure you’ll be able to participate again the next day.

Gradual and Continual Progress are Key – You don’t take your road test and drive across country. Just like you shouldn’t instantly run a 10K without proper training. A gradual progression of activity is the safest way to avoid injuries. Maintaining your stamina, agility and muscle mass along the way are also important. If you can avoid it, try not to take months at a time off. Stay active over summer break or hit the gym in the winter—anything to keep your body conditioned.

Learn the Proper Techniques – Believe it or not, even running has a proper technique. Certain running stores can help you work on yours if you’re a serious runner and want to continue doing it for the long haul. Other contact sports also have techniques you can use to prevent injuring yourself as you tackle or hit another person.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Did we mention staying hydrated? It’s important, not only for your performance while you’re being active, but it helps fuel your recovery afterwards, as well. Water and electrolytes found in many sports drinks are key to keeping your muscles, tendons and joints hydrated, lubricated and ready to go.

Don’t Know Something? Ask and Communicate – Many times, we jump into a sport or leisure activity without knowing the risks, long-term effects or whether a symptom we’re having could be related to that activity. It’s important to keep an open dialogue with your health care provider, as well as your parents, coach, spouse or anyone who is involved with your medical care. What they don’t know, could hurt you. So, speak up.

Injury Prevention Recap:

Here’s a quick recap of all the ways you can help prevent getting a sports injury:

  • Pre-season health and wellness evaluation
  • Proper warmup and cool down routine
  • Consistent incorporation of strength training and stretching
  • Hydration
  • Staying active throughout the summer break promotes a healthy return to your sport
  • Properly fitted protective gear
  • Proper tackling techniques
  • Recognizing environmental concerns
  • Gradual progression of activity after a period of inactivity
  • ACL prevention programs
  • Participation in sport-specific training
  • Open communication with medical staff

Schedule an appointment to meet with one of our orthopedic specialists today at 716.656.4830.