If you’re getting active for the first time in a while — or if your New Year’s resolutions included hitting new performance heights in your sport — it’s important to be aware of your risk of repetitive use sports injuries.
For sports and activities that range from running to tennis and beyond, Dr. Michael L. Blackwell and the team at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine of Tomball, Kingwood, and The Woodlands, Texas, have the sports medicine expertise you can rely on to keep you healthy and injury-free.
Here are some of the tips and tricks Dr. Blackwell recommends for his active patients.
The importance of warming up
Before any sport or activity, including walking, running, bicycling, or playing a team or individual sport like tennis, soccer, or swimming, you need to take the time for a full warm-up first.
Warming up supports your muscles and tissues, preventing tears, sprains, and other stress injuries. Talk to Dr. Blackwell about the best warm-up stretches and exercises for your sport or activity.
Taking it easy while getting started
It can be tempting to throw yourself into training, pushing yourself as hard as possible. But, especially if you’re getting started with a new activity, you risk repetitive use injuries if you don’t pace yourself.
Packing long workouts into your weekend days and then “recovering” all week is a recipe for overuse and repetitive stress injuries.
Repetitive use injuries like stress fractures or tendinitis typically come from training too hard, too fast, or from technique errors. Take the time to build strength gradually, and keep an eye on maintaining proper technique and alignment.
Pushing too hard when you’re not using the right technique is a sure-fire way to end up with repetitive use sports injuries — and those will definitely slow you down!
Thirty minutes of moderate physical activity a day is a good starting point for many people, as they build strength and stamina. And, don’t increase weight goals in strength training by more than 10% each week.
Maintaining up-to-date equipment
Your equipment makes a big difference in the amount of stress your sport or activity places on key areas of your body.
Many types of athletic equipment are specially designed to protect you from repetitive use injuries. Running shoes have the right support and padding to protect runners’ feet, ankles, and legs, while braces or pads might be needed in other sports.
Athletic equipment wears out over time, so keep yours up-to-date. For example, you may need to replace your shoes every time you’ve run or walked 250-500 miles to keep cushioning adequate for your feet and ankles.
Getting the sports medicine care you need
Whether you’re an experienced athlete or you’re just getting started with your sport or activity, expert advice and care from sports medicine providers like Dr. Blackwell keeps you on track to avoid repetitive use injuries and thrive in your sport. If you do get injured, we can help you heal faster and better, and prevent re-injury.
To learn more about preventing repetitive use injuries in your sport, get in touch with Dr. Blackwell and his team at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today. Schedule your initial consultation over the phone now, or request an appointment online.