Increasingly, people have been listening to the advice of health professionals regarding the benefits of exercise. The problem is that sport and exercise injuries can happen when we don’t warm up, don’t train properly or we overdo the activity.

Examples of some common sports injuries are:

  • Ankle Sprains – A sprain occurs when the band of connective tissue that joins the end of one bone with another is stretched or torn
  • Hamstring Strains – A strain is when a muscle or tendon is over-stretched or over-contracted
  • Shin Splints – Refers to pain along the large bone in the front of the lower leg
  • Knee Injuries – Can range from runner’s knee to tendinitis, or damage to the cartilage or ligaments
  • Achilles Tendon Tears – Commonly caused by a degenerative condition due to aging or overuse.

So what can you do to help prevent being injured when you exercise or play sports? Make sure that you build up your exercise level gradually. Attempt to balance cardiovascular, strength training and flexibility exercises.  Always do a gentle warm up and then a cool down afterward. Some additional tips are:

  • Don’t bend your knees more than half-way when doing knee bends
  • Don’t twist your knees when you stretch and keep your feet as flat as you can
  • When jumping, land with your knees slightly bent for better shock absorption
  • Wear shoes that fit properly, are stable, and absorb shock
  • Use the softest exercise surface you can find and don’t run on asphalt or concrete
  • Run on even surfaces
  • Use proper form
  • Use safety gear

Remember, don’t try to make up a week’s worth of inactivity in a day. If you do experience an injury, follow these four steps for at least 48 hours to help relieve pain and inflammation.

  • Rest yourself and the injury by not putting weight on it
  • Apply an ice pack to the area for 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times a day
  • Use an elastic compression wrap around the injured area to help reduce swelling
  • Keep the injured area propped above the level of the heart to decrease swelling

It’s important to contact a doctor if the injury causes severe pain, swelling, numbness, or if you can’t tolerate weight on it. An additional cause for concern may be an old injury with increased swelling or joint abnormality. If you have any of these, or the pain and swelling doesn’t seem to improve after following the above steps, it may be time to visit a doctor.

An orthopedic doctor specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.  At Spine & Orthopedic Center, we specialize in helping people who have pain from sport and exercise injuries. If you would like to find out how we can help you, please call or visit us today.