For most people, exercising two to three times a week is the most their schedules will permit. Injuries may happen for a variety of reasons, but some injuries are considered by orthopedic specialists as more common than the rest. Read on for tips so you can steer clear of the most common sports injuries whether you work out occasionally, regularly or daily.
How Sports Injuries Occur
You don’t have to be out of shape to get injured. Even if you warm up thoroughly, you can still experience a sports-related injury. The following are some of the most common reasons that sports injuries occur.
- Sprains. Sprains occur when a ligament (connective tissue between bones) is stretched or otherwise altered past its comfort point. If you have ever had a “sprained ankle” you already know all about sprains.
- Strains. Strains occur when a muscle or tendon (fibrous tissue) is stretched or pulled. You may already have pulled a muscle (a type of strain) at some point.
The Most Common Sports Injuries
These injuries are the ones most commonly seen by orthopedic doctors, especially those who specialize in practicing sports medicine.
- Sprained ankle. Since biking, running and walking are three of the most common exercises, it is no wonder sprained ankles are such common sports injuries.
- Shin splints. Shin splints are common injuries for runners in particular. The pain radiates up the front side of the lower legs (the shins).
- Injured knees. Injured knees can come in two common forms – ACL tears (a tear in the main knee ligament) and patellofemoral syndrome (injury to the soft cartilage in the front of the knee).
- Tennis elbow.The so-named “tennis elbow” is not an injury exclusive to tennis players. It is a repetitive inflammatory injury to the elbow tendons. Swimmers, baseball players and others often experience tennis elbow.
- Pulled groin muscle. As you can imagine, a pulled groin muscle can be especially uncomfortable. It is actually caused by a strain to the inner thigh muscles.
Preventing Common Sports Injuries
Preventing these common sports injuries is easier than you may realize. Here are some tips from orthopedic specialists to help you keep fit without pain.
- Start every workout with a period of warm up. When you are in a rush, you may skip the warm-up phase of your workout. But this phase is critical to ease your tendons and muscles into your workout. Pay attention to muscle groups that will be used during your activities.
- Finish each workout with a cool down. Similarly, when you complete your workout, gently stretching your muscles can give your body a chance to rest and re-calibrate.
- Try to fit in a moderate workout daily. The more you work out, the less tempted you will be to overexert yourself.
Combining these tips with rest, hydration and a healthy diet will help you avoid common sports injuries.
About the Author: Steve Clark is a “weekend warrior” – a recreational athlete who enjoys hiking, biking and jogging during his weekend free time. His orthopedic doctor has helped him avoid common injuries.