5 Simple Questions that can Reduce Your Sports Injury Risk

May 20, 2022

Playing sports is an excellent way to get some exercise, bond with like-minded athletes, and reduce stress. There are myriad benefits to playing sports, but it’s important to recognize that every practice you attend and every game you play increases your risk of a sports injury.

While it can be overwhelming to think about the possibility of sustaining a sports injury—especially one that can sideline you for a game or an entire season—this article is designed to help you recognize how you can minimize your risk.

Sports Injuries Can Happen to Anyone

Sports injuries can happen to anyone—any age, any experience level. Athletes can sustain a sports injury while exercising/conditioning or during gameplay. Some types of injuries are more common than others. Strains and sprains, for example, happen more often due to repetitive motions and, therefore, continuous stress on certain muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

If you have already sustained a sports injury, take comfort in knowing that a prompt and proper diagnosis—as well as a customized treatment plan from a doctor you trust—can get you back on the field, court, rink, or wherever it is you play the sport(s) you enjoy. How though can you minimize your risk for sports injuries?

Podiatrist treating woman's sports foot injury

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting

By asking yourself these 5 questions before starting, and answering honestly, you greatly decrease the chance of an injury.

Have You Been Exercising Regularly?

Your risk of sustaining a sports injury increases if you haven’t been exercising regularly. When exercise is part of your daily routine, your body maintains (and boosts) its muscle mass. Exercising regularly conditions your body for the physical challenges associated with playing sports.

It’s also worth noting that regular exercise not only increases your strength but also helps you maintain your balance. Some sports injuries occur as the result of a fall.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, don’t view this as a sign that you shouldn’t play sports. Instead, view it as an opportunity. It’s never too late to start an exercise routine. Your coach and/or teammates may be able to give you the motivation you need to get started.

Have You Warmed Up and Stretched Properly and Are Planning to Cooldown Afterwards?

Think of your body as a machine—one that requires “warming up” and “cooling down” to perform at its best. If you fail to warm up and/or cool down, you’re essentially doing a huge disservice to the ligaments, tendons, bones, and muscles in your body by making them more susceptible to injury.

A proper warm-up routine involves stretching, which helps your body maintain its flexibility as well as its range of motion. Think of your Achilles tendon, if you will, as a freezing cold rubber band—rather snappable indeed. If you take time to stretch that rubber band, however, it gets warm and maintains its elasticity. Your goal before practice or a game is to make your muscles (and all those other incredible musculoskeletal parts and tissues) warm rubber bands.

Cooling down is important, too. When you have challenged your body to perform at a certain level of intensity, you need to give it a chance to recover accordingly. Cooling down involves allowing your heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal. This will regulate blood flow. In addition, playing sports encourages lactic acid to build up in your body. This acid invites cramping and stiffness into your muscles, so all the better take a break—and some deep breaths—so your body gets the oxygen it needs to break up that acid before it can cause you discomfort.

Wearing shin guards in soccer

Are You Wearing the Correct Protection Equipment?

Playing sports without wearing the proper equipment you need to protect your body from injury is like walking into a job interview wearing shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops. In other words, don’t do it. Secure all the equipment that your chosen sport requires—football players, for instance, need helmets to protect them from concussions. Soccer players wear shin guards and cleats. High-contact sports like these involve proper padding.

If you aren’t sure what equipment to purchase, speak to your coach or teammates. You can prevent a sports injury by wearing the equipment designed to protect you.

Do You Know the Rules and Techniques of the Sport?

Sometimes sports injuries occur on account of athletes not being familiar with the rules and techniques of the sport. If you’re new to a sport, it’s important to receive appropriate training and to be educated on all the rules, as some rules are in place to prevent injury to the players. This may seem like a simple way to prevent sports injuries, but it’s one to be taken seriously. Learn your sport so you can participate fully—and with utmost confidence.

Are You Injured Already and Need to Sit Out to Rest and Recover?

We get it, sustaining a sports injury is not only physically painful but also emotionally demanding. No one wants to be sidelined because of an injury, but if it has happened, what you can do now is focus on getting back into the game. To do so, you need to give your body the rest it needs and the time it requires to recover. Getting back into the game too soon, for instance, could cause your injury to not heal completely. If that’s the case, the body part you injured could be injured all over again in due time.

The recovery process takes time—and patience—but with the right support system in place, you can follow through with the treatment plan best suited to your needs and focus on healing.

Contact Us Today for Help with Sports Injuries

If you or a loved one has sustained a sports injury to the foot or ankle, please contact Michigan Foot and Ankle Specialists at your earliest convenience. Our highly skilled and trained doctor, Dr. Alexander Thomas specializes in foot and ankle sports injuries and would be happy to help you take the first steps toward a full recovery.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 313-582-6222 or complete our online submission form. We look forward to serving you and we thank you for trusting us for all your foot and ankle needs.



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