5 Simple Questions that Can Reduce Your Sports Injury Risk
If you are an active person, there is no way to fully guarantee you will never experience a sports injury. (Just ask the pros.) There is always at least a very small risk of a sports injury occurring during any activity.
Thankfully, the benefits of exercise greatly outweigh this risk, but it’s always worth making choices that lower your chances of trouble as much as possible.
At Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists, we not only treat sports injuries when they occur, but also help our patients take steps to help prevent additional injuries in the future.
Before the next time you start a game or routine, here are some foundational questions you can ask yourself. Making smart choices can help keep your workouts enjoyable and pain-free.
Am I Wearing the Right Shoes?
A good pair of shoes should not only fit you well, but also provide the right types of support and cushioning for the demands of your activity.
A pair of running shoes, for example, is designed to better absorb the repetitive impacts of your feet hitting the pavement, helping to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures or plantar fasciitis. A pair of basketball or tennis shoes can provide increased support for pivoting and side-to-side movements, helping to reduce the risk of sprains and tendon injuries. A standard pair of walking shoes is not ideal for any of these situations.
If you would like some advice on the best shoes for your needs, we would be happy to discuss them with you during an appointment. A trained associate at a sporting goods store should also be able to help you make good choices.
But even shoes that are perfect for your needs will eventually wear out with time and use, losing their effectiveness. Make sure to replace worn out shoes before they literally start falling apart.
Have I Warmed Up?
One of the big reasons sports injuries occur is that we force our bodies to take on more force or exertion than they are prepared to handle at the time. Taking a few minutes to warm up before a strenuous activity is a good way to help your body adjust to a higher gear.
You might imagine a warm-up as a series of stretches you hold in place for a while, but a better way to warm up is through “dynamic stretching.” These incorporate more movement, and can take the form of some light jogging, jumping jacks, and lunges, among other exercises. The stretches you hold in place (static stretching) make for a better cool-down period.
How’s My Technique?
Form and technique are not just for looking good. Knowing the proper ways to move, stand, and absorb forces will not only reduce your risk of injury, but often improve your overall performance and results as well.
Good form is not something that is always picked up automatically. It can take a period of mindful diligence before it becomes second nature. That focus will be well worth it, though.
If you have questions about technique and form, it is best to seek out a coach, fitness expert, or personal trainer for answers.
Am I Pacing Myself?
Personal goals are a great way to push yourself and stay motivated, but they should be reasonable.
Pushing yourself too far beyond what your body is currently conditioned to do – or forcing yourself to take on too much repetitive stress over time without proper rest and recovery – is an easy ticket to injury.
Anytime you begin a new activity, it is best to start off at a lower intensity – even one lower than you might feel you can do. Once you set a base level, you can gradually increase intensity over time to a level that pushes you without going overboard. A good general rule is to increase overall intensity no more than 10-15% per week, as measured in weight, time, or distance.
Am I Focusing Too Much on One Thing?
Some activities are easy to fall in love with. But if you’re doing just that one thing all the time, every day, it can make you more vulnerable to certain injuries in a couple ways.
First, you may be overstressing your body and not providing yourself enough time to rest. When you challenge your body through exercise, you are literally breaking it down on a cellular level. Rest allows your body to repair itself and come back stronger, but if the breakdown outpaces the recovery, your bones and tissues can weaken to the point of injury.
Second, your major focus on one area can be to the detriment of your overall conditioning. Neglecting lower half strength training, for example, can result in lower overall stability and less resistance against ankle sprains.
A good fitness plan incorporates cross-training to aid the overall performance of the body and allow areas you have previously focused on to rest. And don’t neglect making full rest days a part of your routine, either! Speak with us, a coach, or a trainer, to discuss what a good overall plan may look like for your needs and goals.
Get Prompt and Proper Care for Sports Injuries
If you do happen to suffer a foot or ankle sports injury despite your best efforts, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Like we said, it can still happen. But the worst thing you can do is try to ignore or push through an injury without proper treatment.
We are here to guide patients through as fast, safe, and effective a recovery as possible. We want you back and able to enjoy the activities you love as much as you do, and we also want you to be able to keep enjoying them long into the future.
GET IN TOUCH
7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126
Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
Web Design by CP Solutions. Marketed by VMD Services.