School is in Session: How to Prevent Fall Sports Injuries
Fall is in the air and it is time to say hello to this season’s sports lineup. As athletes start training and becoming more active, the risk for injury increases. By taking a few proper precautions, athletes can avoid some of the common sports-related injuries.
When it comes to preventing an injury, it is helpful to know about the most common types of sports-related injuries. While many people are familiar with fractures and sprains, overuse injuries are at the top of the list. Typical overuse injuries include:
- Stress Fractures – Small, hairline cracks that can form on the surface of a bone due to overuse. This is common in runners and other high-impact aerobic activities and can happen in just about any bone of the foot from the heel bone to the metatarsals.
- Plantar Fasciitis – Each foot has a thick band of tissue that runs along the underside—the plantar fascia. It provides support to the arch of the foot but can develop small tears and become inflamed with excessive use. The end result is an often sharp, stabbing form of heel pain that is worse when getting up in the morning or after a long period of inactivity.
- Achilles Tendinitis – An inflammation of the Achilles tendon, located toward the back of your heel bone. Pain from this condition tends to be located just above the back of the heel, and often comes with a tangible bump as well. In worse cases, the Achilles tendon might develop a tear or rupture completely.
- Shin Splints – This pain develops along the front of the lower leg, against the shin bone although it can sometimes be felt along the inside of the lower leg as well. This is another common running injury, especially in those who have increased the distance or number of their runs too quickly.
Luckily, as we mentioned, sports-related injuries can be prevented if you take the proper precautions. Here are a few tips for avoiding overuse injuries this season:
- Treat your feet. Wear supportive shoes or get a pair of inserts that offer support. For best results, book an appointment at our office to get evaluated for custom orthotics.
- Don’t go too fast, too hard. Start slow and don’t increase your activity level too quickly.
- Warm up! Make sure to warm up before you begin exercising, even if it is just a brisk walk for five minutes or so. Warming up prepares muscles, joints, and tendons for the increased demands of exercise; stretching will also help prepare them as well as enhance their
- Remember to rest. Overuse injuries are caused by overuse. Take rest days.
- Stretch! Stretch before and after practices or games.
- Listen to your body. Your body knows itself best. If you feel any type of pain during practice… stop.
- Hydrate. In addition to drinking plenty of water before, during, and after activity, make sure you are getting enough electrolytes as well.
By taking proper precautions, athletes can avoid and prevent sports injuries. Just remember these few tips and you’ll be on your way to an injury-free season.
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