Taking part in sports is a great way to stay active and for many it’s a lifelong hobby or profession. However, the trouble with popular sports such as football, rugby, tennis and gymnastics is that you risk a serious injury. Some sports injuries heal themselves but others will need specialist treatment, and you may find the same body parts cause recurring problems. Of course the best thing to do is try and avoid injuries altogether with preventative treatment and safe training.
Here are some general tips for preventing sports injuries:
- Always, always warm up before working out. This increases blood flow to the muscles and prepares the body for activity, preventing common injuries.
- Stop when you are tired. Muscle fatigue causes injury, and if you’re overtired then you’ll make mistakes in your technique.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common sports injuries and how you can reduce the risk of each specific injury.
Most athletes have experienced a sprain at some time, usually an ankle sprain. This happens when the ligaments on the outside of the ankle stretch or tear, when the foot turns in. This injury can be mild or moderate, and some sprains can take months to fully heal. To prevent an ankle sprain, you can work on strengthening the ankle which strengthens the muscles. Additionally, work on your balance – by improving your balance you can try to prevent falls which lead to sprains.
Groin injuries are common in sports such as football where you have to change direction often. To prevent this type of injury you have to put in the work, but it pays off as you won’t spend time out waiting for a strain to heal. Working on strength and flexibility in the groin area can help prevent a strain occurring. Ball squeezes and the adduction machine can improve groin strength, and stretching out at the end of each practice can improve flexibility.
Pain down the front of the shins is known as shin splints, and is usually caused by running. This injury can be caused by a myriad of factors, included wearing the wrong running shoes or increasing the intensity of your workout. To reduce the chance of getting shin splints, keep a short stride during your run and build the intensity of the run gradually. This means don’t do too much too soon – increase the distance and speed slowly. Listen to your body and don’t be overambitious as you could be out with an injury.