Protect Yourself From These Common Sports-Related Injuries
Getting in enough physical exercise is important for our health. Yet, whether that physical activity involves working out at the gym or participating in sports, it’s important not to overdo it. Pushing yourself can lead to common, yet painful injuries. Being aware of ways to avoid these injuries can help you stay safe, while pursuing your fitness or sports goals.
These types of injuries are more common in competitive team sports and include everything from traumatic brain injuries to incidences of TMJ. Trauma to the jaw or skull is generally responsible for swelling or a fracture of the bone of the skull in both these types of injuries. That’s why regulations for contact sports, such as football or hockey, set guidelines for wearing face and head protection. While some types of sports don’t require this type of protection, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk of a head injury. For instance, TBI incidences are still common in sports like basketball and soccer, even though the players don’t wear helmets or mouth guards. In any physically active sport, it’s wise to consider wearing a helmet or similar protection to protect your face and head.
When the neck becomes misaligned, it can cause pain that won’t seem to go away, but this isn’t necessarily due to an injury. In fact, it can begin in the office, while you’re working at you desk. Your neck becomes misaligned through poor posture, but the pain can really intensify later, when you hit the gym. It can become a bigger problem as you lay on the weight bench, if you don’t ensure your neck and upper back are fully supported against the pad. Doing lifts that force you to raise your hands over your head can really aggravate the condition. To strengthen these muscles, do reverse shrugs with the lateral pull down bar, adjusting the weight to a comfortable level. Just pull the bar down to 3-4 inches in front of you.
This is a common injury at the gym, especially with those who don’t practice a proper form. Like the neck, the back relies on proper posture and, when it doesn’t get that support, it can cause a strain in the lower back. A sharp pain, while doing squats can be an indication that you’ve put a strain on your back. To prevent this type of strain, practice working with your neutral back posture, before you begin lifting or doing squats. By laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, you can experience your natural posture. Get comfortable with this posture, before advancing your workout.
These a tiny, hairline cracks in the bones of the lower legs, shins, and feet. Generally, they are caused by performing a repetitive motion too excessively, or they can be caused by overexertion. Symptoms of stress fractures include sharp, shooting pain in the foot and shins, making it difficult to walk. Jumping, running, walking, and even standing still can cause the pain to grow worse and the area around the shin and ankle may swell. To prevent stress fractures, start slowly and increase the intensity of your workouts gradually. Each week, you can boost your workout safely by 10%, giving your body time to adjust and build muscle.
This is common in every sport, among runners, and also in gym workouts. This often happens when you’re running and not paying attention to your footing. A misstep can cause your foot to twist beneath you, bending the ankle in an awkward position. The best way to prevent sprains is to run or jog on flat, even surfaces. If you’re on the treadmill, don’t forget to wear the clip that will stop the machine if you lose your balance. Outdoors, try to stay on concrete when running, as natural trails may be uneven and littered with branches and rocks.
Staying safe is important during any physical activity. To that end, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment and follow safety guidelines for that activity. While getting a good workout is your goal, overdoing it can lead to accidents and injuries that may leave you sidelined.
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Featuring: Andre Houle, Rachel Mulvaney, Julie Quinn, Dominic Mineo, Leah Berzon & Dylan Jones
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