Preventing sports injuries

  • September 7, 2023
  • Sports injuries

Preventing sports injuries

From 2020 to 2021, there were approximately 66,500 sports injury hospitalisations in Australia. Dr Yas Edirisinghe has extensive experience treating orthopaedic sports injuries and recognises that many could be prevented with the right precautions. While sport is an incredible way to stay active, build relationships, and achieve personal goals, it also comes with risks. However, with proper awareness and proactive measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of injuries. Learn more about strategies for preventing sports injuries below.

Warm Ups and Cool Downs

Warm-ups and cool-downs are critical components of any sports activity. A proper warm-up gradually increases your heart rate and readies your muscles for action. Warm-ups may be as simple as jogging in place, star jumps, or light stretching. After your workout, cool-down exercises help your body recover and reduce muscle soreness. Stretching is an essential part of this phase, as it promotes flexibility and prevents muscle tightness.

Tape Vulnerable Joints

Taping is a valuable tool for injury prevention. It provides stability, protection, and support to vulnerable joints, such as ankles, knees, and wrists, during high-impact activities. Consult a sports and exercise professional to learn the proper taping techniques for your specific needs.

Wear Proper Footwear

Choosing the right footwear is crucial for preventing sports-related injuries. The type of shoe you need depends on the sport you play. For example, running shoes should provide adequate cushioning and arch support, while basketball shoes should offer ankle support. Always ensure that your shoes fit properly to minimise the risk of blisters, discomfort, and injuries.

Use Safety Equipment

Using appropriate safety equipment is non-negotiable in contact sports or activities with a risk of falling. Helmets, pads, mouthguards, and goggles can significantly reduce the risk of severe injuries. Ensure your safety gear is in good condition and fits correctly to provide optimal protection.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is often overlooked but is essential for optimal athletic performance and injury prevention. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and heat-related illnesses. Before, during, and after exercise, drink water to stay adequately hydrated. For longer workouts or sports events, consider an electrolyte replacement drink to replenish lost minerals.

Progressive Approach to Intensity

Pushing yourself too hard, too fast can lead to overuse injuries or strains. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercise to allow your body to adapt. Listen to your body’s signals, and don’t ignore pain or discomfort. Pushing through pain can lead to more severe injuries.

Form and Technique

Proper form and technique are essential for injury prevention. Incorrect form can put undue stress on your muscles and joints, increasing the risk of injuries. Seek guidance from a qualified coach or trainer to ensure you’re using the correct form for your sport.

Recovery and Rest

Rest is a vital aspect of injury prevention. Overtraining and not allowing your body to recover can lead to fatigue, decreased performance, and a higher risk of injuries. Make sure to incorporate rest periods into your training schedule and get adequate sleep to promote recovery.

Exercise Different Muscle Groups

Balanced muscle development is important for injury prevention. Neglecting certain muscle groups can lead to muscle imbalances and an increased risk of injury. Incorporate a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups to ensure overall strength and stability.

Rehabilitation from Injuries

If you do suffer a sports-related injury, it’s essential to seek prompt medical attention and follow a rehabilitation plan. Proper rehabilitation helps you regain strength, flexibility, and function, reducing the risk of re-injury.

Incorporating these strategies into your sports routine can aid injury prevention and allow you to enjoy sporting activities safely. Remember that taking precautions and listening to your body are key to a long and injury-free sporting career. If you experience pain or discomfort, visit your general practitioner and request a referral to Dr Yas Edirisinghe for professional, individualised guidance and treatment.