Sports-related injuries can happen to anyone, including children and adults. That's why it's important to practice proper techniques and address pain promptly. Here, our Nepean physiotherapists offer sports injury prevention tips and discuss how sports injury prevention physiotherapy and rehab can help.
Sports Injury Prevention Tips
Whether you're bringing your kid to their first game of the season or preparing to get out on the field yourself, it's true that spending more time playing sports or structured activities brings a greater risk of sports-related injuries, including knee injuries, Achilles tendon injuries, swollen muscles, rotator cuff injuries and more.
Our Nepean physiotherapists often work with clients to help them prepare for the season ahead by developing a regular physical therapy routine to prevent sports injuries. We also work with individuals who have experienced acute and chronic sports-related injuries.
In this post, we'll offer tips for sports injury prevention and explain how our physiotherapists can help you develop a routine to prevent and rehabilitate from injuries.
1. Don't push through pain.
While your sport should help you stretch your muscles, it shouldn't hurt to play and pain shouldn't be something you or your kid suffer through silently.
Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist about any pain you're experiencing, and ensure your child understands they should talk with you if something is feeling "off" or not right. Serious conditions and injuries can sometimes be prevented with early intervention.
2. Schedule your pre-season physical and physiotherapy assessment.
A pre-season physical with your doctor and check-in with your Nepean physiotherapist are great ways to measure your fitness (or that of your young athlete's) before you head out on the court or field.
If a condition is present, it may be detected during a pre-season physical or physiotherapy assessment, which means injuries - and the pain that often accompanies them - can be prevented from worsening or occurring at all.
3. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Playing sports is physically demanding for your body, no matter your age or experience as an athlete. Whether you're an adult athlete or a growing one, you'll need a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins to get you through grueling practices and game days.
A regular eating schedule and safe eating habits are also important. Take time for breakfast, lunch and dinner at about the same time each day.
4. Incorporate a variety of training activities and sports.
While you and your kid may have favourite sports in which you compete, changing up your sports and activities will keep you from putting stress on the same joints and muscles continuously.
Choose your sports sparingly and regularly alternate your exercise routine so different groups of muscles are being exercised.
5. Warm up pre-practice and pre-season.
Before starting a sport or activity, we highly recommend stretching, using a mix of stretches, toe touches, jumping jacks and other routines to get your body moving. Your warm-up should include at least 5 to 10 minutes of gentle cardiovascular exercise to help you break a sweat, as well as lower intensity sport-specific movements to prepare you for the practice or game ahead.
6. Gear up with the proper equipment.
A pre-game and pre-season check of all sports equipment, including pads, shoes and helmets. These items are designed to help cushion falls and hits you may take during the game, but only if they are properly maintained and in working order.
Talk to your coach (or your kid's) before the game and make sure to get a list of safety equipment you'll need to wear to stay safe on the court, diamond or field.
7. Hydate, hydrate, hydrate.
During hot days of tough games and long practices, it's critical to drink enough water to avoid heat-related illness. Whether you're watching your child from the sidelines or jumping in on a game yourself, ensure you and your kid are drinking adequate water, before during and after the game.
Also, watch for any signs of heat-related illness, including confusion, nausea, fatigue, vomiting and fainting, in yourself, your children and your teammates.
8. Rest in between workouts and games.
While a large part of success in sports is ensuring you are physically fit and healthy, mental health and fitness are just as important. That's why it's important to make sure you and your child are getting the sleep you need to feel your best on the field and off.
Getting enough sleep also helps to prevent muscle fatigue, which predisposes athletes to injury. This can happen when go-getter athletes push themselves to stack up too many sports in a season and shortchange themselves on rest in the short-term and long-term (don't forget about taking a break and modifying your exercise routine during off-season).
9. Use proper exercise technique and follow guidelines.
Whether you're throwing a softball to a teammate, wrestling an opponent to the mat or making a tackle on the field, there are correct and incorrect ways of doing these things that can either increase or decrease risk of injuries to yourself and others.
At our physiotherapy clinic, we hear tails from clients often enough about "the one time" they didn't follow proper technique during an exercise routine or play - and paid for it with an injury that set them back or sidelined them for the season.
10. Recognize signs of injury and get help early.
Even minor injuries can progress to become serious health issues or lead to acute, painful injuries on the field if they aren't detected and treated soon after they occur. This is one of the reasons it's important to see a doctor and start physiotherapy if required early on.
Many athletes delay seeking healthcare or injury rehabilitation in favour of altering the way they do things and staying in the game in the short-term, this can have harmful long-term effects for your health.
If you or your child notice that you are throwing differently, favouring one leg while running (to avoid putting pressure on a pulled or muscle or sprain in the other leg) or throwing differently during practice, stop playing. If problems persist, see your doctor or physiotherapist for an assessment before resuming the activity.
Sports Injury Prevention & Rehab at Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre
Whether you or your kid play sports recreationally, in a league or at the masters level, or you are just aiming to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle, sports injury treatment and prevention, in addition to pre-season preparation, are critical to any athlete's long-term health - and ability to play.
At our Nepean physical therapy clinic, our team manages and treats acute and chronic sports injuries in athletes at all levels. We conduct pre-and post-season physiotherapy assessments to take a comprehensive look at muscle balances to ensure your body is working optimally. We can discuss any previous injuries or concerns with training, and work with you to develop a personalized sport-specific exercise program to reduce your risk of injury and help improve your performances.
Treatment techniques for sports injuries may include active exercises to restore strength, flexibility, balance and endurance, manual therapy, ultrasound to manage acute injuries, NeuroCryoStimulation to manage pain, swelling and edema, and more.
Are you wondering how our physiotherapist can help you prevent sports injuries? Let's discuss how we can assist.
We can help develop a physical therapy plan to help you stay healthy and heal from pain.
Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.