The summer months usher in a season of increased activity for most Americans, and unfortunately, a resulting increase in physician visits with complaints of pain caused by injuries. Whether you’re engaging in sports for fitness or competition, the last thing you want is to be sidelined because of an accident or chronic aches and pains. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a full 25% of injuries can be avoided by proper preventative action. How can you avoid sports injuries and stay in the game this summer?

1. Support from the Ground Up

Dressing appropriately for your sport is a matter of support and protection. If you’re engaging in a sport like tennis for example, that requires rapid and intense side-stepping and jumping, it’s best to wear a shoe that will support your foot from all angles, rather than a running shoe, that’s designed for a completely different purpose. A great way to avoid sports injuries is to make sure the equipment and gear you’re wearing is well-fitting and designed for the sport.

2. Play by the Book

Typically the rules and procedures of a game are designed, in part, with the safety of the players in mind. Make sure to have a solid understanding of the rules and regulations of the sport you’re playing, and insist on their being enforced by referees and judges, especially in contact or high impact sports.

3. Condition Your Body

If you’re interested in taking to the waves but the only surfing you’ve done in recent months is through cable channels with your remote, you’re bound to end up injured. “Weekend Warriors,” or those with very limited periods of activity, have a high rate of injury because their muscles and other soft tissues aren’t conditioned for the demands of sports. Give yourself plenty of time to build up your strength and regular training that is specifically designed for your activities to avoid sports injuries that could put you on the bench.

4. Always Warm-Up Before Play

In a 2007 study from the University of Alabama, it was reported that more than 30% of injuries seen in sports medicine clinics are the result of muscle injuries. Warm muscles are far less susceptible to injury, so proper stretching and engagement is essential to injury prevention. Not only should you introduce movement to your muscles slowly, it’s also a good idea to gently work through range of motion exercises for your joints and spine as well to avoid sports injuries.

5. Rest Up!

It may seem like more is better when it comes to working out and playing, but another risk factor for suffering an injury is a high number of consecutive training days. Resting your body is a critical component of a proper training regimen, and helps you avoid sports injuries by eliminating risks from overuse and compromised form from muscle fatigue. It can also give your muscles and connective tissues the opportunity to repair any minor damage before it turns into major problems.

Have You Pushed Into Pain?

At Atlanta Medical Clinic, we pride ourselves on developing an understanding of the source of our patients’ pain and implementing a multidisciplinary approach to providing relief. Contact us today to learn more about how we’ll work with an accurate diagnosis of your injury, and a balanced approach of the latest pain management techniques, medical interventions, and therapies to help get you back to your active, pain-free lifestyle.