As the summer season comes into full swing injury prevention becomes more important. Vacations, summer break and better weather result in a rapid increase in outdoor activity, exercise and participation in sports. Unfortunately as activity increases so does the likelihood of a musculoskeletal injury. Below are some principles and suggestions to help decrease your probability of suffering an injury that will put you down and out for the remainder of a summer.
Start low and progress slow – if you have been inactive for a period of weeks or months over the winter be sure to resume exercises at an appropriate level for you. You likely cannot pick up where you left off, so start at a low intensity level and progress slow, always listen to what your body is telling you when first beginning to train.
Conditioning Camps – high school athletes should take advantage of any training camps offered prior to the start of formal sport practices. These camps are intended to help condition the athletes in a safe and effective way. By ramping up your conditioning in advance you may decrease or prevent the chance an injury can occur. Especially given the high intensity work load placed on the body during early season athletic practices.
Injury Prevention Camps – injury prevention camps may be offered periodically at local schools for the students to work on body mechanics, form and technique to lower the risk of injury. Common topics include jumping, knee injury prevention, running and weightlifting/training.
Screens – a thorough orthopedic screen by a licensed physical therapist or trainer can help identify areas of concern that predispose you to an injury. A good physical prior to participation in school athletics would include an orthopedic screen to diagnose any underlying factors that could predispose you to injury.
Treatment – seek treatment for old or new injuries as soon as possible if the condition does not self-limit after a short period of time. More prompt treatment increases the likelihood of a complete and quick recovery, while a delay in care might result in the need for more care and longer recovery periods as further tissue damage could be sustained if not addressed promptly. Exercising while injured places increased stress/load on the surrounding tissues as they try to compensate for your original injury.
-Bradley Meyer, Doctor of Physical Therapy