Spring is here, and sports are finally back after sitting on the sidelines of quarantine for more than a year. Whether you’re a trained athlete, up-and-comer or weekend warrior, injury is always a possibility. It’s important to understand the most common spring sports injuries, the best way to prevent them and what to do in case you do get hurt.
According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 8.6 million sports injuries occur every year, with approximately 42 percent involving the lower extremities.
Top five most common sports injuries
Here are the top five most common spring sports injuries and how you can prevent them:
- Overuse injuries
Many sports like baseball, softball, golf, volleyball and tennis involve particular movements that are extremely repetitive in nature. Repetitive movements like swinging, throwing, serving or twisting can lead to overuse injuries and more serious injuries if left untreated
- Sprains and strains
Sprains and strains can occur from falling or twisting, or they can be the result of an untreated receptive-use injury. When you have joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles that are already compromised through overuse, you are more susceptible to sprain and strain injuries.
Though not as prevalent in noncontact sports, concussions are one of the more common spring sports injuries. Sports like baseball, hockey, football and soccer increase the likelihood of collisions and therefore concussions.
- Bone bruises and contusions
Any contact sport puts players at risk for bone bruises and contusions. Collisions with other players, or more often the ball, can lead to muscle injuries or even fractures.
- Back injuries
Sports that require full body twisting, jumping or lunging can increase your risk for back injuries. While not as common as other spring sports injuries, players should still be aware of and try to prevent back injuries, as they can take longer to heal.
How to prevent common spring sports injuries
Here are a few things you and your kids can do to help prevent most common spring sports injuries:
- Check all equipment before each season
Be sure to check all gear, from cleats to gloves, for proper fit and wear and tear before the beginning of each new season. It’s also important to make sure any new equipment, especially footwear, is sufficiently broken in before using it in a practice or game. This will help the player avoid things like blisters, hot spots and sores.
- Warm up
Taking time to warm up your muscles with stretching or low-impact aerobic activities can increase elasticity and decrease your risk of injury during practice or gameplay. Try stretching for 15-20 minutes and holding each stretch for about 20-30 seconds.
- Cool down
Cooling down and doing some light stretching after exercise helps loosen muscles while they are still warm from training. Proper warm-up and cool-down techniques will help prevent most muscular strains and aches.
- Stay hydrated
Be sure to drink water before, during and after practices or games. This will help prevent common issues like muscle cramping and more serious medical conditions like heat exhaustion.
Whether you’re an athlete or weekend warrior, the skilled physicians at Coastal Urgent Care of Houma can treat any type of injury that does not require surgery. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.