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How to Prevent Overuse Sports Injuries

Sports InjuriesCommon among both young athletes and older players, overuse sports injuries are those caused by repetitive trauma to the muscle, bone, tendon, and ligaments. Unlike acute sporting injuries which are usually due to a single traumatic event, chronic overuse injuries occur gradually over time when the joints and supporting structures are stressed beyond their physical limit. Typical overuse injuries among athletes include tennis elbow, runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, shin splints, swimmer’s shoulder, youth pitching elbow, Achilles tendinitis.  Fortunately, leading health care centers in New York provide effective treatment for these conditions.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, up to half of all sports medicine injuries in children and teens are from overuse. They occur when a new sport or activity is begun, when the athlete over-trains or does too much too soon, or when a particular movement is repeated over a long period of time. As overuse sports injuries develop gradually and cause chronic pain, they are challenging to diagnose and treat.

One of the common questions that people ask physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists is whether sports-related overuse injuries can be prevented. The answer is yes. Let’s see how.

  • Proper training practices: Avoiding a chronic repetitive training pattern is extremely important to prevent overuse injuries. As aging brings about physiological changes and minor musculoskeletal injuries, older players need to change the way they train and compete. Even a small injury can be debilitating. For example, endurance athletes may develop plantar fasciitis which will affect their sport as well as gait pattern. It’s crucial for trainers to educate athletes on these specific training errors and guide them on how to train better.
  • Increase activity gradually: Athletes should take care not to over-do activities that stress the joints and muscles. The level of the training program or activity should be increased slowly over a period of time to give the body enough time to recover and respond.
  • Prevent muscle fatigue: Athletes should have appropriate dietary and supplemental strategies in place to fight muscle fatigue. Experts recommend getting pre-workout meals, sleeping well, and drinking water to prevent dehydration, muscle fatigue and electrolyte loss. Preventing muscle fatigue helps prevent re-injury.
  • Proper warm up and cool down: This is important before and after activity. Exercises to build strength, increase flexibility, and improve core stability will help reduce the risk of chronic overuse injuries.
  • Pay attention to pain: Athletes need to pay attention to pain, which could be a sign that the body is being stressed.

Consult a Physical Therapist at a Reliable NY Rehab Center

Athletes can get valuable guidance on prevention of overuse sports injuries at a professional New York rehabilitation center. The physicians and physical therapists will work with trainers to identify and correct training errors so as to prevent injuries or injury recurrence in athletes. In addition to exercises to strengthen muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, and the calf muscles, athletes will be advised on the use of appropriate footwear and custom orthotics to prevent overuse injuries. These centers also provide effective treatment for injured athletes and help them get back to their sport quickly.

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