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Avoiding Sports Injuries for the Weekend Warrior
Participation in sports or exercise is an important step in maintaining your health. Exercise strengthens your heart, bones and joints and reduces stress, among many other benefits. But especially for the weekend athlete, injuries during participation in sports are easy to avoid by taking some precautions. Often, these injuries occur in someone who is just taking up sports as a form of activity, doesn’t use proper safety equipment or becomes overzealous.
The more commonly injured areas of the body include the knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows and spine. Remember to discuss any new exercise program with your doctor of chiropractic prior to beginning. You want to start any new exercise slowly and gradually build up to longer workouts.
It’s very important to warm up properly prior to starting a workout. Stretching first is recommended to prevent injuries during your workout. Breathe in and out slowly during stretching. Do not bounce or jerk your body while stretching. If you feel pain during stretching, stop what you are doing as pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.
Drink adequate water. To determine the proper amount of water your body needs each day, take your body weight and cut it in half. That figure is the number of ounces of water your body needs daily. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces of water per day. Avoid sports and energy drinks. For a normal sports activity or workout, just stick with water. Water is the best method of hydration, especially for any exercise 60 minutes in duration or less. Most energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine, which provides a short-term energy boost. They also contain sugar, and the combination can lead to irritability, nervousness, rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure. The best way to gain energy if you feel tired is exercise, sleep and good nutrition. These are all elements your doctor of chiropractic can counsel you on.
Listen to Your Body!
If doing an activity hurts, then stop. Always stretch and warm up prior to exercising. But if you are engaged in a sports activity and you feel pain, then stop immediately.
It is just as important to ease out of your sports activities with a warm-down, just like you eased into the sport with a warm-up. When you are finished with your sport, take a few minutes to walk around and then do some stretching.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor of chiropractic can diagnose your sports injury with a history and physical exam, using X-rays, MRI or ultrasound if needed. The type of injury found will affect the treatment.
Common Sports Injuries
Stopping immediately when you feel pain will help you avoid the most common sports injuries. These include:
SPRAINS AND STRAINS The most common injuries from sports activities include damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments. An acute twisting or overextension of a joint can lead to muscle or tendon tears called strains, and tears of ligaments called sprains. You can overuse your joints resulting in erosion of the cartilage in that joint.
TENDINOSIS Too much exercise and repetitive motion of a joint can result in pain and dysfunction. These injuries are called overuse syndromes. This is also called tendinitis as the tendon becomes inflamed from overuse.
STRESS FRACTURES Some athletes may experience stress fractures, which occurs when an abnormal amount of stress is placed on a bone. Stress factures can occur from not building up your running time slowly, for example.
SHIN SPLINTS This type of overuse injury results in micro-fractures of the shin bone on the front of the lower part of the leg. It is most often seen in runners although other athletes can be affected.
Last updated 9/25/2015