It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that everyone who plays sports or even does vigorous exercise has suffered an orthopedic injury, even a mild one. But there are ways to reduce the risk of being hurt while indulging in something that should be pleasurable.
How to Avoid Workout Injuries in General
A person may be excited to start a new workout regime or take up a new sport, but they need to begin slowly and to know how to warm up and cool down. Warming up means they should raise their body temperature a bit then thoroughly cool down after their exercise or game. Ideally, a person should have a personal trainer or a coach to make sure they do not overdo it and give them tips on how to stay safe during their workout.
Other tips are to stay hydrated and cross-train. This just means they should do more than one type of exercise.
How to stay free of injury also depends on what type of sport or exercise the person is doing. If they are running, for example, they should wear the right footwear, which helps their thighs, legs and feet be as stress-free as possible. People who play tennis or other racquet sports should build up the strength of their core and concentrate on the stability of their arms, legs, feet and hands.
The knee has two bands of cartilage called menisci that serve as cushions between the thigh bone and the leg bone. A torn meniscus is a common injury among people who play soccer, basketball or other sports where the leg is suddenly and violently twisted or accidentally kicked. To prevent injuries to the menisci, a person should perform stretches and other movements to get their heart rate up during their warm up then cool down by gentle jogging and stretching their leg muscles. They also need to do exercises that increase the power and stability of their lower body. These exercises include box jump-ups and jump-downs. The person jumps up on a box, holds for a moment, jumps off and repeats. It is best to start with a low box and gradually increase its height.
The hamstrings are four muscles at the back of each thigh, and injuries to them are common in sports where the player has to accelerate suddenly or when the muscles in the thighs have to contract and expand very forcefully. The way for a player to avoid injury is to make sure that their technique is good, that they are properly warmed up and that their muscles are not fatigued. Box jumps and box step-ups are good training to avoid hamstring injuries, as are stretching exercises such as walking lunges.
Interestingly, professional tennis players rarely suffer from tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is often the result of faulty technique. Its proper name is lateral epicondylitis, and it is an inflammation of the place where the tendons join the outer part of the upper arm bone. Its sister injury, golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendons where they join the inner part of the upper arm bone. A person who suffers from thrower’s elbow has inflammation at both areas.
Some of the best exercises to avoid this injury include the lawnmower, which utilizes a dumbbell to strengthen the muscles of the back and shoulders. Other exercises are pulley chops, which strengthen the core and bring more power to a golf swing or tennis shots without having to overuse the elbow.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a complex of tendon and muscles around the top of the upper arm bone near the shoulder. Injuries to the rotator cuff happen during sudden, overhead arm movements such as lobbing a tennis ball the wrong way. One way to prevent rotator cuff injuries is through the pec stretch, which loosens the shoulder muscles and lowers the risk of tears. The person stands beside a column or other solid vertical structure and rests one arm behind the structure with their upper arm aligned with their shoulder. Then, they rock gently forward until they feel the muscles in their chest stretching.