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How to Prevent the 3 Most Common Weekend Warrior Sports Injuries

physiotherapy in ottawa

Work a 9-5 but like to break a sweat on the weekends? Here are ways to prevent the 3 most common injuries you could get.

After a long work week of sitting at your desk—or worse, sitting in traffic—nothing is better for the body and mind than exercise. Life is all about balance, isn’t it? Shooting hoops, playing 9 holes, or whacking a puck around the ice are all great ways to stay in shape, keep the heart healthy, and get the mind some of the relaxation it so badly needs. But it often happens that you forget or don’t have the time to prep and stretch before your workout, making you more susceptible to injuries. Here are the 3 most common injuries that weekend athletes encounter and what you can do to prevent them.

Ankle sprains

You know the person from accounting that stumbles into the office hobbled on one leg? They’re suffering from the most common sports injuries. Most activities involve moving our feet and our ankles; if your foot turns inward with too much weight on it, it’s going to be painful.

TIP: If you’re playing a sport like basketball, make sure to wear the right shoes and lace them up tight.

Groin pulls

Moving from side to side puts a lot of strain on the inner thigh muscles. If they move suddenly or get too much strain on them from a lunge or sudden movement in any way, there is a good chance they can tear. This is especially common for sports like football, basketball, and hockey.

TIP: Be sure to ice it down and get plenty of rest. If it starts to swell, then see a doctor immediately.

Shin splints

Those of us with a heftier build and weaker shins will most likely suffer shin splints, especially after a strenuous exercise program. These sharp pains in the shins are most common for runners of all abilities, and especially common for those of us that don’t run regularly each day.

TIP: Ice and rest are recommended. If you’re really suffering, consult your pharmacist for over-the-counter pain relievers.

Preventing these injuries

Prevention isn’t always possible since our bodies are not normally trained to perform these movements over and over again. Even professional athletes suffer from them regularly. There are a few things you can do:

  • Warm up. Stretching and brisk walking do just fine, but when playing a sport, it’s important to take the time to warm up correctly. This normally means performing the same movements you will during the intense periods of the game, but at a lighter pace. For example, if you are going to play basketball, jog a bit up and down the court and move side to side in long strides. Stretch your legs up and jump a few times toward the rim for good measure.
  • Extra exercise. Nothing is better for preventing injuries than exercising more frequently. If you only workout one day per week, your risk for injury is much higher. You get double the benefits: better conditioning and better health!
  • Spotting fatigue. You are most vulnerable in the very beginning when your muscles are still cold and toward the end when you are fatigued. To prevent injuries when you start, warm up. To prevent them towards the end, simply stop when you’ve had enough; going that extra mile is good, but going an extra 5 miles is asking for trouble. Recognize when you’ve reached your limit and don’t strain yourself.

Preventing the most common sports injuries for weekend exercisers comes down to betting conditioning, proper warm up routines, and recognizing when you’ve reached your limit. The issue with injuries is once you get it the first time, it becomes easier to injure that same body part again. Regular trips to the physiotherapist are the best way to stay in peak form, relieve pain, and be healthier. Don’t ever stop getting the exercise you need!

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