Play it safe when participating in sports to make sure you don't injure yourself.
There's no better way for kids (or their parents) to get exercise than to get involved in a sport they love. Between practices and games, you're able to meet guidelines for regular physical activity, without it feeling like a chore.
The last thing you want is to get sidelined with an injury. It's important to keep yourself and the young athletes in your family safe. Here are five ways you can protect yourself from a sports injury:
- Avoid too much, too soon: Most common sports injuries occur because the body is pushed past its limits before it's ready. Any workout should intensify gradually in both time and difficulty.
- Take time off: Schedule at least one day off a week from your sport of choice to give your body time to rest, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
- Wear protective gear: Make sure you or your child have the correct gear needed for the sport and that it fits well. Protective gear can be expensive, but you never know what happened to that second-hand helmet.
- Warm up and cool down: Don't plunge into a game without a warmup. Stretching or light jogging can minimize the chance of muscle strain or injury and make you more flexible, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Cool-downs will prevent soreness and loosen tight muscles.
- Take a lesson: Correct techniques can make all the difference and prevent that swollen knee or golfer’s elbow. It’s always worth to check if your or your child’s coach is trained in first aid, too.
If an injury should occur, stop playing immediately and treat the injured area with RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Do not hesitate to get help if the injury does not improve. You should call your doctor immediately if your injury causes severe pain, you cannot put weight on it or the joint feels unstable.
At Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, we are equipped to help you or your child recover from sports injuries. You can read more of our suggestions for treating minor injuries as well as major ones here, and how we can help your rehabilitation. If you have questions about sports injuries or rehabilitation, please contact Consult-a-Nurse at 1-800-382-3522 for health information and free physician referrals.