With four major league sports teams, dozens of high-profile athletic events, and thousands of competitive junior level athletes, Houston has its fair share of sports injuries. For many athletes, Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics is the place to go for sports injury treatment in Houston. Not only are the providers skilled in treating sports injuries; many staff members are athletes themselves.
If you’re an athlete, check out our nine tips for preventing sports injuries.
#1 Keep your physician in the loop. Play it safe and make sure your physician knows about your athletic activities. Always get a sports physical before you start a fresh season. (Many schools and organizations offer very affordable preseason physicals.)
#2 Suit up! Having the right type of sports gear can make all of the difference in preventing an injury. Consult with your coach or physician about the proper protective equipment, such as helmets, pads, mouthpieces, face guards, eyewear, and more. Proper fit is equally important. Runners, did you know that worn-out running shoes are one of the main causes of injury? Change your running shoes every 400 – 600 miles.
#3 Always warm up. Strains and sprains are some of the most common sports injuries. Lessen your risk by stretching and warming up before every run, practice, or event.
#4 Does it hurt? Stop! Playing through an injury is one way to book your visit to a sports clinic the next morning. Don’t do it! Pain is your body’s way of telling you that it needs a break. If you’ve experienced an injury – even a small one – let your physician know. Some minor injuries may worsen without treatment.
#5 Stay hydrated. As any Houston athlete knows, the heat and humidity can be brutal. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and/or sports beverages. Avoid caffeine, soda, and sugary drinks. A good rule of thumb is to drink a couple of glasses one to two hours before your workout; drink about 8 ounces 15 minutes before you begin; and continue to drink 8 ounces every 15 minutes during your workout. Continue to hydrate once you’re finished.
#6 Set goals. When you’re having a great run, you may want to push yourself to go the extra mile. Instead, set reasonable, attainable goals for each training session. This reduces the likelihood of a sports injury.
#7 Take a break. Even world-class athletes take breaks. You should take at least four one-week periods of rest each year from athletic activity.
#8 Find a good trainer. To prevent a sports injury, learn the proper techniques of your sport. Have a coach, trainer, or more experienced friend evaluate your technique and recommend changes. Not only will you become a better athlete, but you’ll reduce your risk of having a sports injury.
#9 Be prepared with first aid. Have a first aid kit on site during practice. In the event of an injury, immediate medical attention could prevent excessive blood loss, lessen scarring, and improve the patient’s chances for a positive outcome. Make sure your coach or exercise partner knows who to notify on your behalf in the event of an injury.
Note: These tips should not be used as a substitute for a medical checkup or physician’s evaluation. Always let your physician know if you have experienced a sports injury that requires medical attention.