Top 3 sporting injuries and how to prevent them

Playing sport comes with a risk of having an injury, regardless of the sport. These are the top 3 sporting injuries I see most often. 

Sprained ankles

Whether you play soccer, football, basketball or cricket, there is a chance of you spraining your ankle. This is not only because of the sport that involves running, cutting or jumping but sometimes the environment in which they play on and the footwear athletes use that increases the risk of injury. E.g. in cricket, if the ground that you’re playing on is not maintained as well as the MCG, then the chance of playing on uneven ground where there are some potholes, is quite likely. All you need to do is focus on another task and land your foot into that pothole to potentially get a sprained ankle (or worse).

How do you prevent ankle sprains?

There are 2 ways that can lower the risk

  1. Tape or brace your ankles!
  2. Add in some balance single leg exercises into your normal exercise routine!

Hamstring strains

Hamstring strains are very common in running based sports. How common is it to get to your game late, due to “traffic” (of course), chuck on your uniform and get straight on the field. 5 minutes later, you’re hobbling back off to the sideline, grabbing your hammy.

Muscles, irrespective of which one you use, requires a warm up and will struggle to be consistent and effective if it were to go from 0 to 100. The hamstring, a major muscle used when running, is no different!

The secret sauce to preventing hamstring strains is to WARM UP! Want to get more fancy, try do some dynamic warm ups that involve multiple muscle groups and are multi-planar in nature (as most sports are). Starting slow and increasing the pace can also be a great principle in warm ups.

Tendinopathies (aka tendinitis)

Tendinopathies involve having pain and/or degenerative changes in the tendon. Some common tendinopathies are in your Achilles, patella and rotator cuff. Due to COVID-19 and the closure of gyms and sporting fields, tendinopathies were extremely common 1-3 months post lockdown laws easing.

Tendinopathies can occur when you have overloaded that tendon, either through disuse and/or overuse. Many gym goers experienced these tendinopathies as they would bench press similar weights pre-lockdown. 

The overarching principle to decrease your risk of tendinopathies is to progressively and slowly overload that tendon. This simply means, if you have taken a break of more than 3-4 weeks, it is better that you come into the activity with less intensity and load. This could be your weights being at 80-90% of what you were previously doing or decreasing the number of reps you do.

TAKE HOMES:

  • Tape your ankles or get a physio to help you with it
  • Warming up is important
  • Tendon’s like a slow build up in load

What changes will YOU make to ensure longevity in your sport?

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