It's tempting to pack your weekends with many outdoor activities after working at a desk all week. If you're planning on bicycling, joining a community sports league, or taking part in a 5K walk/run on the weekends, be aware of your risk for a sports injury.
"Many sports injuries can be prevented," says Marc Schneider, MD, orthopaedic surgeon with The Christ Hospital Physicians. "At least half of the problems we see are reoccurrences of previously untreated issues."
Regular exercise can help prevent an injury
Make exercise a regular part of your lifestyle to lessen your chances of getting hurt on the weekend. Take the dog for a walk, play tag with your kids, or take an evening stroll around your neighborhood.
Making time for exercise every day will keep your muscles conditioned and your joints flexible, helping you perform well in just about any activity you take up.
Warm up to avoid injury
Taking 10 to 15 minutes to warm up before you start your activity can help prevent injury. Performing dynamic stretches, like jumping jacks or running in place, helps warm your body up, increases blood flow to your muscles and increases your heart rate.
How to treat a sports injury
Even if you've warmed up and are used to physical activity, injuries can and do happen. Mild sprains and strains can be treated at home using the PRICE method:
If the injury doesn't improve or gets worse after a couple of days, you may need to see a specialist. Doctors can treat more severe injuries, such as rotator cuff and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, through minimally invasive techniques, which allow for a faster recovery.
"We can repair the injuries with less trauma to the muscle and soft tissue surrounding the joint," Dr. Schneider says.
Orthopaedic surgeons like Dr. Schneider also counsel patients on progressive nonsurgical options to treat soft tissue and tendon injuries.
Dr. Schneider says the key to making a full recovery after any injury is gradually working back into a routine. "Don't overdo it. When you start being active again, slowly build up and take time to rest," says Dr. Schneider.
Learn more about Dr. Schneider.