Spring sports are in full swing and warming temperatures are inspiring us to be more active. That makes it the perfect time to learn how to avoid sports injuries.
To give you a leg up on how to prevent such injuries and what to do if you are injured, Griffin Hospital will host “Overuse Injuries,” a discussion with Orthopedist and Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. Jeffrey Klauser about how playing sports and overexertion during exercise can damage ankles, knees and hips. The talk is on Tuesday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the hospital’s Meditation and Learning Center at 130 Division Street. To register or for more information, call 203.732.1511 or click here.
Dr. Klauser will explain the difference between acute injuries, which are the result of a traumatic event such as an ankle sprains and shoulder dislocations, and overuse injuries, which are more subtle and occur over time such as tennis elbow, runner’s knee and shin splints. Understanding these injuries, their causes and symptoms can help you and your family exercise, compete and play safely.
Overuse Injuries and What Causes Them
Overuse, or chronic, injuries are the most common form of injury for athletes and those who exercise. They can happen to any type of muscle or joint and are usually caused by repetitive trauma.
These injuries often result from training errors when we take on too much physical activity too quickly, or through mistakes in technique when our form, such as when lifting weights or throwing a baseball, puts too much burden on a certain muscle or joint.
How to Avoid Overuse Injuries
The best prevention against overuse injuries is to first check with your physician to ensure that your body is ready for strenuous activity, especially if you have a medical condition or are older. Parents of young athletes must also be vigilant of overuse injuries in order to avoid serious damage to their child’s joints.
Once you are cleared to play a sport or to exercise, you should:
- Learn proper technique and have the proper gear, including footwear that can appropriately absorb shock and is not too worn.
- Start with a slow and steady pace. Don’t cram your entire workout all into one day. Space it throughout the week and always leave time for warm up and cool down.
- Increase your intensity or duration gradually, especially with weight training.
- Use a variety of workouts. This allows your body to use different muscle groups to avoid repetitive strain while allowing other muscle groups to rest or not be the focus of the workout.
If you believe you have an overuse injury, talk with your physician. You will probably be asked to refrain from the exercise or sport that caused the injury and might be prescribed medication to help with pain or swelling. Your physician might be able to help you assess the cause of your injury, so make sure to talk about any changes you’ve made in your exercise routine, including technique, duration and intensity.
When you think the injury has healed, consult with your doctor to make sure you've regained appropriate strength, motion, flexibility and balance. Be sure to pay special attention to proper technique to avoid future injuries when you are given physician approval to restart your exercise.
Learn more about sports and overuse injuries with Dr. Klauser at “Overuse Injuries” on April 23. To register or for more information, call 203.732.1511 or click here. You can find out about upcoming Tuesday Talks and events at Griffin Hospital at griffinhealth.org/ProgramsEvents.
About Tuesday Talks
“Overuse Injuries” is part of Griffin Hospital's Healthy U “Tuesday Talks,” a series of free wellness talks featuring Griffin Hospital medical experts and community partners providing trusted health information and answers to questions on a wide range of topics.