Prevention of Sports Injuries
With advent of high velocity injuries and collision sports, we have been increasingly seeing patients of ligament and bony injuries around the knee joint. Prevention of these sports injuries is essential part of sports physicians and physical therapists. The most important factor in prevention remains awareness of the athlete regarding importance of following factors in sports:
1. Technique of play
2. Warm Up
3. Cool downs
4. Understanding common injury patterns
5. Prevention of injuries
6. Accessories preventing injury
7. Training for real game
The parts of the training are between the athlete and at various level with their coach, colleagues, physical therapist, orthopedic and Sports physician. The article essentially focuses on the role of the physical therapist and orthopedic/sports specialist in preventing injuries and shaping the right techniques in athletes of all levels and games. The technique of the game may differ in sports but the essential core strengthening and pre/post conditioning remains essentially similar to a large extent. We focus on the same for prevention of injury and loss of game days. Here are a few steps essential for every athlete (especially for the amateur ones!) to prevent minor and major injuries:
Core Strengthening: Core basically involves the use of the Abdominals, upper, middle and lower back and the muscles of pelvis connecting the primary areas. This essentially involves the upper (trapezius, sub occipitals, rhomboids) middle (lattissimus dorsii, errector spinae), Lower back/hip (Gluts, quadriceps, hamstrings) and this maintains the posture of body. Essential exercises are indicated in figures below. Set of 5 exercises with 5 repetitions each to start with can do wonders.
Warm Up: Warm up is essential to relax the muscles which are to be involved in the sport to be played. It basically increases local blood flow and reduces the post-game soreness, in game cramps and injuries. Head to toe stretches increase the resilience of ligaments and tendons long with oxygenating the tissues to undergo the stress. Warm up increases temperature of body and circulation. It also prepares the athlete mentally for the upcoming drill. Specific games require their own warm ups depending on which muscles are more involved. It is advocated that cardio-respiratory exercises like swimming, cycling, and running are the best exercises for endurance games.
Cool Down: Post Game exercises are most neglected and athletes ignore doing a cool down and stretches in the end. It is advocated to undergo cool down to effectively decrease the concentration of metabolites generated during workout in the muscles. This also helps decrease incidence of throbbing aches and dizziness post work-out. The muscle soreness post workout also decreases with stretches and cool down exercises. May include a jog, skipping, stretches and sport specific cool downs of the choice of the athlete.
Strength training: This forms an essential part of every athlete and should be included in curriculum. Strength training focuses on an alternate or a twice a week exercise schedule with weights for training of muscle bulk and maintenance of proper muscle tone. Strength training may involve different core muscles in combination with muscles utilized more in particular with choice of sport. Exercises may vary and different permutation combinations can be made as per choice of training of the coach/athlete.
Rest day: There should always be a space for rest day in every athlete’s schedule. It is focused on increasing the concentration and providing adequate time for body to repair and heal itself. Rest day may be regarded as a No workout day or only dedicated to core strength towards endurance. Stretches and cool down may also form a part of rest day in elite athletes.
Right nutrition: Lot has been said and discussed on the web and literature regarding optimum nutrition of an athlete. The focus should be majorly on trying to have an energy rich diet within half an hour of exercise/training which should consist of half carbohydrate and half protein source. The importance of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and different forms of protein (Whey, Casein, Isolyte, and Concentrate) can’t be understated in athletes. This forms an important part in the reparative process of the body post exercises. It has been proven that diet rich in BCAA and Whey proteins lead to a lesser muscle soreness and post workout fatigue. It is advised for the athletes to not engage in supplements containing steroids as they may have serious consequences. We shall discuss more of types and form of nutrition for different athletes in a subsequent article.
For any help on prevention of specific sports injuries and knowing more on your sport please feel free to meet our global experts in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy. For any rehabilitation and post-surgical queries meet our team of sports physiotherapists under supervised under the best orthopedic surgeons.
Book your appointments at Jyoti Hospital @ +124-2322673; +124-2326673; +91-7210796667; +91-9053267890.
We’ll be happy to help you.