Warmer, spring weather is quickly approaching, and many individuals and athletes are feeling the urge to get back outside and active after the cold winter we had this year. While getting back in shape is essential, it is important to take it slow and not immediately begin intense exercise, as this can prompt injury. Sports injuries can fall into two categories:
- Acute – sudden injury normally stemming from a traumatic event
- Overuse – injury that slowly develops from repetitive motion
Overuse injuries are common but aren’t always as obvious as acute. Symptoms of overuse injuries can include a nagging pain that you need to modify your form to avoid, that continues to hurt after you stop exercising, or that you need over-the-counter medication to treat daily.
A lot of injuries can be avoided by getting a good warm-up in before you start exercising. A warm-up doesn’t need to be intense, but it should get you’re your heart rate up a little. If you are just beginning a workout routine, start slow until you get comfortable with the exercise. Trying to push yourself too hard too quickly is an easy way to get hurt. As you get stronger, you can slowly push yourself by increasing either your frequency, duration or intensity. It’s best to choose one area to increase per week to minimize your risk of injury. For example, if you’re a runner, you could try speeding up by 10% or run 10% farther.
After each workout, focus on stretching the major muscle groups and ice areas that may experience from overuse. Only stretch after a workout, as stretching before MAY increase your risk of injury. Sports injuries shouldn’t be ignored and should be brought to the attention of your primary care or sports medicine provider. Our community is fortunate, as Cone Health has an exceptional network of sports medicine specialists and other related healthcare providers dedicated to educating athletes and other individuals about injury prevention, as well as providing the treatment they need when injuries are sustained.
Dr. Michael Rigby is a family and sports medicine specialist at LeBauer HealthCare at Horse Pen Creek and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Rigby completed medical school at West Virginia School of osteopathic medicine. He completed his residency at the Cone Health Family Medicine Teaching program and his fellowship at the Cone Health Sports Medicine Fellowship program.