Avoiding Weekend Warrior Sports Injuries in Florida

While anyone can be injured during physical activity, people who engage in strenuous activities on the weekend or holidays (but are not active during the week) can be more prone to certain kinds of injuries such as ruptured Achilles tendons, lateral epicondylitis (commonly known as tennis elbow), sprained ankles, shin splints, groin pulls, ACL tears and other knee injuries.

Sprains, which are really injuries to connective ligaments where the bone is connected to the joint, can be quite serious and may need surgical intervention. Pushing these tough, connective fibers past their normal range can deform or even tear them. While they can be painful reminders of overdoing it, they can also be one of the easiest injuries to avoid.

Tip # 1 – Start Your Body Like You would a Cold Engine

Think of the tendons and ligaments in your body as an engine that needs to be warmed up, or loosened before beginning vigorous physical activity. Just as running a car engine gets oil to all of the engine parts, warming up gently creates better blood flow and makes it less likely that you will come away with a sprain.

The best warm ups are actually done weeks ahead of your sports activities. In other words, try to take a few minutes each day to stretch and tone during the week. Simply adding a few stretching exercises to your daily routine can help lessen your chances of a painful or debilitating sports injury on the weekends.

Tip # 2 – Quit While You Are Ahead

If you are engaging in weekend sports activities and you feel that you have overextended yourself, the best plan of action is not to “tough it out” or “rub some dirt on it” and keep playing. Instead, understand that pushing past normal limits dramatically increases your chances of an injury. Simply put, fatigue and strain removes the protective mechanism your body relies upon to prevent injuries. It is better to protect yourself than win a game that may cause an injury severe enough to require surgical intervention.

If you feel your body slipping, stop immediately. Follow the R.I.C.E. protocol that professional athletes use. Help your body heal with proper rest, ice, compression, and by elevating the affected area.

Tip# 4 – Know When to See a Doctor

If you have an injury with significant pain, swelling, visible bruising or joint locking, deformity or instability, contact your doctor immediately. This is especially true of back and neck injuries. If you have signs of numbness, weakness or pain that runs up and down an arm or leg, don’t delay getting the treatment you need.

Weekend and holiday sports activities can be a fun way to stay in shape. Just remember that you only get one body, and taking care of it just makes sense. If you do incur an injury, on the weekend or even off the field, we are here to help.

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