How To Prevent Sports Injuries | IMPACT Physical Therapy

How To Prevent Sports Injuries

two men playing basketball on an outdoor court

Whether you practice a demanding activity like CrossFit or you want to continue your sport injury-free for as long as possible, learning as much as you can about how to prevent sports injuries is key.

Why is Injury Prevention Important in Sports?

There are lots of reasons why injury prevention is important in sports. Not only can sports injuries be costly to treat, but they may require a long recovery that sets you back significantly in terms of fitness level and skill development. The good news is that you don’t need to do much to significantly reduce the likelihood of an injury—so it’s definitely worth your time to explore the most effective sports injury prevention techniques. Get the details in this guide from IMPACT Physical Therapy.

Common Sports Injuries

With proper sports injury prevention, you can avoid or reduce the severity of common sports injuries like:

  • Muscle sprains and injuries
  • Tendon strains
  • Knee, shoulder, and ankle joint injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Joint dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Sports hernias
  • Pain along the shin bone (shin splints)

Sports Injury Prevention 101

Many sports injuries can be prevented entirely by taking just a few basic precautions. Before engaging in a new activity, be sure to get the all-clear from your doctor. Here’s what you should know about how to prevent sports injuries once you get started:

  • Make sure that your sport itself isn’t your only physical activity. Create a well-rounded fitness plan that includes a balance of strength training, cardio, and flexibility training.
  • Use well-fitting gear and protective equipment designed for your sport. Improper footwear or ill-fitting protective gear raises the risk of injury.
  • Learn the proper techniques to play your sport. Proper training ensures that you don’t build bad habits that can lead to injury.
  • Stretch before working out. Stretching gets your muscles ready to contract and perform strenuous activity. Start each stretch slowly and proceed to a point where you feel tension, but not pain. Hold each stretch for up to 20 seconds.
  • Hydrate! Drink water throughout your workout to prevent dehydration. If you’re outdoors in hot weather, hydration is key for preventing heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
  • Make time for a proper cool-down. Rather than going directly from working out to sitting still, end your workout with lighter activities and stretching. As a general rule, your cool-down should take twice as long as your warmup.
  • Allow adequate time to recover between workouts. Consider setting a schedule that works out different muscle groups each day, or exercising every other day.
  • Don’t push yourself to work out when you’re tired, sick, or injured. It’s always best to rest when you need to!
  • Perform strength training exercises properly. Make sure you move through the full range of motion with each repetition.
  • Rehabilitate injuries before returning to your sport. Returning too soon raises the risk of reinjury or of sustaining a new injury.

Learn More About Sports Injury Prevention and Physical Therapy

Questions about the importance of injury prevention in sports, or how physical therapy can help with rehabilitation? We can tell you everything you need to know about sports injury prevention techniques when you visit an IMPACT Physical Therapy clinic near you! You can find us in Hinsdale, Oak Lawn, Orland Park, downtown Chicago, and Champaign Urbana.