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Summertime Sports Injuries: Prevention and Treatment

As the weather warms up, many people are eager to get outside and be active after the long winter months. Popular summer activities like running, golfing, hiking, swimming and tennis are all great ways to stay fit and enjoy the sunshine. However, jumping back into physical activity after a period of being more sedentary can lead to an uptick in sports-related injuries.

Some of the most common summer sports injuries include:

  • Back pain

  • Knee injuries like runner's knee or torn ligaments/cartilage

  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Rotator cuff strains and tears

  • Ankle sprains

  • Muscle strains, especially hamstrings and hip flexors

While some injuries result from accidents, many are caused by overuse, improper form/technique, or not properly warming up and stretching. It's important to ease into new activities gradually rather than going from zero to 100. Cross-training with low-impact activities like swimming is also helpful for injury prevention.

If you do find yourself sidelined with a sports injury, the first step is to stop the aggravating activity to prevent further damage. The old RICE method - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation - can help reduce pain and swelling in the first 24-72 hours after an acute injury, but ONLY if pain and swelling are present.  Other conditions are more properly addressed by using heat to increase blood flow, active exercise to speed recovery versus rest and forgetting all about elevation of the affected limb which is to decrease blood flow.  .

For ongoing issues, it's best to see a sports medicine professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and customized treatment plan. Depending on the specific injury, effective therapies may include:

  • Professional assisted stretching to improve flexibility and range of motion

  • Active Release Techniques (ART) to break up scar tissue and adhesions

  • ARP Wade Therapy to stimulate healing

  • Kinesiology taping for muscular support

  • Corrective exercises to address muscle imbalances and form issues

A therapist or athletic trainer can also advise you on modifying activities as you recover. For example, runners may need to decrease mileage or stick to softer surfaces like grass or dirt trails. Golfers can work on their swing mechanics. Proper sports equipment like supportive shoes and braces can help as well.

The key is to be patient with the healing process. Trying to return to sports too quickly often leads to re-injury and prolongs recovery. A good rule of thumb is to wait until you're pain-free and can perform the activity at a lower intensity without symptoms before resuming your normal routine.

Therapist working on a persons legs with Kinesiology tape on the calf

If you find yourself with a nagging sports injury that's preventing you from fully enjoying your summer, reach out to a clinic like Performance Care Stretch Clinic. Their team can perform a thorough evaluation and create a personalized strengthening and stretching plan to get you safely back to the activities you love. With some practical prevention strategies and appropriate treatment interventions, you can make this an active, injury-free summer.


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