Six Ways to Prevent Common Injuries
By Lindsey Grossman
Article originally appeared in Thrive magazine
Autumn means pumpkin spice, vibrant foliage and a fresh season for favorite outdoor pastimes, but touchdowns and trail switchbacks can have their setbacks. At this time of year, Director of St. Mary’s Center for Physical Rehabilitation, Dawn Gilbert, PT, MSM, said that her team sees a lot of sports-related injuries, specifically ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries in young female soccer athletes, a variety of musculoskeletal football injuries and concussions. Whether you’re playing a sport for the first time, conditioning for the start of a new season or activity or tackling a tough hike to get a bird’s eye view of fall foliage, Gilbert’s tips for preventing injuries will help keep you safe and healthy this fall.
- Stretch, and stretch some more. A good stretching regimen both before and after any activity is key. “Sometimes the older we get, the longer we should take to stretch.”
- Condition properly. Preparing for the activity with exercises that target the right muscles will help prevent some significant injuries. For students, athletic trainers can help direct athletes toward exercises appropriate for a specific sport.
- Ease into it. “If you’ve never biked or haven’t biked in months, you don’t want to go out and bike 30 miles. Or, if you’re not an avid hiker and you have had a relatively sedentary lifestyle, you don’t want to head straight to Mount Katahdin.”
- Safety first! Appropriate safety equipment like helmets, pads and footwear combined with proper technique can often help protect you from an injury.
- Hydrate. “The fall tends to be cooler, but it still can get hot, so proper hydration is very important.”
- Talk to your doc. Make sure you’re medically safe to participate in strenuous activity. If you have a preexisting condition, consult your doctor before trying a new activity. “If you have high blood pressure and you’re going to start hiking, it might be good to get some instruction from your primary care physician beforehand.”
If you do get injured, St. Mary’s Center for Physical Rehabilitation can help. In most cases, patients are first evaluated by a primary care or specialty provider. With the provider’s evaluation and referral, the Rehab team is able to conduct an evaluation, assessing balance, looking at strength and range of motion, medical history and then work with the patient to devise a plan for rehabilitation and recovery.
To make an appointment with St. Mary’s Orthopedics, call 207.333.4710, or visit stmarysortho.com.