Injury Prevention Tips from Sports Medicine Specialists in Hackensack

Stay in the Game Longer! Avoid These Common Sports Injuries.

If you’re an athlete—whether you play soccer, tennis, softball, or any other sport—you already know you have to keep hydrated, eat right, and train hard to stay at the top of your game. Moreover, injury prevention techniques, which are too often overlooked by athletes and coaches, can help you maintain your athleticism for longer and protect your muscles, ligaments, and joints from harm. Learning about these techniques from a Hackensack Sports Medicine specialist can not only improve your game but also keep you healthy throughout your entire athletic career.

The Sports Medicine specialists at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute encourage injury prevention education for anyone who exercises frequently, whether on a sports team or individually. The Injury Prevention Program at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute utilizes a team approach that includes input from orthopaedic surgeons, rehabilitation specialists, physical therapists, and other specialists with the purpose of providing excellent care to our sports teams.

Below are five common sports injuries to take note of, as well as specific advice from our Sports Medicine specialists on preventing these conditions.

Five Common Sports Injuries a Hackensack Sports Medicine Specialist Can Treat

  1. Tennis elbow. The pain in the elbow that results from playing tennis or another racquet sport is typically caused by overuse. The tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the outer side of the elbow become inflamed and possibly damaged from repeating the same arm motion. Weakened grip is another associated symptom.

  2. Runner’s knee. This condition is also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome or iliotibial band friction syndrome, referring to the thick tendon stretching from the hip to the knee. When the joint is not aligned or the hip has weakened, the iliotibial band rubs across the outer part of the knee, causing pain and inflammation.

  3. ACL tear. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments that stabilizes the knee. A tear in the ACL may cause the knee to give out and swell, making movement and weight bearing more difficult. Athletes who engage in running, jumping, or pivoting sports are especially vulnerable to an ACL injury.

  4. Ankle sprain. A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament. An ankle sprain ranges from mild to severe, depending on the circumstance of the injury and can happen to anyone, but athletes are chiefly susceptible. Symptoms include swelling, bruising, tenderness, and instability.

  5. Shin splints. This injury is also called medial tibial stress syndrome. The outer lining of the large lower leg bone may become inflamed when repetitive tension and pressure affect that area. The associated pain and soreness worsens during exercise, such as when running or jumping.

Injury Prevention Advice

  • For elbows: If you play tennis or golf, evaluate your swing with a coach or seasoned player to ensure you are implementing the proper technique. Specifically during tennis, avoid using your wrist and elbow more than your upper arm and shoulder; this improper swing can lead to an injury. Also, for any sport involving your arms, shoulders, and elbows, take the time to warm up and gently stretch those surrounding muscles.

  • For knees: Performing knee exercises to strengthen your muscles can reduce pressure on the knee joint; this in turn decreases the likelihood of developing runner’s knee, shin splints, and an ACL tear. Similarly, stretching these muscles keeps them loose and prepares your legs for exercise. Other methods of protecting your knees from injury include maintaining a healthy weight, wearing comfortably-fitted shoes, and building your endurance or exercise-level intensity at a gradual rate.

  • For ankles: Before using the lower half of your body for exercise, stretch your legs and ankles. It is also recommended, if you have weak ankles, to do targeted exercises to improve your balance and strengthen the muscles that surround your ankles.

When it comes to your health as an athlete, don’t wait until it’s too late. For more athletic injury prevention tips, or to schedule an appointment with a Hackensack Sports Medicine specialist, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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