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How to Avoid Orthopedic Injuries

Abigail Aaronson -- No athlete likes to have his or her training schedule interrupted by a little ache or pain. Whether you're on a varsity team, play professionally, or exercise for pleasure, here are training tips to help you avoid developing serious, long-term injuries.

Nothing frustrates an athlete more than ending up on the sidelines as a result of an injury. Your personal training regimen and performance goals could be easily derailed by shin splints, bursitis or stress fractures caused by overworking or improper training. For the most part, many orthopedic injuries are preventable and can be avoided by proper training and resting when necessary.

Orthopedic specialists say that overuse injuries are more common in sports than acute types. Overuse problems differ from acute injuries in that they are typically not caused by trauma and do not have a sudden onset. Athletes who suffer from an overuse injury experience pain with activity followed by a dull ache when resting. They are caused by stress from repeated motions, improper form or muscle imbalance. Fortunately, these injuries are highly preventable and home remedies are sufficient when they are caught early enough.

Cross training is the best way to prevent overuse injuries caused by muscle imbalances. These problems occur when your training focuses on only a few muscle groups while excluding others. Spend a few days a week doing strength training to make sure that opposing muscle groups are strong enough to support the primary muscle groups involved in your sport. For instance, runners should supplement runs with weight training to strengthen the hamstrings, core and upper body.

Proper training also means safely increasing the frequency, duration or intensity of your workouts. Enthusiastic athletes often make the mistake of working out too frequently or increasing their weekly mileage before their bodies are ready to do so. Avoid this common mistake by sticking to the ten percent rule. Do not increase your activity by more than ten percent each week. Consult with an orthopedic specialist before starting a new sport or increasing your current level of physical activity to learn about ways in which you can safely train.

In addition to incremental increases in your training, you should also make sure that you are using proper form. For example, swinging a golf club or a tennis racket the wrong way for extended periods of time can cause elbow or shoulder issues.

Finally, resting aches or pains before they become serious enough to interrupt your training can keep you active. Orthopedic doctors recommend following the rest, ice, compression and elevation method (RICE) to relieve symptoms and start the healing process. Stopping your activities immediately upon the first onset of feeling pain or the sensation that something is not right is crucial. Knowing your body can be the difference between a minor aggravation and complicated damage. Apply ice immediately to prevent excessive swelling and repeat as needed for up to three days. Compression using an elastic bandage and elevation while resting also decreases swelling. Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs also help with pain and swelling. Follow up with a physician if your condition does not improve after three days.

No athlete likes to have his or her training schedule interrupted by a little ache or pain. If you follow a balanced regimen and stay attuned to your body, you could avoid developing a serious, long-term injury.

Abigail is an experienced healthcare professional who has been writing about health and beauty issues for many years of her life. She loves to inform people about plastic surgery procedures so that people know what they are getting into before they make such a commitment. Have you been put out of your sport due to an injury? Syracuse Orthopedic specialist, Upstate Orthopedics, can help you with your unmanageable injuries. To learn more visit,

© 2015 Abigail Aaronson

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