Summer is upon us once again, and with that comes a variety of summer sports for kids to participate in. While kid’s sports leagues may or may not be up and running where you live, kids are still going to play summer sports even if it’s just in the back yard.
Even without organized sports kids will be cycling, playing soccer, playing baseball, and swimming. All of these activities have the potential for orthopedic injuries like sprains, overuse injuries, fall injuries, and broken bones. While accidents happen, here are five things you can do to prevent sports injuries this summer.
1. Hydrate and Eat Well
It’s always important to stay hydrated while playing sports, but during the summer when temperatures rise, it becomes even more important. If you’re losing fluid by sweating more than usual, you can become dehydrated more quickly. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, lack of energy, and even fainting. All of those things could contribute to an injury either by distracting you or causing a fall.
You also need to pay attention to feeding your body well so you have the energy to perform. Eating well can also fuel you so you can make your muscles strong and limber. That will help protect you against injury by protecting your bones. Not eating well may also lead to a lack of energy and fatigue-related injuries.
2. Stay Well-Rested
It can be difficult to get enough rest when you’re a busy athlete. This is especially true for kids during the summer that might not have to observe bedtime during the summer. But getting enough sleep is not only important for your overall health, but it can also help you prevent injuries while playing sports. It will prepare you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Rest is important for improving focus and preventing fatigue-related accidents or overuse injuries. To find out how much sleep you should be getting, check out these recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation.
3. Always Warm-Up
Just because the temperatures outside might be high to make you sweaty, that doesn’t mean you can skip warming up before participating in summer sports. Warming up is a ritual that can prepare you for playing sports in several ways. A good warm-up can provide the following:
- Injury prevention
- Mental readiness
- Physical readiness
Physically, warming up properly can increase your blood flow, muscle temperature, and core temperature. A good warm-up can also disrupt temporary connective tissue bonds. All of these things will help prevent injury before, during, and after you play your sport. Mentally, it gets your head in the game and makes you sharp. Being focused and having a clear head can also help you avoid accidents that can cause injuries.
Some good warm-ups include:
- Mobility exercises for the spine
- Change of direction drills
- Dynamic stretching
4. Gear Up
One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent summer sports injuries is to wear the right equipment to protect your body. For baseball, wear the right type of shoes and always wear a helmet while batting. Soccer players should also wear proper footwear and make sure they have shinguards. If you’re cycling, a helmet and other protective pads can help protect you in the event of a fall.
5. Know When To Take A Break
If you are in pain, tired, or know you have an injury, stop playing. Don’t try to play through the pain or tough it out. Playing with an injury can make the injury worse and cause permanent damage. Injuries take time to heal and getting back into the game too soon can have serious consequences and keep you out even longer. Listen to your body and sit out until your pain goes away and you are cleared by a doctor.
6. Seek Medical Attention When Needed
If you do get an orthopedic injury playing summer sports, stop playing and seek medical care from an orthopedic specialist. Signs that you should see the doctor include:
- Pain that lasts more than a few days
- Excessive swelling
- You can’t bear weight on a limb or joint
- Bone or joint deformities
The team at Paris Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is dedicated to helping our patients recover from a wide range of orthopedic conditions and injuries. Our services include general orthopedic medicine, joint replacement, sports injury treatment, and osteoporosis treatments at our bone health clinic. If you’re having trouble with bone loss, call (903) 737-0000 to make an appointment.