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While on the playing field, most athletes live in “the here and now.” It is easy to get carried away by the heat of the moment and play through pain to achieve a short-term goal without thinking about the long-term consequences to your health. However, where the “no pain, no gain” philosophy fails is it often leads to overexertion to the point of seriously injuring yourself.

Here are a few tips for preventing overuse injury:

Warm-up: Before participating in your sport or any physical activity, do some light range-of-motion exercises and stretching. Well-warmed up muscles and limber joints are less likely to get injured.

  • Pace yourself: Don’t go all out with every game or try to lift the heaviest amount of weight possible when at the gym. Steadily working at 80-90% of maximum effort will allow you to steadily and safely improve your strength and endurance.
  • Concentrate on Perfecting Your Form: Improperly swinging a golf club or throwing a baseball repeatedly will likely overload your joints and tendons leading to injury. When you find your form starting to falter, it’s time to stop your session.
  • Mix Up Your Routine: If you are unable to make progress with your fitness training or game, try substituting new exercises or training techniques. This may bring different muscle groups into play while taking the pressure off your overworked muscles.
  • The Importance of Rest: The increased amount of blood pumped up into your muscles during exercise makes them appear to grow before your very eyes, but that’s not true. Your muscles are torn down during activity and actual growth occurs on your rest days. If you are constantly feeling tired, scheduling an extra rest day may help improve your performance.

There is no question that participation in sport inculcates important virtues such as discipline, courage, and perseverance that can add great value to life, but discretion is the better part of valor. The tips listed above will help you achieve your sports & fitness goals while minimizing risk of injury.

The physicians at Carrell Clinic are committed to providing the highest standards of excellence in orthopedic care.  Click here to schedule an appointment.