Preventing Spring Sports Injuries

by Trudy Despain
(last updated August 23, 2013)

The statement "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is probably applicable in every faucet of life. If you've ever had to take the time to recover from a spring sports injury, you have likely learned the true value of prevention. A common injury athletes face is overuse injuries caused by repetitive use of a specific joint, muscle or muscle group. While common, this type of injury is usually preventable with targeted stretches and strength training.

In sports like golf and tennis, an athlete repetitively puts demands on specific muscle groups. When muscles are overworked and fatigued, they shorten. Like a domino effect, once a muscle shortens, neighboring muscles have to work harder to compensate, eventually becoming fatigued and shortening. This shortening causes reduced range of motion and increases an athlete's chance of muscle pulls, strains and tears.

The answer to preventing injury from muscle imbalance is basically two-fold. The first is to stretch, stretch and stretch some more to prevent the fatigued muscle from shortening. Static stretching is one of the easiest methods of lengthening muscles. To apply static stretching to a muscle, simply perform a stretch to the furthest point possible and then hold that position for a specified amount of time. One example of a static stretch is a sitting hamstring stretch. Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front, bend at the waste reaching your fingers toward your toes. When you have reached the point that the position is placing slight discomfort on your hamstrings, hold that position for 20 to 30 seconds then slowly roll back up to the upright position. Most importantly, do not bounce when performing static stretches. The stretching and jerking motion may cause shortened, fatigued muscles to spasm or even worse, to tear.

The second ingredient in preventing injury from muscle imbalance is to condition all of the muscles properly so that one muscle or muscle group is not doing greater work than the accompanying or opposing muscle group. The muscles in your body generally serve two purposes: propulsion and control. While one set of muscles is working in one direction, the opposing set of muscles is working to control the movement in that direction. Consider the action required to kick a soccer ball. As one set of muscles is working to propel the leg toward the ball, another set of muscles is working to control the speed of the swing. A problem occurs when one set of muscles develops and strengthens beyond the opposing muscles. The dominant muscles become fatigued or joints surrounding the muscles are injured because the muscles are pulling the joints out of alignment.

Preventing muscle injuries and joint pain can be as simple as a visit to your physical therapist, doctor or personal trainer who can suggest exercises that will strengthen weak muscles and stretches that will lengthen and release tension in fatigued muscles. If you are currently experiencing pain, be sure to contact your doctor before beginning any stretching or strengthening routine to prevent further injury.

Author Bio

Trudy Despain


Home Treatment Options for Rosacea

For those who suffer from rosacea, skin care is of critical. Preventing flare ups and controlling symptoms starts with ...

Discover More

Staying Stress Free

Learning to deal with stress in a positive way will eliminate the negative responses that cause additional stress.

Discover More

Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery can be the miracle that gives new life to people suffering from obesity. Understanding the four ...

Discover More
More Health Tips

Strength Training Programs

A healthy body is achieved by following a simple plan. Use strength training to build core muscles, lose excess weight by ...

Discover More

Exercise Plans

Choosing the right exercise plan means getting to know your body, your goals and your abilities. A well thought out plan ...

Discover More

Exercising while Short on Time

Don't have time to exercise? Think again! There are some things you can do to get those exercises done, even if you are ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)