If you’re involved in sports, you’re likely aware of your increased vulnerability to injuries— namely muscle injuries. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should stop playing your favorite sport. All it takes is learning how to play safely, correctly, and efficiently.
At Tri County Orthopedics in Farmington Hills in Michigan, our sports medicine specialists— apart from offering effective treatment for sports injuries—also teach our patients strategies to help effectively minimize their risk of injuries and boost their athletic performance.
Check out these key tips from our sports medicine specialists to help you prevent getting sidelined by muscle injuries and make sure you stay on top of your game.
Make it a habit to warm up and cool down.
Warming up gradually kicks your cardiovascular system into high gear by elevating your body temperature and promoting blood flow to your muscles. This helps prevent muscle soreness, which can affect flexibility. Inflexible muscles get tired quickly, prompting opposing muscle groups to work harder, thereby increasing the risk of muscle fatigue, and consequently, injury.
Cooling down allows your body to restore normal heart rate and blood pressure and helps prevent lactic acid buildup, which causes muscle fatigue and stiffness.
When you feel fatigued, stop.
Learn to recognize the signs that you’ve already left it all on the field. When you start to feel that your muscles are aching and losing strength, take a break. This is a sign of muscle fatigue, which takes away your protective mechanisms and puts you at risk of injuries.
Make sure you get enough vitamin D.
Studies show that vitamin D plays a crucial role in muscle function, particularly electrolyte balance and protein synthesis. Having low levels of vitamin D causes electrolyte imbalance, which leads to premature muscle fatigue and injury, and renders the body unable to synthesize protein, which impedes muscle recovery.
The sun remains the best vitamin D source, although you can also obtain it from many foods and dietary supplements.
Stay adequately hydrated.
Sweating is the body’s way of dissipating excess heat and cooling down during intense physical activity.
Staying hydrated replenishes the water you’ve lost through your sweat. It is essential for allowing your body to maintain its core temperature, thereby preventing muscle cramps and heat exhaustion.
Employ proper technique and body mechanics.
Using proper technique and body mechanics when playing sports, especially those that involve repetitive motion can significantly help you reduce your risk of muscle injury.
It helps to see one of our sports medicine specialists, who can educate you on the proper techniques and sports-specific movements. To learn more about our sports medicine services or to arrange a consultation with one of our sports medicine specialists, call us at (248) 474-5575, or arrange your appointment online.