As the name suggests, sports injuries are injuries that occur while physically playing or training in a sporting activity. This could also apply to general exercise such as gym, cycling, jogging, walking or even yoga. These types of injuries can affect anyone, regardless of fitness level or age.
With different sports, there are increased risks of certain injuries due contact, instant acceleration, sharp change in direction or to their repetitive nature.
Here are some of the risk factors we typically associate with an increase in sports injuries:
General sports injuries
- There has been a change in the training routine
- There has been a change in footwear or equipment used for the sport
- Poor warm up or cool down
- Poor technique
- Contact Sport (e.g. Rugby)
Adults sports injuries
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of frequent exercise
Child sports injuries
- Immature reflexes
- Growth spurts
- Underdeveloped co-ordination
- More inclined to take risks due to poor risk evaluation
Warm up properly
It is important to stretch your muscles and joints before you start your sporting activity. Warm muscles are more flexible and less likely to overstretch or tear if they are warm.
Overtraining can lead to an increased chance of injury. This happens due to muscles being fatigued and not being able to sufficiently recover in-between sessions. Rest is a vital part of your training regime.
Returning to sport after injury
When returning to sport after an injury, it is important to return gradually. It is better to start slowly and gradually build on this. The accepted norm of increasing your training is to increase your training by 10% per week until you are back to where you want to be.
It is important to fine tune your technique in your chosen sport. Most sport involves repetitive movement, which if not done correctly, can lead to overuse injuries.
Avoid early specialisation in one sport
It has been shown that early specialisation in 1 sport before the age of 16 can be detrimental to the child and cause a large amount of injuries. This is because of the repetitive nature of sport combined with the immaturity of the musculo-skeletal system in people younger than 16. It is far better to take part in a variety of sport so that your body can have a more rounded development of the musculo-skeletal system.
Equipment (shoes, bike set up, protective gear) is vital to injury prevention.
It is important to cool down after your sporting activity. This will usually involve stretching and gentle cool down run (sport dependant).