Participating in sport is a great way to keep fit, socialise and reduce health risks associated with being sedentary. And while there is no way to guarantee that you will not get injured playing sport, there are ways you can decrease that risk.
Know Your Body, Know your Sport
The first place to start is to get an idea of the injuries you are prone to and tailor your program towards these. Any previous injuries, movement impairments, as well as knowing the injury profile of the sport(s) you are participating in can help guide which areas to target. For example, you are more likely to see hamstring injuries in hockey or athletics, knee injuries in netball, and shoulder injuries in rugby. Understanding why and how injuries occur in your sport or activity is a key component in preventing them from happening.
Making sure you are fit and ready before the start of the season is a smart way to decrease your injury risk. A pre-season training program, consisting of general strength and conditioning at the start, then moving towards more sport specific strength and conditioning near the end will prepare you for the demands of your activity.
Don’t ignore your body. Picking up on injuries early and modifying training around them will avoid making them worse. Avoid excessive spikes or drops in your training load by building up gradually, and not dropping off from training completely for long periods of time.
Have an Injury Prevention Program
The components of a good injury prevention program should include exercises for: Mobility, Activation, and Movement preparation.
Mobility is necessary to reduce restrictions in ROM. When we participate in sport, we perform functional full body movements. If one of the joints involved in a functional movement are more limited, it causes an imbalance in the chain. To make up for this loss of movement, another area will take up the slack. If this happens repeatedly, the structures in the area that is moving more gets overloaded.
Activation is important to engage all stabiliser muscles, or areas that have been identified as a deficit. This primes those muscles to be used during training. These activation exercises place the most emphasis on technique and quality of movement.
Movement preparation is where mobility and activation come together. This part of the program tends to be more dynamic and can simulate movements that mimic positions you would get into during your sport or activity.
Don’t hesitate to see one of our Physios if you would like tailored advice on injury prevention strategies; or if you have a current injury you would like an assessment on. We are ready and happy to help.