Eight Ways to Avoid a Sports Injury


Nothing can ruin a sports season or a good exercise streak quite like an injury. AGH orthopedic surgeon Josh Natali, D.O., recommends these tips to stay off the sidelines:

  1. Don’t play through pain. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Don’t ignore it.

  2. Be sure to warm up. A warm-up prepares your muscles for activity. Failing to warm up can increase the risk for knee injuries, shin splints, and other problems.

  3. Use the right safety gear. If your sport uses safety gear, wear it. Make sure everything fits properly and isn’t too worn out.

  4. Toss those old, worn-out shoes. If you run regularly, buy new running or training shoes every three to five months so that your shoes have the proper cushion and support.

  5. Don’t eat too little. Some sports, such as gymnastics, encourage a lean physique. This can pressure athletes to eat very little or overexercise to burn more calories. Restricting what you eat can hurt your athletic performance and cause various problems such as muscle fatigue, dehydration, and kidney damage. Women may stop menstruating and suffer bone loss.

  6. Use proper technique. Performing the movements of your sport correctly can help prevent injury.

  7. Get some rest. Take at least one day off every week to allow your body to rest and recover. After a hard training day, choose an easy training day. Over time, failing to give your body adequate time to repair itself can cause overuse injuries.

  8. Don’t push it. Respect your body’s limits. Doing activity when your body isn’t prepared can cause injuries. Build up your activity level slowly over time.
Sidelined with a sports injury? Dr. Natali treats athletes of all ages and abilities at Allegan Medical Clinic’s Allegan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center. Learn more or request an appointment at allegangeneral.org/orthopedics.

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