Preventing Summer Injuries

Summer Injury Prevention:
Slow and Steady Makes it to September

by Nicole Vulcan

Summer is here – in all its hot, sunny, motorcycle-roaring glory. Summertime seems to be the season for going all-out on the bike, on the water, or with other outdoor activities.

Unfortunately, there’s also the danger of going a little bit too all-out – and if you’re not careful, it could result in an injury that sidelines you for the rest of the summer.

So to ensure you get your full dose of outdoor fun, we sought advice from local experts about how to prevent some of the season’s most common injuries.

The most common summertime aches and pains

“The most common summertime injuries we see are sprains, strains, and overuse injuries such as tendinitis. They tend to occur because of jumping into an activity without properly preparing the body; either because the activity is new or has not been done in several months (since last summer) or because the motion is repeated many times,” says Sarah Pettyjohn, DPT, of Sundog Rehabilitation.

The treacherous tomato: Another type of summer injury

“Gardening and yard work is an activity that people are often surprised when they develop pain from this activity,” says Brandie Rainboth, DPT, OCS, of Black Hills Physical Therapy. “I often see low back pain following a long weekend of yard work, pulling weeds and gardening. Often people are not active during the winter and then spend long hours in [the] yard, often working in positions that put lots of stress on [the] low[er] back.”

The long-term effects

“Ankle sprains are a good example of how one small injury often leads to multiple small injuries and can become a big problem over time if not treated, so many people will try wearing an ankle brace to stabilize the ankle. That works while the brace is on, however does not address the underlying issue,” says Pettyjohn.

“Overuse activity can lead to tendon break down (tendonosis) and chronic pain if not properly treated,” suggests Rainboth. “Underuse puts you at risk not only cardiovascularly, but also can lead to weakness and lack of flexibility that can lead to pain with even simple daily tasks. When you have weakness or lack of flexibility this can put increased stress onto joints, muscles and tendons, leading to injury.”

How to prevent overuse or overtraining injuries

The solution to preventing a sidelining this summer: Start slow, and rest often.

“If you are not active during the winter, a great way to prepare for summer activities is to begin a daily walking routine,” suggests Rainboth. “A general rule for everyone to follow is pace yourself, make sure you are not increasing your activity too quickly, this will increase your risk for overuse injuries. Make sure you have good positioning when you are active, whether it is good positioning on your bike, good running form or good body position when pulling weeds to not risk injuring your back.”

If you’re already injured, get some help.

Chances are you’re already knee-deep in summertime activities – so if you’ve already fallen victim to injury, get help to prevent chronic pain. Stretching and strengthening your muscles is always good prevention, says Pettyjohn.

“I also teach my patients what they need to do the warm up and get their bodies ready for the activity they are going to be doing, and teach stretching techniques to address any tight areas contributing to the problem,” says Pettyjohn.

Here’s to the abundance of summer – now go out and enjoy it... slow and steady...

Don’t forget the kids: The Little Ones’ Summer Prevention Tips

Kids have their own set of summer injuries – so here are a few things to keep in mind, courtesy of Christine Stephenson, PT, DPT, of LifeScape.

Wear a helmet for every sport that involves wheels. “Parents need helmets, too… to protect themselves AND to set a good example,” says Stephenson.

Wear good shoes. “Flip-flops are great for the pool and beach, but they don’t offer a lot of support at the park or on the court. Good stability from a tennis shoe or a hiking sandal like Keens will help prevent foot pain and twisted ankles.”

Rethink the trampoline. “The American Academy of Pediatrics states that trampolines should only be used in a supervised setting in gymnastics and not for recreational use,” Stephenson says. “If you already have a trampoline, make a rule that only one person can jump at a time, and only when an adult is supervising.”

Sundog Rehabilitation

Black Hills Urgent Care

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