As the warm spring weather coaxes people to lace up their running shoes or break out their baseball gloves, it’s important to take steps to prevent common sports injuries like sprains, strains, dislocations or bone fractures.
“Injuries are part of playing sports,'' says Matthew Hilton, DO, board-certified family medicine and sports medicine physician at Holland Hospital. “But we can do a lot to prevent them.”
A little preparation and prevention can go a long way to help people avoid sports injuries. And when an injury is unavoidable, Holland Hospital Sports Medicine helps people recover and get back to doing the activities they love.
Risks and Long-Term Effects
While every sport has a level of risk for injury, being sedentary is a much greater risk to long-term health. “I’d much rather people be active now and risk sustaining a minor injury than be inactive and suffer from chronic diseases later in life,” said Dr. Hilton.
While more severe injuries can have a permanent effect on a person’s abilities, most sport injuries are relatively minor. With time, proper treatment and rehabilitation, people can make a full recovery and get back to their normal level of activity and performance. In fact, treatment and physical therapy can sometimes improve a person’s performance by addressing the underlying issue that led to the injury.
Preventing Sports Injuries
Generally, sports injuries can be prevented through proper coaching, preparation and protective equipment. Some of the most important steps to take to avoid injuries are:
- Warm up by increasing heart rate and blood flow.
- Gradually increase your level of activity over time.
- Pay attention to proper nutrition and hydration.
Treatment and Recovery
Most sports injuries require rest to heal and recover, but that doesn’t always mean the patient needs to stop being active altogether. “Our job is to keep people going in the safest way possible,” says Dr. Hilton. “Patients need to listen to their bodies and modify their activity to allow for more rest, otherwise they run the risk of a more significant injury with a longer recovery, surgery or permanent damage.”
“Our goal is to listen and understand both their injury and their goals,” said Dr. Hilton. Treatment programs are tailored to help patients achieve their specific goals, whether it's to run a marathon, compete in high-level sports or simply make it up and down the stairs with ease.
Where can I learn more?
Holland Hospital Sports Medicine has an expert team of sports medicine physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers to help people stay active, recover from injuries and perform their best. To learn more about what we do, watch an overview of sports medicine from Dr. Hilton.
For an appointment with one of our sports medicine physicians, Matthew Hilton, MD, or Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD, call (616) 395-2877.