Sports are the great American past time, but every year, almost four million sports-related injuries are reported by doctors and hospital emergency rooms. 30 million people play sports in America, so there are bound to be some sports injuries. Sports medicine practitioners offer some helpful hints to avoid these sports injuries, but for many adults, especially those approaching retirement age who are still actively participating in sports, a visit to an orthopedic surgeon does become necessary at some point.
Stay hydrated. Sports medicine doctors and orthopedic surgeons alike comment frequently on the number of injuries sustained while dehydrated. They recommend doubling your water intake while playing sports: sports drinks are considered very effective, as long as they are not too high in sugar. Playing while dehydrated can lead to fainting, muscle tear, injuries and poor depth perception, all of which can necessitate a visit to an orthopedic surgeon.
Make sure to warm up and cool down. Yoga has become popular among American football and baseball players as a way to tenderize knee ligaments and elbow joints before a long workout session. Many middle and high schools are also teaching elementary dance techniques as a way to strengthen muscles and enhance flexibility. Not only are they reporting fewer sports injuries, but the rates of arthroscopic knee surgery have decreased significantly as well.
Know the game, know your limits. The number of adults over 65 who are involved in weekly sports activities has quadrupled in the last decade. Experts recommend shorter bursts of aerobic activity punctuated with rest: a good rule of thumb is to rest ten minutes for every 15 minutes of play. Working out twice or three times a week, even at a moderate pace, can make a profound difference in heart health, cholesterol and overall feelings of well-being.
If you’re injured, consult a physician or orthopedic surgeon. Orthopaedics is simply the branch of medicine that can correct broken or injured bones and muscles. Ligaments can be repaired by surgery, and procedures like acl repair and acl reconstruction are becoming more routine. A lifetime of football or ultimate frisbee may take its toll, but orthopedic surgeons are highly trained, very compassionate and can make professional referrals for follow-up physical therapy.
There is no reason to stop playing sports due to age! When we live to play, all injuries can do is temporarily slow us down.