“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
Summer brings us great weather, increased outdoor activities and often more injuries to the musculoskeletal system which includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. In order to negate the severity of these injuries it is important to prepare your body and environment in advance. The following tips may help:
• Warm Up- Perform warm-up exercises before all activities whether you are running, gardening, or playing golf. Integrate dynamic stretches before activities by gently moving your limbs/torso in controlled motions to help warm-up the area.
• Cool Down- Cool down following activities with stretches and walking.
• Wear Appropriate Gear- Wear properly fitting shoes that provide shock absorption and stability. Remember your safety gear.
• Be Kind to your Joints- Use soft exercise surfaces and limit running on hard surfaces like concrete.
• Pace Yourself- Don’t be a “weekend warrior,” packing a week’s worth of activity into a day or two. Try to maintain a moderate level of activity throughout the week.
• Consider your Form- Learn to perform your exercise correctly. Using proper form can reduce your risk of “overuse” injuries such as muscle pulls, tendinitis, and back/neck injuries.
• Accept your Body’s Limits- You may not be able to perform at the same level you did 10 or 20 years ago, but gradually increasing your limits will help your body adapt easier.
• Hydrate- Ensure proper hydration before, after, and during your activity.
• Cross-Train- Strive for a total body workout of cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Cross-training reduces injury while promoting total fitness.
If an injury does occur, seek treatment as soon as possible. Stop the activity immediately and take a body assessment. If the injury site is swollen or hot to the touch, use the R.I.C.E treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) and call a medical professional.
The healing process starts at the time of injury:
At the moment of injury: Chemicals are released from damaged cells, triggering inflammation. Blood vessels at the injury site become dilated and blood flow increases to carry nutrients to the site of tissue damage.
Within hours of injury: White blood cells travel down the bloodstream to the injury where they begin to tear down and remove damaged tissue allowing other specialized cells to start developing scar tissue.
Within days of injury: Scar tissue is formed on the skin or inside the body. The amount of scarring may be proportional to the amount of swelling, inflammation, or bleeding within. In the next few weeks, the damaged area will regain a great deal of strength as scar tissue continues to form.
Within a month of injury: Scar tissue may start to shrink, bringing damaged, torn, or separated tissues back together. However, it may be several months or more before the injury is completely healed.
Unfortunately all injuries cannot be prevented. Our providers are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Our number one goal is an accurate diagnosis and a care plan that focuses on the rehabilitation and reduced reoccurrence of the injury. By having a quick and speedy care plan, you will get back to those activities you enjoy in the shortest time possible.
-Written by Dr. Cole Hosenfeld