With summer fast approaching, excitement is in the warming air. This is the time of year when people are itching to get outside and get active. Whether through sports, summer camps or just hitting the playground, kids and adults are increasing activity levels. But don’t get sidelined with an injury before the season gets underway.
An increase in physical activity also means an increase in injuries, especially orthopaedic injuries. Visits to urgent care and emergency rooms tend to spike as people are spending more time outside, engaging in athletic activities. You can help prevent the most common summer sports injuries by following some simple tips.
Top Ten Tips for Summer Sports Safety
- Hydration: Make sure you are drinking plenty of liquids. Water is great but it is also good to take in fluids that contain electrolytes.
- Wear a helmet: Helmets aren’t just for contact sports. If you are riding a bike, scoot, roller blades or a hover board, make sure to protect your head with a helmet.
- Wear gear that fits: It might seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people wear protective gear that does not fit properly. Gear that is too big or too small may not adequately protect your body in a collision or a fall.
- Sun Safety: Pads and helmets are great for protecting your bones but what about your skin? Be sure to apply sunscreen all over and to reapply every few hours.
- Know your limits: While playing sports in the heat of summer, your body is more prone to fatigue easily. Be sure to take breaks and listen to your body. This might mean cutting a practice short or sitting out more than normal.
- Check playground equipment: Do not trust that all playground structures are safe. Faulty equipment as well as structures that are not age appropriate can be an issue. Cruise the playground for a safety check before letting your kids loose.
- Swimming safety: There are many safety concerns if you plan to swim or your kids plan to swim this summer. Make sure a lifeguard is on duty, wear a life vest if needed and never leave children unattended near the water.
- Stretch: No matter what sport or physical activity you enjoy during the summer months, be sure to properly stretch, warm up and cool down.
- Know when to stop: If you start to feel pain during an activity, STOP! What might start as a small injury, strain or sprain could get worse if you push yourself. If you experience pain that worsens or does not get better, seek an evaluation by a doctor.
- Proper footwear: What you put on your feet is very important, especially during the summer. Do not wear sandals or attempt to go barefoot if you plan to exercise or engage in a sport.
Don’t let an injury slow down your summer fun! Take precaution and avoid preventable injuries so you and your family can get the most out of this fun time of year. As always, if you do sustain an injury, be sure to see a qualified physician such as an orthopaedic surgeon.