Hydration and Orthopaedic Injury

Hydration is such an important topic as the summer months approach. Young or old, athlete or bystander, staying hydrated is important for many reasons. And when it comes to injury prevention, hydration is one of the best tools you have to stay safe.

Risks of Dehydration

Did you know that your risk for orthopaedic injury actually increases when you are dehydrated? Dehydration can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps. Your muscles tense up during physical activity as the body loses water. Further, much of the water in your body is stored in cartilage and ligaments. As the supply of water decreases due to dehydration, you are more prone to physical injury.

In addition, dehydration often results in fatigue and decreased performance. As your body weakens with the loss of fluids there is an increased likelihood of injuries.

Common Orthopaedic Injuries

When the body becomes dehydrated, there is an increased strain on the muscles and joints. Further, the likelihood of falling or slipping is heightened. Common orthopaedic injuries that can result from dehydration include muscle sprains, tears and bone fractures.

Hydration and Injury Prevention

How can you decrease your risk of orthopaedic injury with proper hydration?

  • Hydrate well before any athletic activity. Do not wait until you start the activity. Drinking at least 20 ounces of water a few hours before activity can help ensure you stay hydrated.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and focus on water.
  • Keep hydrating during and after physical activity.
  • Drink water throughout the day, whether or not you plan to participate in physical activity.
  • Avoid strenuous activity in the extreme heat and remember to take frequent brakes.
  • Listen to your body. If you start to feel weak, dizzy or fatigued, stop activity immediately.

If you do suffer an orthopaedic injury, it is important to consult an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the right treatment options.

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