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Don’t Be Sidelined by a Sports Injury

While some sports injuries occur from unavoidable accidents, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that many injuries are preventable and result from insufficient warm-ups and stretching, as well as improper equipment use.

Ensuring your body is ready for physical activity is an essential element of injury prevention.

“Neglecting to stretch or warm up before you play a sport or exercise can lead to unnecessary injuries,” says William Vandiver, M.D., orthopedist on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman. “If you
do get injured, never continue playing or exercising through the pain. You’ll only cause more harm.”

Common sports-related injuries cited by the NIH include:

• achilles tendon injuries

• dislocations

• fractures

• knee injuries

• shin splints

• sprains and strains

• swollen, sore muscles

You can help reduce your risk for injury by always warming up and stretching before vigorous activity, wearing appropriate shoes that fit properly and cooling down and stretching after physical activity. Know your body’s limitations and don’t ignore pain, swelling or cuts — treat injuries accordingly or seek professional help.

“If you haven’t exercised or played a sport in a while, have a physical examination to determine your body’s strength and ability,” says Dr. Vandiver. “This is especially important for weekend warriors. Remember to start slowly and build up to your desired endurance and strength levels. This may mean sitting out during the first few games of your company’s softball season, but you’ll reduce your risk of serious injury.”

To find a Texas Heath physician, call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355) or visit

(Spring 2010)

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