Strategies for the family to stay injury-free this summer

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4Utah) – Summer is the time when many of us become more active as we get outside to enjoy the nicer weather. There are steps people can take to avoid injuries that can come from increased activity, according to Andy Mohr, a physical therapist at Intermountain TOSH in Murray. There are also many ways to treat common injuries that occur including sore knees or back pain. 

According to National Health Statistics Reports about half of all injuries from recreation or sports end up at a doctor’s office. Following these steps, Mohr said, can hopefully avoid a visit to a medical professional.

Avoiding Summer Issues

  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day. Staying hydrated can help ensure your body stays cooler 
  • Try to plan workouts and activities during cooler parts of the day. Exerting yourself in the heat can raise your core temperature.
  • Exercising outside during the heat is safe but be sure to find a cool spot afterwards. Staying in the heat can cause inflammation and swelling to become worse. 
  • Workouts in the heat can lead to cramping. If you start to feel symptoms be sure to find a place to cool off and drink water.
  • Wear the correct type of shoes. While flip flops are a summer favorite, they don’t always give the support your feet need. It can lead to injuries or exacerbate other problems depending on the activity. 

Importance of Stretching

Stretching is an important part of injury prevention but there are several misconceptions about what to do and when. 

Dynamic stretching includes swinging legs back and forth, doing range of motion such as swinging your arms in circles. These stretches should be brief, not too intense, and done before physical activity.

Static stretching includes stretches such as hamstrings, arms, and quads, and should be done for 20-30 seconds. These stretches should be done after workouts when people are already warm.

  • Identify problem areas and where you may not be as flexible and work on that when stretching.  
  • Know your fitness level and ease into physical activities. Experts say one of the biggest mistakes people make is going too hard too fast after a winter of reduced activity level.
  • Wear protective equipment. When doing sports and other activities wear a helmet when necessary, use a mouth guard, and a brace if directed by your doctor.

Treating Injuries

Even with stretching people can still experience pain from ailments or injuries that occur while being active.

Let yourself heal from past injuries. Not letting an injury properly heal after a strain can lead to re-injuring. Even though it might feel better, A rolled ankle can often be less stable.

Think about switching up your activity. For example, if you have sore knees –  a pool, bicycle, or walking workout will let you stay active without the impact on your knees.

The key to helping soreness or joint pain is to keep moving. Completely stopping physical activity can compound the problem and make it worse. For example, not walking because of inflammation can actually create more inflammation.

Muscle pulls or sprains do require rest as part of the recovery process to heal correctly, but should still have light physical activity that doesn’t cause pain.

Icing score muscles and resting is a great way to treat most types of injuries.

Make sure other muscles stay strong to help take the load off an injured part of the body. For example, core, hip, and back muscles can have an influence on knees and shoulders.

For more information on Intermountain Healthcare’s Physical Therapy programs visit our website or call TOSH Physical Therapy Program 801-314-4040. 

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