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Don't Let A Summer Sports Injury Keep You "Out Of The Game"; See A Physical Therapist
By Daniel Higgins, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC

Dan Higgins

With summer just around the corner, many people will be heading outdoors for sports and exercise. It is important to be prepared to handle injuries related to your exercise/sport activities. As with all sports, summer sports have their own set of unique injuries.

Common injuries sustained during summer sports are overuse injuries which typically occur from increasing the intensity of an activity or sport too quickly. In general, people are less active during the winter; then as the weather improves and the days lengthen, activity levels are increased. When a new activity is begun or a change in activity occurs, there is always potential for injury. These injuries tend to present themselves as muscle strains and overuse injuries.

A proper warm up and cool down may help to prevent some of these injuries. Baseball and softball players are susceptible to overuse injuries of the shoulder and elbow. Coaches, trainers, and parents should be aware of the increased risk, and athletes should follow a well-adapted, progressive throwing schedule. Overuse injuries of the lower extremities are also common in runners who increase mileage while training for 5k's and marathons.

Traumatic injuries such as sprains, fractures, dislocations, contusions and abrasions can also occur. These injuries can be related to sports participation, but also can occur during recreational activities such as biking, hiking, swimming, and skateboarding.

Don't let a summer injury "keep you out of the game". If you experience pain or injury from a summer activity, seek professional help. Evidence suggests that the sooner an injury is treated, the quicker the recovery. Pennsylvania direct access law allows you to seek help from a physical therapist for common sports related injuries (or any neuromusculoskeletal problem) without a prescription from your doctor. Summer time is a great time to get outdoors, but there is potential for injury. So have fun and stay safe during summer sports. Remember to always warm up and cool down, gradually increase your participation, stay well hydrated and cool to prevent heat related illness, and seek the professional help of a physical therapist when needed.

Dan Higgins, a Physical Therapist with a certification in Orthopedics at OSPTA in Elizabeth, PA, can be reached at dhiggins@OSPTAinc.com or (412) 751-0040. For more information, visit www.osptainc.com.

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