Know how to stay safe this season while playing spring sports

Author: Lindsey Ulrich

"Be sure you are warming up with lower-intensity, repetitive activities to increase blood flow and elasticity of your muscles."


Spring is here, and just as nature starts to awaken from winter, your body does too as you head outside and become more active. Playing sports is a great way to live a fun and healthy lifestyle, but injuries can and do happen often.

“Sports injuries tend to vary from minor sprains or bruises to more significant ligament tears or fractures,” said David Pohl, DO, physician at McLaren Mid-Michigan Physicians Family Medicine and Lipidology. “We often see injury patterns related to the specific sport played, and with most sports involving some form of running and/or jumping, we see a lot of lower extremity injuries in our athletes and active patients. Most commonly, the ankles and knees are injured, and for throwing and ball sport athletes, we commonly see injuries to the wrists, shoulders, and elbow.”

It is important to prepare and warm up your body before physical activity. This includes stretching, learning the proper form for the sport or activity you are doing, wearing the proper equipment, and not pushing yourself too hard, too fast.

“Be sure you are warming up with lower-intensity, repetitive activities to increase blood flow and elasticity of your muscles,” explained Dr. Pohl. “Wear protective equipment such as shin guards for soccer or a helmet for bicycling. Especially with outdoor activities, be sure your field or path is relatively safe and free from large potholes or divots.” 

Even with good preparations, injuries can occur. There is a variety of treatment plans depending on how severe the injury is. 

“For minor injuries, like a sprain, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, ice packs, wraps/braces, and keeping the injury elevated can help relieve some of the pain and swelling, and help the injury to heal,” said Dr. Pohl. “For more significant injuries, we might prescribe physical therapy to help regain some of the joint stability and muscle control. Sometimes a fracture would need a cast or potentially surgery to fix it.” 

Sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, and healing can vary based on a number of factors.

“Typically, we would expect a minor sprain to fully heal within two to three weeks, but a more significant sprain could take up to two to three months to fully recover from,” said Dr. Pohl. “Often athletes will be able to return to their sport prior to full healing with the assistance of bracing or supportive taping.”

Specific treatments are dependent on the injury. If you have a concerning injury or pain, talk to your doctor. 

If you are looking for a new primary care physician, Dr. Pohl is currently accepting new patients. To schedule a visit, click here

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