5 best ways to reduce the risk of injury
5 BEST WAYS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF A GAME DAY INJURY
- THE WARM UP – The aim of the warm up is to physically prepare your body for the sport you are going to undertake. We want the muscles primed and ready. A dynamic warm up is the best way to target this. Another aim of the warm up is to increase neuromuscular control. For example, female soccer players have a higher risk of sustaining an ACL injury than their male counterparts, so part of their warm up should include lots of single leg work along with landing, to help reduce this risk (Renstrom et al. 2008).
- STRENGTH WORK – Majority of the strategies used to reduce the risk of game day injuries will need to be completed long before the day of the event. ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. A well structured S & C program can help not only reduce injury risk, but also improve performance. In football, hamstring injuries are quiet common, but studies show teams that implemented eccentric hamstring work (such as Nordics and RDLs) into their program reduced the likelihood of hamstring injuries (Van Der Horst et al. 2015). Each sport and each person will be different, so it is vitally important to maintain your strength work in season to reduce this risk. Again, not just any sort of strength program, it needs to be specific to your sport and your injury history.
- MOBILITY – When combined with strength work, this will have you moving effectively and conservatively. This can be incorporated into the warm up and also day to day, pre and post match.
- SLEEP – Such an important aspect for every athlete, no matter what level you are playing at. Recovery is crucial. Studies have shown that athletes suffering from a lack of sleep (less than 8 hours) are more likely to sustain an injury (Milewski et al 2014). Another study found that in teenagers that got on average 8 hours sleep a night cut their injury risk by 61% (Van Rosen et al. 2016).
- PREVIOUS INJURIES – One of the biggest predictors of a future injury is in fact having a previous injury. Our body is great at adapting when needed and creating different movement patterns (think of having a bad ankle injury and how you move differently after). It is vitally important that we recover fully from previous injuries and that we are moving efficiently as soon as we can after the injury. For example, lets take a runner returning from a right hip injury. If they return to running too early and start favouring their left side when running (putting more force through this leg) then it is likely they will sustain an injury to this left side in the future. This is why it is so important to get your injuries treated.
Fortunately, with the wide range of professions at SYSSM, we can cover everything in the above list, to ensure the best chance to remain injury free and stay at the top of your game.
Renstrom P, Ljungqvist A, Arendt E, et al. Non-contact ACL injuries in female athletes: an International Olympic Committee current concepts statement. Br J Sports Med. 2008;42:394–412. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.048934.
Milewski MD, Skaggs DL, Bishop GA, Pace JL, Ibrahim DA, Wren TA, Barzdukas A Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes.
J Pediatr Orthop. 2014 Mar;34(2):129-33. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000000151.
von Rosen P, Frohm A, Kottorp A, Fridén C, Heijne A. Too little sleep and an unhealthy diet could increase the risk of sustaining a new injury in adolescent elite athletes.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Aug 19. doi: 10.1111/sms.12735.
Van der Horst N, Smits DW, Petersen J, Goedhart EA, Backx FJ The preventive effect of the nordic hamstring exercise on hamstring injuries in amateur soccer players: a randomized controlled trial.
Am J Sports Med. 2015 Jun;43(6):1316-23. doi: 10.1177/0363546515574057. Epub 2015 Mar 20.
Sean is an Irish physiotherapist, who graduated with a Master of Physiotherapy degree from Edinburgh. He also has a degree in Athletic Training, which gave him great exposure to musculoskeletal injuries and rehabilitation in a variety of different sporting settings in both Ireland and the US.