You can’t go a day off the bike, the river calls your name and your home has become secondary to the mountains. But your shoulders and knees can feel it…
Here are 10 summer sports and the common injuries that could prevent you from enjoying them.
Injury: Knee pain or injuries like patellofemoral pain syndrome or chondromalacia.
Cause: Mostly overuse and basic wear and tear, but can also be caused by trauma, poor alignment of the knee joint and muscle imbalance.
Prevention: Strengthen your quads, calves and hamstrings. Slowly increase the length or intensity of your workouts. Also, make sure your bike fits correctly.
Injury: Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis.
Cause: Recurring use of the muscles of the arm and forearm cause small tears in the tendon.
Prevention: Resting the arm and giving the muscles time to recover. One recommended exercise is squeezing a tennis ball for five minutes at a time to strengthen your forearm muscles; also, wrist curls.
Injury: Swimmer’s shoulder, or arc/rotator cuff tendinitis.
Cause: Poor technique, overuse or overtraining.
Prevention: Make sure you are doing your freestyle stroke properly and avoid making rapid increases to frequency or distance. Stretch your triceps, shoulder and neck muscles.
Injury: Achilles tendonitis.
Cause: Overuse—ignoring the warning signs and continuing despite pain; also having weak or tight calf muscles can contribute. Some achilles tendonitis injuries can stem from issues like high arches and low arches.
Prevention: First off, make sure you have good athletic shoes. Also, keep your calves strong by doing lunges, squats and, most importantly, calf raises (focus on lowering the calf—the eccentric motion as opposed to the concentric, which is raising the calf).
Injury: Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis.
Cause: Repeated use of the muscles of the arm and forearm, which causes small tears in the tendon. Lack of strength, poor technique and more duration or intensity can contribute.
Prevention: Give your arm a rest. Good stretches include the wrist flexor stretch, the prayer stretch and the thumb stretch.
Injury: Sprains and strains of the shoulder.
Cause: Repetitive movement of the upper body for paddling can lead to an overuse injury.
Prevention: Condition with shoulder exercises like lateral raises: Set weights at your sides. Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, lift the arms out to the sides, stopping at shoulder level. Lower arms back to start.
Cause: Improperly fitted shoes or boots.
Prevention: Choose high-quality boots and break them in properly. Go on several shorter hikes to identify trouble spots. Wear comfortable and thick socks. Use moleskin or other covers on problem areas before you go.
Injury: Sprains, micro-tears and tears of the ligaments and tendons in the knee.
Cause: Forcing knees into Lotus position (sitting cross-legged) or other positions.
Prevention: Never force your body into a position. If you feel pain, request an alternate pose from your teacher. Continued practice will improve flexibility.
Injury: Shoulder tendinitis, bursitis and impingement syndrome.
Cause: Repeated motions cause the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff or the bursa of the shoulder to become inflamed and swollen.
Prevention: Use the proper techniques for batting and pitching and make sure you are pitching and hitting minimally in every game and practice. Be sure to include adequate rest times between practices and games and in the off season.
Injury: Climber’s finger—damage to the flexor tendons that support the tendons that cross the finger joints.
Cause: Trying to support your body weight with one or two fingers.
Prevention: Use climbing techniques that do not put too much pressure on one hand or finger at one time. Utilize indoor climbing facilities with large hand-holds, allowing you to maintain a good grip while putting less pressure on your fingers. Take breaks between climbs to rest and recover.