Injury Prevention for injury-prone 33 year old guy
November 23, 2015 9:16 AM   Subscribe

I enjoy playing sports regularly (once or twice a day) and I end up getting injured often, (rolled ankle, straight calf, tight hamstring, over-use injuries too) and I'd like recommendations on injury prevention. Specific exercises, books, DVDs, principles, equipment, anything that can keep me in the field with less injuries.

I play soccer, basketball, triathlon, and I often probably do "too much too soon" and over-use, and also sprains, strains etc. that end up sidelining me for a good % of the year. I want to focus more on injury prevention in order to enjoy more sports during the year, at a higher quality. I seem to always be playing with a nagging injury.

I am open to all recommendations, anything that will make me injured less, so I can enjoy more sports.
posted by kikithekat to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, if you're playing sports once or twice a day, I guess the first thing would be to maybe back off a little? If you do too much too soon, it might be worthwhile hiring a trainer to help you get into shape ahead of (whatever sport) season to avoid injuries early in the season. (Personally, I find yoga to be a good strength and flexibility backdrop for other activities, but your mileage may vary.)
posted by instamatic at 9:22 AM on November 23, 2015

Increasing your muscle mass is your best bet for prevention of joint injuries and fractures (assuming that not playing sports is not an option). Muscle protects and stabilizes your joints during trauma.

Not playing through injuries is another big one. When you have an injury, do the appropriate PT and rehab until it goes away. Don't return to sport and play on a rolled ankle -- it will slow your recovery from the primary injury and increase your likelihood of developing another injury.
posted by telegraph at 9:25 AM on November 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Some things to investigate - using foam rollers to release tightness in soft tissue that might be hindering your muscle flexibility. Investigate dynamic stretching, and have a stretching routine in conjunction with your sporting activities. Strengthen both your small stabilizing muscles and your core in addition to large muscles - Pilates is excellent for this (and plenty of guys do Pilates!) but if that's not your bag yoga could also address this. A trainer or a PT can help point you in the right direction for a lot of this stuff. There's also a YouTube series called Mobility Workout of the Day that a lot of people swear by.
posted by matildaben at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2015

I used to have this problem as well. I was always getting these soft tissue injuries at all different places (left knee, right knee, hip, ankle, etc). What more or less resolved the problem for me was doing physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles that stabilize those joints. The best thing to do would be to go see a PT, but fwiw, I used the conditioning programs available here. (You can pick and choose whether you want to do knee, ankle, whatever, but I did all of them because I was basically having problems everywhere, although I would usually work different parts of my body on different days.)

I imagine yoga or pilates could serve a similar purpose, but for me, yoga wasn't that great for resolving this issue. In fact, if you are prone to hyperextension, then you'll want to be really careful with something like yoga, at least in my experience.

Also, when you do get an injury, you really should avoid playing through the pain. You might also want to consider getting some kind of brace or wrapping if you do get an injury, or even when you're transitioning back to playing. (Obviously this works best for joints your like knee, ankle, elbow, and shoulder.) Personally, I like compression sleeves like this.

Of course, IANAD, IANAPhysicalTherapist, and YMMV, but this made a huge difference for me.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:15 AM on November 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Flexibility. Google Shannon Turley. He's Stanford football's strength and conditioning coordinator, and he's really big into flexibility as a means of preventing injury. It seems to work well for Stanford. From the types of injuries you brought up, it sounds like you definitely need to stretch more, before and after activity. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to incorporate some yoga, either.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:16 AM on November 23, 2015

Oh, I should add (upon reading matildaben's response) that I do think pilates could be especially useful for building up core muscles, which is definitely important. Alternatively, hula hooping is great for building core strength, and I didn't find it exacerbated my other problem areas. If you want to try hula hooping, I would recommend getting an exercise hoop. They are so much easier to use than the cheap kids hoops. (i got mine from amazon.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:18 AM on November 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Physical therapist. Pronto. A good one. They can figure out what is out of alignment, which muscles are over/under compensating and so on. Muscle/flexibility in general doesn't help so much as targeted strength and flexibility.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:20 AM on November 23, 2015

Make yourself both stronger & more flexible. I highly recommend Becoming a Supple Leopard to learn how to make yourself healthy and injury-resistant.
posted by jpeacock at 10:55 AM on November 23, 2015

FYI, the "Becoming a Supple Leopard" that jpeacock recommended is written by the guy behind MobilityWOD that matildaben recommended. So it's really two recommendations for the same thing, and I'll add a third because Kelly Starrett is a really good resource.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've had some success with Yoga Tune Up balls. Soft tissue work, not as heavy as "Becoming a Supple Leopard" but still has been helpful. $75 or so for the full set.
posted by 4midori at 9:14 AM on November 25, 2015

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