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Be Active, Be Safe this Summer

Summer Safety 101

It’s officially summer! It sure has felt like it in Kansas City lately. One of the best parts of warmer weather is being able to enjoy outdoor activities once again. Whether it’s participating in organized sports, recreational biking or swimming, gardening or simply enjoying the trampoline, summer is the perfect time to get outside and get moving. Unfortunately, although you may be ready to dive into fun and summer activities, your body — especially your muscles and tendons — may not be.

While some injuries are inevitable, many are preventable with a few precautions. We share our information and tips for an active and safe summer.

Common Summer Orthopedic Injuries

Like most orthopedic injuries, the majority of summertime injuries occur due to repetitive motions, or, in some cases, trauma to the joint. Here are some common summer injuries.

Ligament Sprain

Ligaments are soft tissue structures that connect our bones together. Ligaments often injured include ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament in the knee), MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament), UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament in the elbow), ATFL (Anterior Taliofibular Ligament in the ankle). When an injury occurs at a joint, the ligaments at the area can be stretched or start to tear depending on the force which is placed on the ligament. When a ligament is injured, it is called a “sprain.” Swelling, pain, instability, and bruising can be common symptoms around the injury site.

Muscle Strains

Muscles are bands or bundles of fibrous tissue that both help your body move and maintain the position of parts of the body. These fibers can be overstretched or torn due to intense activities. Excessive forces can result in muscle strain or a muscle tear. Strains may happen if you participate in an intense workout or activity, or if you overwork yourself while playing a sport without a proper warm-up and prior conditioning.

Tendonitis

Tendons are connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. Tendons can be found throughout the body and help us to complete each movement we make. You can develop tendonitis with inflammation (swelling) occurring within the tendon structure. This can be caused by overuse or acute injuries. Examples of tendonitis include Achilles tendonitis, ITB syndrome, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, and rotator cuff tendonitis.

Fractures

Certain bones are more prone to these injuries. Most of the time, the break or fracture results from a collision, fall, car accident, or other trauma. The clavicle, more commonly called the “collarbone”, is one of the most frequently fractured bones in the body. Other common summertime fractures include arm, wrist, ankle, finger, and toe fractures.

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Preventing Summer Orthopedic Injuries

Ease into New Activities

When you take on a new outdoor activity, prevent injury by easing into the process. Ready to paddleboard, start a running routine or join the sand volleyball tournament? It’s easy to forget that it takes time to build skills and muscles for a new activity.

Don’t Overdo It

Specialization in a single competitive sport year-round, such as swimming, baseball, and running has led to a sharp increase in overuse injuries in young people. “Kids and teenagers who have injuries from doing the same activity over and over never give their bodies a chance to heal,” says sports medicine surgeon, Dr. Kevin Witte.

This goes for adults, too. If you do the same sport or exercise, summer is a great time to add some variety to your exercise routine. Always a runner, try swimming or biking. Love to golf? Add some stretching to your week.

Stretch It Out

Speaking of stretching, stretching is beneficial for all ages, all year.  Before you exercise, get your blood pumping and do some dynamic stretching for a five-minute warm-up. Stretch again for five minutes after the activity. When joints are tight, you’re more likely to have an injury.  

Treatment for Minor Sprains & Strains

Immediately following an injury, it is recommended that you protect the injured area and rest. Elevating the injury and providing compression have been shown to help. 

Handle the Heat

Remember to stay hydrated as temperatures rise. Proper hydration is vital all year round, but in the summer months, it’s especially important. This means hydrating before, during, and after outdoor sports, gardening or play.

Wearing appropriate clothing—light-colored, loose-fitting clothing can help you stay cool. During the height of the summer, exercise during cooler times of the day.

Ladder Safety

Ladder safety should be learned BEFORE climbing the ladder. To avoid a preventable ladder injury, make sure you have the balance and strength to use a ladder. Take the time to secure it properly before climbing. It may be sandal season but always wear lace-up shoes.

These tips are known but often taken for granted. Help your spouse or be a good neighbor by reminding them with those tips!

Tips for Preventing Youth Sports Injuries

Stay in the game with these tips

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