When most people think about summer injuries, visions of overly competitive basketball and soccer games likely come to mind. While they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, contact sports aren’t the only ways to sustain an injury. Sometimes, injuries can occur after something simple, like taking a leisurely bike ride or playing with your kids outdoors.
To help you stay healthy and injury-free this summer season, keep the below five tips in mind:
1. Stay hydrated.
Hydration is key to maintaining your health, but when you’re physically active, it’s even more important. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes which if not adequately replaced, you risk wear and tear on your cartilage (like your knees), muscle cramps, and further injury. Plus, being well-hydrated can prevent many heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke and exhaustion.
2. Wear the proper footwear.
First and foremost, make sure you’re always wearing something on your feet. Even if you’re just walking around your backyard or garden, sharp rocks and uneven surfaces can be a source of trouble. Pending the activity, you’ll want to choose the correct footwear for optimal comfort, stability, and injury prevention.
3. Warm up your muscles.
When your muscles are warm, they’re less susceptible to injury. Try some light cardio exercises to increase circulation and raise your heart rate. Then be sure to stretch the target muscles for the activity you’re about to participate in.
4. Find a buddy.
Working out with a partner is not only great for motivation but helps regarding safety. Should an injury occur, you’ll have someone with you to assess the problem and possibly call for help.
5. Listen to your body.
Most often, injuries produce some warning signs — aches, ongoing pain, or soreness. If something seems off, don’t push through the discomfort. Take some time off to avoid a more serious injury.
What to Do in the Event of an Injury
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, injuries still occur. Whether you have slight muscle aches or a more serious strain, remember the RICE method:
- Rest the injured area to allow the healing process to take action.
- Ice the injured area to reduce pain and inflammation. Wrap the ice in a thin towel to protect your skin, then apply it to the injury for 20 minutes each hour.
- Compress to help control swelling — an elastic (Ace) bandage from your local pharmacy is usually able to do the trick.
- Elevate the injured area above your heart to reduce blood flow (thus reducing swelling).
If you’re experiencing pain, discomfort, or swelling following an injury, it’s important to see a doctor immediately. Our Monticello walk-in clinic is equipped to treat sprains, strains, and everything in between when your primary doctor can’t. At Kirby Quick Care, we’ll get you back on your feet in no time!
For more critical and even life-threatening conditions this summer, visit the Emergency Department at Kirby Medical Center.