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Tips for Athletes to Avoid Fractures

Tips for Athletes to Avoid Fractures

Of all the emergency room visits for sports injuries, one in five athletes are there because of a fracture. Though most athletes rehabilitate and return to play without forfeiting performance, fractures can take you out of the game for five or six months.

Pain control and accelerating healing are essential for your recovery from a fracture, and that’s where our experienced team at Florida Pain Medicine can help. We offer a vast array of  interventional and restorative treatments that support your rehabilitation.

However, we’d rather help you prevent fractures if possible, which is why we’re exploring ways to lower your risk for broken bones.

Understanding fracture types

Your bones can break in many ways, ranging from a clean, stable fracture in which the bone barely moves out of place to a severe fracture that makes the bone shatter. But when it comes to preventing fractures, it’s most important to know the two basic types: acute and stress fractures.

Acute fractures

Acute fractures occur following a sudden trauma. These fractures often happen during a fall or direct injury, such as colliding with another person, a rough tackle, or being struck by an object like a hockey stick.

Stress fractures

Stress fractures develop over time as you repeatedly perform the same movements. The relentless pressure causes muscle fatigue. As a result, your muscles can’t bear their usual amount of pressure, and your bones take on more stress.

The extra stress on your bones leads to a small crack. That’s when you have a stress fracture. If you stay active, the bone doesn’t have time to heal, and the tiny fracture keeps enlarging.

Protecting your bones

The first step toward preventing any type of fracture is maintaining healthy bones. Did you know that your bones reach their peak mass between the ages of 25 and 30?

If you’re younger than 25, take advantage of the time to build optimal strength. As you get older, your body naturally loses more bone faster than it can build new bone. After 30, it’s essential to improve that balance.

At every age, the keys to building and maintaining strong bones include consuming enough calcium and vitamin D and engaging in regular weight-bearing exercises, which stimulate new bone growth.

Avoiding acute fractures

Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid an acute fracture. Accidents happen in sports, and when they do, it’s easy to end up with a broken bone. The best thing you can do to avoid a fracture is to wear the appropriate safety equipment.

Preventing stress fractures

Unlike acute fractures, you can prevent stress fractures by taking the following steps:

Give your muscles time to rest

It’s essential to prevent muscle fatigue by giving them time to rest. While the muscles rest, your bones can also heal from the stress. The best regimen depends on your sport, but one approach is to cross-train and alternate between activities. For example, instead of jogging every day, alternate with activities like cycling and swimming.

Wear supportive shoes

Wearing comfortable shoes that cushion and support your feet goes a long way toward preventing stress fractures. Even better, wear shoes designed for your sport.

Ease into new activities

In addition to repetitive movement, stress fractures often occur when you increase the intensity or frequency of your activities and/or training. Ease your muscles and bones into the new routine by gradually increasing your speed, time, and distance.

Rest at the first sign of pain

Immediately stop your activity and rest for several days if you develop pain or swelling. If your symptoms don’t improve with rest, or they start up again after returning to your sport, it’s time to schedule an exam and start treatment. With early treatment, you can return to play as quickly as possible.

Dealing with fracture pain

Our team specializes in many therapies for easing the pain caused by fractures. Getting expert pain relief does more than improve your mental health; it also promotes faster healing and helps you participate in physical therapy and rehabilitation.

We create a customized pain relief plan based on your unique needs. The following list gives you a few examples of advanced treatments for fracture pain:

If you need to find relief from the pain of a fracture, don’t wait to connect with the team at Florida Pain Medicine. Call the nearest office, or request an appointment online today.

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