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Preparing Your Muscles and Joints to Avoid Injury

A reprint shared by Hoag for Life Fall 2020 Newsletter - Featuring ProSport's Samantha Baumler, PT, DPT, ATC, TPI2

While the return to some sports for student-athletes may be delayed due to the pandemic, Hoag and Hoag Orthopedic Institute Sports Medicine physicians remain committed to help get athletes back to doing what they love safely and effectively, both on and off the field, at the right time.

As both youth and adult athletes look at returning to their sports, David Gazzaniga, M.D., sports medicine orthopedic surgeon and head team physician for the Los Angeles Chargers NFL team, shares that ramp up time over at least two weeks is crucial for returning to activities safely.

“When your muscles and tendons have been dormant for a while, it takes a ramp up period that you have to work your way through in order to prevent soft tissue damage,” Dr. Gazzaniga shared. “It’s important that all athletes, even teenagers, slowly build cardiovascular stamina and strength to their tendons and muscles over a period of time leading up to performing at full speed.”

Eugene Yim, M.D., non-operative sports medicine physician and head medical team physician for the Los Angeles Chargers, explains that it’s a personal choice to return to sports and other “normal activities” as things open up. “Staying active is staying healthy, but in the midst of a pandemic, it is critical to make an informed decision on return to activity based on scientific evidence, expert opinion, and recommendations from health authorities.”

In addition to the ramp up period to avoid major injury, ProSport Physical Therapy and Performance’s Samantha Baumler, PT, DPT, ATC, TPI2, recommends that athletes assess themselves by easing into any exercise and stopping if they experience pain to avoid injury.

“Work on your form first so that you can perform correctly. If a motion is done incorrectly for too long, it can cause injury to the muscle,” says Baumler, clinic director for ProSport’s Newport Mesa clinic.

Dr. Gazzaniga also stressed the importance of parents listening to their children and teenagers if they start complaining of pain near their shoulder, hip and knee joints as it could lead to a serious problem as their body continues to grow and change.

“When a child’s body is growing, a shift in the growth plates and attachment points to joints can occur with overuse of muscles and tendons, so it’s important for all athletes to communicate their aches and pains with their athletic trainers, parents and health care providers,” Dr. Gazzaniga shared. “Pain should not be dismissed as something to ‘work through’ as injury to those major attachment points and joints could result in surgery.”

In addition, both Baumler and Dr. Gazzaniga shared that static exercises can be done before and after practice, at home or off the playing field, using a foam roller, for example, which can help prevent injuries.

“During this time, the playing field has been leveled so-to-speak, with everyone staying at home,” Dr. Gazzaniga added. “I encourage all athletes, no matter the age, to play sports for the love the game, because that love for your sport will help you get through any challenge.”

For more information, call 888-740-5972.

Source: https://www.hoag.org/about-hoag/news-publications/hoag-for-life/fall/2020/preparing-your-muscles-and-joints/

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