No one wants to be sidelined by a sports injury, and unfortunately, the older you get, the more vulnerable you are to sprains, strains and breaks. Dr. Brent Ridge specializes in issues involving healthy aging and is here with tips on how to avoid sports injuries.
How to Avoid Sports Injuries Lisa: I’m Lisa Birnbach for howdini.com. You love to play sports but you’re always worried you’re going to get in some kind of injury, and often you do. With me to talk about men and sports related accidents is Dr. Brent Ridge, of Mount Sinai Hospital. Hi. Brent: Hi. Lisa: A lot of men want to play sports, feel like they’re athletes, and then are terrified that they’re going to mess up their back, their leg, their knee, their rotator cuff. What’s a guy to do? Brent: Well, obviously I always promote exercise. I’m glad to see people out there doing physical activity. What men need to know is to know when to stop or when to slow down, or when to change their exercise pattern. You really have to listen to your body. That’s what most men don’t do. Lisa: Sometimes you need to work through a pain though, and a lot of men seem to want to tough it out. Brent: Yeah, working through pain is a misnomer, that’s almost never the case. Sometimes when you have a little muscular pain, then working through it doing some stretching, and that type of thing is good. If you have a problem like a sore knee, you’ve hurt your knee; you’ve run too far on your knee, working thorough that is not going to help, it's only going to make it worse. Lisa: How can tennis players avoid tennis elbow? Brent: Well tennis elbow is really a modern problem. And, it’s because we’re hitting the tennis ball much harder. And we’re all about speed when we’re playing tennis. And the problem with tennis elbow is that’s the force transmitted when the ball hits the racket is transmitted into your elbow and cause an inflammation of the tendons around your elbow. And so what you need to do to prevent that is it's a reoccurring problem for you is look at your racket, use a lightweight racket as much as possible. Look and see how your racket is strung. If it is very tightly strung, so it’s transmitting a lot of force from that ball hit. That’s going to make tennis elbow much worse. So having looser strings on your tennis racket will help. And then really look at the surface on which you’re playing tennis. Using a softer surface, clay or grass, is going to reduce the amount of tennis elbow that you have. Lisa: And be better on your knees as well. Brent: Absolutely. Lisa: Now in terms of pre-workout protocols to make your survival of your own workout better, what should we all do, especially if we’re men? Brent: A warm up is really important, making sure your muscles are warm and ready to begin exercise. That’s important. And that’s why stretching could have some benefit because it can help to get your muscles warmed up. And when you’re doing a stretch to warm up your muscles, you need to stretch that muscle and hold that stretch for about thirty seconds so that muscle is getting warmed up and prepared for the exercise to come. Lisa: If you’re sore after a workout, it could mean that you broke through couldn’t it to the next level, or does it always mean that you’ve done something wrong? Brent: It doesn’t always mean that you’ve done something wrong. You could have just been -- you exerted a little bit more then what you should have. But if you look at some of the biggest body builders, they’ll tell you they often workout and are not sore after their workouts. So just working out to the point that you’re sore the next day is not necessarily helping you build more muscle or build more strength. If you do have sore muscles, ice, something as simple as ice is probably the best pain relief out there. Massage is also very good, very indulgent but very good. And then the most important thing is rest. Your muscles are growing and getting stronger as you rest. And that’s why it’s so important if you’re big into weight lifting that you take that day off in between periods of exertion or you're working different muscle groups on different days so those muscles have time to rest. Lisa: What if you rest and don’t exercise, is that good for your muscles? Brent: Well then you’re a sedentary, and I don’t recommend that for anybody. Lisa: Thank you Dr. Ridge. For howdini.com I’m Lisa Birnbach.