Each year, many Americans experience strains or sprains, and those who face greater risk include athletes, overweight individuals, and people who have experienced these injuries in the past. Strains are caused by physical overexertion or overstretching, and they affect the muscles or tendons. Sprains result from trauma to a joint, and they affect one or more ligaments. Symptoms for both injuries include pain, swelling, bruising, and impaired range of motion. While the main form of treatment is RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation; and an ounce of strains and sprains prevention is worth a pound of cure. Performed regularly, seven exercises help prevent the occurrence of strains and sprains.
Stretching and Flexibility Routine for Strains and Sprains Prevention
Performed each morning, this exercise routine helps boost circulation to wake up muscles and joints and improves flexibility.
Begin by standing straight, with feet hip-distance apart.
- Drop the head gently to one side. Keeping the shoulders straight, move one ear toward the shoulder. Move the head gently to the other side, and repeat. Roll the head forward slowly toward the chest, and through to the other shoulder. Repeat in the opposite direction, but do not roll the head backward.
- Shrug the shoulders up and down gently 10 times. Roll each shoulder gently forward 10 times and backward 10 times. Roll both shoulders together forward 10 times and backward 10 times.
- Hold one arm straight out in front of the body. Move it across the chest, using the opposite arm to pull it gently into the chest and down slightly toward the armpit to stretch the shoulder. Repeat with the other arm.
- Hold the arms out to the side at shoulder height. Move them in small forward circles, gradually widening with each rotation, and then back down to small circles. Repeat the cycle with backward rotations.
- With eight repetitions in each position, start with the right leg and move it forward, backward, to the outside, and crossed over to the inside. Repeat with the left leg.
- Hold the right foot out in front slightly. Point and flex several times. Rotate the ankle clockwise five times and counterclockwise five times. Repeat with the left foot.
- Stand with knees bent slightly and hands resting on the thighs. Move the right heel forward and flex the foot to straighten the right leg. Bend forward slowly until you feel a gentle pull in the right calf and hamstring. Hold for eight seconds, and switch sides.
More Strains and Sprains Prevention Suggestions for Athletes
To further prevent athletic strains and sprains, people should:
- Always wear shoes that fit properly.
- Warm up before sports, including practice.
- Wear recommended protective equipment.
- Do not participate if in pain or experiencing excessive fatigue or if you are sick.
- Remember to drink plenty of pure water every day: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Also, take healthy internal oils such as flax seed oil, olive oil, etc. Another supplement to take as an internal lubricant is aloe vera juice or gel.