Enjoy an Active Summer Without Sports Injuries

Northwestern Medicine orthopaedic expert offers tips for safely returning to sports and activity after a long winter

Jun 11, 2014, 14:41 ET from Northwestern Medicine

CHICAGO, June 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With temperatures finally rising after a long and frigid winter, Chicago area residents are brushing the cobwebs off their running shoes and getting active. While exercise and activity are important for a healthy lifestyle, many people are unconditioned and fail to take precautionary steps that can reduce the risk of summer-long injuries. Northwestern Medicine® sports medicine expert Michael Terry, MD, offers his advice on proper stretching and conditioning habits for everyone from high-level athletes to weekend warriors.

Click here view a video with Dr. Terry discussing sports injuries.

When getting back into a normal workout routine, stretching is imperative.  Adding proper stretching techniques before and after workouts can alleviate stress on the body that often causes injury. Not only does stretching reduce risk of injury, but it can also increase the effectiveness of a workout regiment by increasing blood flow to the muscles and adding flexibility.

"Stretch slowly until you feel a slight pull on the muscle," said Terry, an orthopaedic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "When stretching, avoid jerking or fast movements – these abrupt actions often cause injury as they pull forcefully at the muscles adding unnecessary tension." 

Many people limit their exercise and physical activity in the winter, so after a season of rest the body needs to be reconditioned to withstand daily exercise. Terry cautions to avoid doing too much too soon by gradually building up to their previous workout level. Without this grace period a number of injuries could occur, including ACL tears, runner's knee, shoulder dislocations, stress fractures, strains and more.  

Sports injuries are not isolated to this any particular group and can impact men and women of all ages.  Medical history, age, weight, and level of physical fitness all contribute to one's likelihood of injury and recovery time when an injury occurs.

Depending on the severity of an injury, recovery time can vary from a couple of days with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication to a year or longer with surgery and physical therapy. 

"If an injury leaves you with significant swelling, you have pain with weight bearing or an audible pop occurred, then you should seek medical attention immediately," said Terry.  "If you think you have suffered from a sprain, but pain symptoms have not subsided after a week of conservative treatment, then you should see a medical professional." 

With an emphasis on safety and preventive steps to avoid injury, summer workouts can be the platform for a year-round healthy lifestyle.

"Physical activity of any kind is great for the mind and body, so take advantage of the summer weather to get into an exercise routine that spans all seasons," said Terry.

For more information about sports medicine and orthopaedic care at Northwestern, visit our website. To find a physician, call 312-926-0779.

About Northwestern Medicine®
Northwestern Medicine® is the collaboration between Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine around a strategic vision to transform the future of healthcare.  It encompasses the research, teaching and patient care activities of the academic medical center. Sharing a commitment to superior quality, academic excellence and patient safety, the organizations within Northwestern Medicine comprise more than 9,000 clinical and administrative staff, 3,100 medical and science faculty and 700 students. The entities involved in Northwestern Medicine remain separate organizations. Northwestern Medicine is a trademark of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and is used by Northwestern University.

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital has 1,705 affiliated physicians and 6,769 employees.  Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial has nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence. Northwestern Memorial ranks 6th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2013-14 Honor Roll of America's Best Hospitals. The hospital is recognized in 14 of 16 clinical specialties rated by U.S. News and is No. 1 in Illinois and Chicago in U.S. News' 2013-14 state and metro rankings, respectively. For 14 years running, Northwestern Memorial has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 15 consecutive years. 

SOURCE Northwestern Medicine