Get Back in the Game this Spring with Sports Safety Tips

Apr 30, 2014, 18:38 ET from American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

ROSEMONT, Ill., April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Green fields and warmer temperatures herald a new spring sports season. But after months of limited or indoor activity, how do you return to the game you love without aches and pains?

Baseball, softball, golf and lacrosse are popular spring sports. And while outdoor exercise is advantageous, these activities do cause many injuries each year, especially among child and adolescent athletes. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2013:

  • There were more than 380,800 baseball-related injuries;
  • Approximately 303,000 softball-related injuries;
  • Nearly 114,200 golf-related injuries; and,
  • More than 49,000 Lacrosse injuries.

"Baseball, softball, golf and lacrosse require repetitive motions of the arms, legs, ankles, wrists and elbows," said Juliet DeCampos, MD, a Pensacola, Fla. orthopaedic surgeon and an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons spokesperson. "Without an ongoing, balanced fitness regimen, or a slow, steady return to a favorite sport, spring athletes may be placing themselves at greater risk for sprains, tears and overuse injuries."

The most common baseball and softball injuries involve the soft tissues, such as muscle pulls or strains, ligament injuries (sprains), cuts, contusions and bruises. Although baseball and softball are non-contact sports, most serious injuries are due to contact— either with a ball, bat or another player. Read more baseball and softball tips.

Most golf injuries are due to overuse from repeating the same swinging motion. Leading the list of injuries is golfer's elbow, technically known as medial epicondylitis. Golfer's elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow. Also common are lower back injuries caused by poor swing techniques. Read more tips on how to strengthen the back and forearm muscles to prevent golf injuries.

Knee injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, are the leading cause of lost game and practice time for lacrosse players. Ankle and knee ligament sprains, sustained while cutting and dodging, also are common in lacrosse. To avoid these injuries, players should be proactive in conditioning. View a list of common lacrosse injuries, as well as safety tips to help reduce injury risk.

Other tips
Always wear sunscreen during outdoor sports and stay hydrated. Also, check your equipment and inspect playing surfaces for needed repairs. Many injuries occur when players start a season on playing fields that are not in peak condition.  More sports injury prevention tips are available on and  

For a detailed drawing of the knee anatomy, visit

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons