Still Playing Sports Over Age 40? Here’s How to Avoid Injuries and Pain

As people age, the likelihood of injuries, aches, and pain increases.

Whether it’s skiing, basketball, martial arts, or other kinetic sports, regular exercise, warming up, and stretching can strengthen your body and provide protection from injury.

 

The Most Injury-Prone Areas

 

Lower Back

Potential Injury: Running, jumping, falling, lifting, crouching, and other physical demands of sports can easily overextend the spine and injure the lower back. Exercises that strengthen the core can keep the lower back healthy and pain free.

Sitting too much can decondition the abdominal and gluteal muscles. This creates added pressure on the spinal column.

Preventing it: Carefully performed yoga and abdominal exercises can build up the abs and strengthen the lower back. Before participating in sports, stretches such as child’s pose, knee-to-chest, and pirformis can loosen the lower back, helping to prevent strain.

 

Kneecap (meniscus)

Potential injury: As people age, injured and achy knees resulting from wear and tear on the meniscus, the main ligament in the knee located under the kneecap, is more common.

Age-related tissue degeneration, such as cartilage breakdown resulting from loss of fluid, increases the risk of meniscus strains and tears.

Preventing it: Weight-bearing exercises using technically sound exercise form strengthens the knee area and decreases the risk of injury.

 

Rotator Cuff

Potential injury: The group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder known as the rotator cuff is the easiest area of the shoulder to injure.

Rotator cuff tendonitis is a common shoulder injury. It occurs when the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff become inflamed from overuse. Though not as common, rotator cuff tears are more serious than tendonitis and may require surgery.

Preventing it: Stretching exercises with and without resistance bands help to add flexibility and strength. Weight bearing exercises build greater strength, but also come with injury risk. Correct form and enough recovery time between training sessions lowers injury risk.

 

Hamstrings

Potential injury: The dreaded pulled and torn hamstring. Weekend and seasonal athletes young and old know all about it.

Preventing it: Taking time to warm up and stretch the legs and hamstrings before participating in sports will reduce the risk of hamstring pulls and tears.

Strength training exercises like squats and lunges performed with correct form and plenty of rest in between training sessions will also help prevent injury.

 

Elbow

Potential injury: Tennis elbow, or elbow tendinitis, is characterized by burning pain in the elbow joint and weakened grip strength. It’s a common condition that affects non-tennis players, too.

Any repetitive motion done long enough, such as throwing a football, propelling forward with ski polls, or using a computer mouse, can cause it.

Preventing it: Avoid making repetitive hand and arm movements, if possible. Also, put less strain on the elbow and forearm tendons and muscles by using the shoulder and upper arm muscles more.

 

Texas Pain Physicians Treatment

Are you an injured weekend or seasonal athlete? Our doctors are board-certified in pain management. Whether it’s sore knees, achy tennis elbow, or a torn meniscus, we will work out a treatment plan tailored to your condition and lifestyle. Give us a call today!