Winter sports come to an end as spring sports rush toward preseason. We sat down with Dr. Tim Miller, a locale expert on musculoskeletal issues, to talk about common injuries in spring sports and tips for preseason training. Dr Tim Miller is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center,
The first question was; “What injuries do you commonly see in spring sports?”
Dr Miller responded: “The most common injuries are hamstring strains, patellar tendonitis, stress fractures, shoulder pain in pitchers and throwers, knee/patellofemoral pain and meniscus tears in catchers, ankle sprains in all.”
“Which of these common issues could be prevented?”
Dr Miller responded: “Most of these common issues can be prevented. The ankle sprains, shoulder pain, hamstring strains, tendonitis, and maybe stress fractures.”
“What should coaches/ teams/ athletes focus on in preseason to prevent common injuries?”
Dr Miller; “The 1st step is to warm up with proper dynamic movement and a stretching program. You also need a preseason and off season conditioning program. Have an appropriate throwing and jumping technique and lastly make sure you have the appropriate equipment and footwear.”
Injuries can be prevented with proper training! In athletics, we can only perform at our best if we are healthy. We have found that strength and conditioning training during the season can still help to keep athletes healthy and maintain their ability verses what was previously thought that lifting during the season would increase injuries.
Here is how you can add to your current program this preseason to keep athletes healthy and also increase performance:
Add in combined movements to your warm up for injury prevention:
1 Runner balance = ankle/hip/balance – also increases body awareness for running form
2 Multi-direction lunges = ankle/hamstring/core
3 Side plank and reach = IT band/hip/shoulder
4 Lying leg raises = low body insertions – hamstring/groin/quad/IT band/core
Create a consistent stretching/cool down routine:
1 Hurdle mobility
2 Band Stretching
3 Overhead backwards lunges
Merge from well cushioned running shoes to barefoot training (or as close as possible) prior to wearing non-supportive shoes (baseball, softball, track, lacrosse):
Month 1 – running shoes on grass
Month 2 – running shoes on hard surface
Month 3 – lighter shoes on grass/barefoot training on grass
Perform backward sled drags, Russian leans or glute-ham raises to strengthen hamstrings EARLY in a strength program so that stress is not placed on a fatigued muscle.
These are the little things that make a BIG difference. Even adding one of these to your program can decrease injury and keep your athletes healthy throughout the season. If you practice consistency and create disciplined athletes (so they can do this without prodding) then you have no choice but to be successful!