When viewing the Olympic snow sports in China, keep in mind that our winter is approaching, and with it, many people will return to sports, particularly contact sports. Football is immensely popular in Melbourne, but rugby and soccer also have considerable followings. Given that many of us have taken extended breaks from sports over the last year, there is concern about the possibility of higher injury rates this season. Now is a wonderful time to start thinking about injury prevention measures and putting them into action to lower your injury risk.

Which injuries should I think about?

Many injuries occur during contact in football, netball, rugby, and soccer. When forces through a joint stretch it too far in one direction, joint and ligament problems are common. Soft tissue tearing or stretching, as well as bruising of soft tissue, cartilage, and, in some cases, bone bruising, can occur as a result of this. Keep an eye out for contact injuries to the ankle, knee, shoulder, and arm, as well as the spine (back and neck).

What can I do to prepare for these injuries?

While certain aspects of contact are beyond our control, others may be addressed and dealt with through training. Collisions can be lessened by conditioning the body to make contact. This is usually accomplished during pre-season training and is crucial to complete before the season begins. To limit the danger of harm to yourself and others on the field, good tackling technique is crucial, so make sure you work on it during pre-season training. Even if tackling isn’t a big part of your sport, like netball, learning how to brace yourself for a collision will help you prepare for the season. Before the season begins, you must ensure that you are fit and have been practising impact-based training such as running. This will help you build load tolerances suitable for sport. Those who tyre out quickly are more likely to sustain an injury.

What else can I do about injury prevention?

Not every injury prevention strategy must be implemented during training. Non-contact injuries are equally prevalent and may usually be avoided. Your body should be able to handle the demands of accelerating, decelerating, landing, and changing direction if your muscle memory, strength, and mobility are all in good shape. There is a risk of damage if your muscles aren’t activated properly to support your lower limb. You can practice landing and changing directions on your own at home, in the backyard, or at the park. Make sure you’ve addressed the biomechanics before the season starts, as these injuries are among the most preventable. Stretching has traditionally been used to prevent injury, but new evidence now supports strengthening and conditioning as well, so bring these issues to your physio and we can discuss them with you based on your individual activity.

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