A person experiencing an ankle injury while playing tennis.
Sports / Orthopedic

Common Summer Sports Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Jun 11 2021

As the weather warms up and we venture outside again, many of us switch up our exercise routines or add sports to our activities. While getting moving again is great, it can also lead to an injury if you’re not careful.

Brian Chilelli, MD, is one of our orthopedic surgeons who also serves as the team orthopedic surgeon for Miami University Intercollegiate Athletics. He shares that injuries orthopedists tend to see most during the summer months are minor issues, such as aches, pains, strains, sprains and tendonitis.

“The problem areas we see when people become active and spend more time outside are the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles,” he adds. “That’s because those are major joints that connect important parts of the body and we can injure them when we go to a high level of activity after being sedentary for some time.”

Volleyball, tennis and other activities involving overhead movement can lead to rotator cuff tendonitis in the shoulder. Hips can develop bursitis, or inflammation, and ankles suffer sprains. Knees are subject to overuse injuries such as patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee. Knees can also have patellofemoral pain as a result of patellar maltracking, which describes movement of the kneecap that is incorrectly aligned.

“We have a tendency to do too much, too fast, such as returning to running outside or playing 18 to 36 holes of golf,” says Dr. Chilelli. “Luckily, there are preventive things we can do to keep that and other minor sports injuries from happening.”

First and foremost, Dr. Chilelli recommends we take things slowly.

“If you start exercising by taking intense classes five days per week, you are susceptible to getting hurt,” he says. “Instead, gradually build up to the level you want to be at, whether we are talking running, cycling or weights. Build to your distance and speed or weight and number of repetitions.”

Dr. Chilelli adds, “an important thing to do to avoid musculoskeletal issues is to maintain a low BMI through a regular exercise regimen that you start slowly. Adhere to a well-balanced diet. Furthermore, it is essential to avoid smoking. Cigarettes are bad for our joints, tendons and muscles. In addition to placing you at risk for injury, cigarettes and bad diets impact your ability to heal.”

Learn about the sports medicine and orthopedic services we offer at Mercy Health.

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