Injury Prevention


Halle Goldsmith, Writer

With fall sports starting back up, injuries are coming back with them. Here is a quick preview on how to prevent injuries, such as shin splints, ACL tears, and pulled muscles. 

Shin Splints

  1. Stretch calves and hamstrings
    1. If the muscles in your legs are tight, you are put at risk of getting shin splints. 
    2. Click here for recommended calf and hamstring stretches from UC Davis Sports Medicine.
  2. Strengthening foot and arch 
    1. For instance, use your toes to pull a towel on the floor closer to you while sitting, or other things like that. Strengthening your arch can help reduce the chances of you getting shin splints. 
  3. Strengthen hips 
    1. Strong hips absorb more of the pressure put on your legs while exercising 
    2. Click here for Beacon Orthopedic and Sports Medicine’s suggested ways to strengthen your hips. 
  4. Buy the proper shoes
    1. Having a pair of shoes that fit your arch and are the right size can go a long way. Having ill-fitting or improper shoes can be a contributing factor to getting shin splints. Make sure you rotate your shoes regularly and don’t overuse them. 
  5. Stay a healthy body weight 
    1. Being under or over your ideal body weight can increase your chances of getting shin splints. 

ACL Tears:

  1. Always warm-up before practice, games, or meets to get your blood flowing. 
  2. Improve your flexibility by stretching your calves, thighs, hips, and anything else that tends to be tight. 
  3. Strengthen your hips and thighs. 
    1. Squats, walking lunges, and strengthening your core are a good way to prevent tearing your ACL. 
      Split Squat

      Single-Leg Squat
    2. Hospital of Special Surgery recommends different types of squats, doing RDLs, and single-leg deadlifts. All of these are demonstrated on their website, and the pictures shown to the right are from their article about preventing ACL tears. 
  4. Correcting and working on your balance. 
  5. Agility while changing directions quickly 
    1. Shuttle runs are helpful to practice this, or running quickly to lines and changing direction without letting your knees collapse over your feet. Start out slow and focus on your form. It is very important to keep your hips over your knees and your knees over your ankles. 
    2. A video by K-bands training demonstrates a few agility exercises for all athletes to use. 
  6. Learning how to jump and land safely. 
    1. Practice proper landing form, with a partner so they can correct your form as you go. Keep your knees bent, your chest up, and land softly. Remember not to let your knees turn in, no knock knees. 

Pulled Muscles: 

  1. Stretch daily and before you exercise (warm-up!!) 
  2. When you warm up, under-stretch 
    1. It is a myth that repetitive stretching before exercise will prevent injuries. Repetitive and aggressive stretching can cause muscle damage of its own. Stretching beforehand is still important but in moderation. 
  3. Always use proper form when lifting weights
  4. Gradually increase the intensity of your training, don’t push yourself too hard too soon. 

To treat pulled muscles and shin splints, follow the RICE rule.