Every season comes with its common injuries, from fractures caused by falling on ice during the winter to burns caused by fireworks injuries in the summer.
Spring tends to wreak havoc on our bodies when we rush back into activity after a winter of hibernating. Our muscles and tendons aren’t ready!
Besides going slow to begin with – don’t run 5 miles on your first day back on the asphalt – a gentle warm up will help prepare you for a workout.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “A good warm up gets your blood flowing, raises your muscle temperature and increases your breathing rate, giving your body time to adjust to the demands of exercise.”
Warming up prepares your body to move, and may reduce post workout soreness.
Visit the AAOS for simple warm ups, useful for any activity from gardening to a hike in the hills.
Typical spring injuries
Runners, joggers, and bike riders can overstress their knees by going at their sport too hard, too soon. ORA Orthopedics surgeon Dr. Shawn Wynn says he sees a lot of lower extremity injuries in the spring.
“We see a lot of lower extremity injuries in the spring,” he says of runners and bicyclists. “We see tendonitis and bursitis from the way they are doing things or from an increase in their activity.”
Dr. Wynn says home owners are another group at risk for overdoing it after winter.
“People going out and doing yard work, trimming bushes and trees, getting their lawn in shape, gardening can suffer injuries to their upper extremities,” he says. “Shoulders can develop tendonitis and bursitis.”
When to see a doctor
Muscle stiffness and soreness is the natural result of running a little farther than you should have, or lifting a few too many bags of leaves. Sometimes, though, that soreness is evidence of injury.
“Usually, an injury is where you instantly know something happened,” Dr. Wynn says.
“If you feel a pop or a tearing sensation, and if you have instant pain which doesn’t go away in a few hours, that’s something you need to have a physician look at pretty quickly.”
Sometimes an injury becomes apparent over time, simply by virtue of the fact that you don’t feel better. In such cases, Dr. Wynn suggests seeing your physician within 2-4 weeks.
If you do hurt yourself, Dr. Wynn suggests you follow this simple formula to minimize inflammation and pain. You can do this as first aid, before you see the doctor.
I: Ice the sore spot.
C: Compress – wrap – the ankle or knee to stabilize it.
E: Elevate – raising your injured extremity reduces swelling and pain.