It’s that time of year! Trees and flowers blooming along with nicer weather signal our athletes are busy training for their sporting events. This also means an increase in the number of sport-related injuries we see at Corvallis Family Medicine. We see everything from cuts and scrapes to concussions and fractures. It is important to keep in mind what can be done to prevent injuries from taking place and staying on the field.
Concussions: From football to soccer and many others, concussions can have a long-lasting impact on cognitive functions. Be sure to wear appropriate head protection and try to use your head only for its brain power as opposed to hitting objects.
Wounds: If you have a cut or scrape, be sure to run it under clean tap water for 5-10 minutes to ensure it gets washed out well to prevent infection. It is generally not a good idea to clean wounds with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as these can be toxic to the cells that repair our wounds, try a petroleum based product like Vasoline or Aquaphor instead. Anything more than a minor surface cut may need to be sutured, so it is important to have it evaluated here at the clinic. Remember, that if it has been longer than five years, it may be necessary to get a tetanus booster.
Tendon/muscle/ligament injuries: Be sure to warm up before high intensity workouts as not doing so can lead to injury. Also slowing building up your activity over time can prevent repetitive overuse injuries like shin splints or runner’s knee.
Vision: If there is the possibility of flying objects or physical contact, wear shatter-proof eye protection to prevent trauma to the eye. Eye trauma is oftentimes permanent and can result in vision loss.
Sun damage: Sunburns occur frequently in those spending time outdoors. Unfortunately, sun damage builds up over time and is cumulative. Not only does it lead to wrinkles, but it can lead to skin cancers, which we are seeing in younger and younger people. Wearing sunscreen can significantly reduce the risk of developing skin-related issues. Look for sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and has broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Apply every 2-3 hours, and more often if getting wet or sweating.
If you are older or have chronic medical problems, be sure to talk to one of us about starting an exercise regimen. In some cases, we may want to perform some testing to make sure you don’t have any serious conditions.