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Prevent Injuries While Enjoying Summer Outdoor Activities

Along with these increased activities, there is also an increased chance of getting injured, regardless of your age.   

Dr. Rodney Wong, is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who specializes in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine at El Camino Hospital and he recommends taking a few simple steps to prevent injuries like broken bones, sprains and torn muscles this summer while still doing the activities we enjoy.

Children:
  • Trampolines – Don’t leave children unsupervised around a trampoline. Make sure everything is cleared off the trampoline such as toys, before anyone gets on it and allow only one child to jump on the trampoline at a time. Keep pets away from the area and don’t allow anyone to do flips or tricks on the trampoline.
  • Playground Equipment – Climbing structures, monkey bars and slides are where most accidents occur and fractures are the most common injury. Inspect the playground before allowing children to play and make sure there is good cushioning below the equipment such as bark or a rubberized material.
  • Skateboards and rollerblades – It might not look “cool” to wear helmets, wrist bands and knee pads, but these items should be standard equipment when skateboarding and rollerblading.
  • Bicycles – Everyone should wear helmets when cycling, bright clothing so they can be seen easily, use lights when riding at night and understand the rules of the road.

Adults and Seniors:
  • Sports – Cross-training is one way to prevent sports injuries.  Instead of doing one type of sport over and over (like baseball, golf or tennis), it is best to vary the types of sports you engage in. It is also important to have equipment that fits you correctly and take lessons to learn the proper techniques so you don’t hurt yourself. Having the right size golf clubs or proper tennis racket can make a big difference not just in your performance, but in preventing injuries too.
  • Weekend Warriors - Adults sometimes like to relive their youth and after spending the winter engaged in very little physical activity, taking part in a run or starting a new sport can result in injuries unless the person starts off slow and prepares their body for more strenuous activity. Training is the key and gradually building up your strength and endurance is the right approach.
  • Walking – One of the easiest ways to get exercise safely is to start a walking program. Gradually increasing the distance you walk and the speed with which you walk is beneficial for people of any age. Walking is much easier on the joints than running and it requires no special equipment other than proper fitting shoes with ample support.

“I also remind my patients to use sunscreen and stay hydrated when doing outside activities.  Eating a nutritious diet, keeping the body moving with regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are the main components to good health. Adding a few simple preventive measures can mean the difference between a safe, fun summer and one spent recovering from an injury,” said Dr. Wong.

This article first appeared in the June 2016 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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