Sports Injury Prevention

‘the best way to treat an injury is to prevent it’

Whilst most people are aware that injuries are an inherent factor of sport, most do not know that over 25% of all sporting injuries could be prevented with better conditioning.

Sport injuries are most commonly caused by overuse, direct impact or the application of force that is greater than a tissues threshold. While it is difficult to prevent impact injuries such as fractures, overuse injuries are very preventable in most cases.

Sporting injuries are often divided into two categories: acute and chronic.  Acute injuries are injuries that occur suddenly such as a sprained ankle; whereas chronic injuries are caused by the repetitive strain on muscles groups or joints.

Specific targeted exercise regimes can be crucial in the prevention and recovery of acute and chronic injuries.

Below are some strategies and exercises to reduce the risk of developing a sport-related injury.

  • Complete a through warm-up and stretching regime. It is best to complete exercises that are specific to the inherent requirements of your sport. For example, there is a high demand on the hamstrings during tasks such as kicking and running. Forward and sideways leg swings can be a great exercise to dynamically stretch and prepare the hamstrings for game requirements. For sports such as golf which require mostly upper body movements, it is important to stretch through the trunk and arms. Exercises such as lumbar rotations and arm circles can be very beneficial in stretching through the tight muscles to reduce your overall risk of injury.

Sideways leg swings

Lumbar rotations

Forwards leg swings

Arm circles

  • Having access to an individualized strength program is imperative to ensuring sporting participants stay on field and injury free. Completing a structured exercise plan can help correct underlying muscular imbalances that predispose some recreational athletes to injury. Regular targeted resistance exercises result in acquisition of lean muscle mass which improves strength, stabilizes lax joints and reduces the risk of injury. Exercise Physiologists are university-trained health professionals that specialize in the prescription and delivery of exercise and could assist you in achieving your strength goals. Exercise Physiologists can tailor programs to suit your individual needs. Below are some common exercises an Exercise Physiologist may prescribe.

Squats are a great exercise to improve glute, quad and hamstring strength

Bent over rows work to strength your back muscles

Clams are useful for improving lumbopelvic stability and gluteal strength

  • Recovery time between sessions is another important principle in the prevention of injury. During exercise there is several physiological adaptations that take place. Some of these include the removal of metabolic end products such as lactate and hydrogens ions, as well the micro tearing of the targeted muscle during muscle hypertrophy. Research suggests that recovery from this process takes approximately 2-3 days and that resistance exercise should not be completed on consecutive days. Furthermore, a 1-2minute break between sets of exercise has been proven to be enough to remove the lactic acid from the muscle and completely restore ATP energy stores to resting levels. Following these principles can help reduce the risk of injury and improve performance!

Of course, injuries are a natural part of sport and not all injuries can be avoided. Below are some principles that should be followed in the subsequent days following an acute injury. These principles act not only to assist in recovery time but also to reduce the risk of reinjury.

Rest- keep the injured area supported and avoid using for 48-72hours

Ice- apply ice to the injured area for 15mins every two hours for the first 48-72hours. Note: do not apply ice directly to the skin, use a towel to cover the ice pack

Compression- apply a firm elastic bandage over the area (Above and below the injury site). This can help reduce swelling and blood loss.

Elevation- raise the injured area above the level of the heart as often as possible

Referral- if the pain persists, contact a health professional as soon as possible.



Heat- heat will increase bleeding

Alcohol- alcohol consumption increases bleeding and swelling in the affected area

Running- running or exercise increases blood flow, delaying healing

Massage also increases swelling and bleeding. Direct massage to the injured area may aggravate the damage tissue and is best avoided in the first 48-72hours of an acute injury.

For any queries regarding an injury prevention or exercise program, feel free to call us on 9583 5200 to book an appointment with one of our Exercise Physiologists today!