Cross country. Basketball. Football. Volleyball. These are high impact sports played by young athletes, who are more susceptible to joint injuries.

Joint injuries can be caused by injuries affecting ligaments or tendons surround the joint, or even arthritis and infection. Common joint injuries can include twisted ankles, sprained wrists and damaged knee ligaments.

“As a young athlete, you can put your body through a lot,” said JRMC Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Timothy Volk. “Injuries, especially if left untreated, can impact the body later on in life.”

If followed, these guidelines can help prevent future joint injuries:

1.  Gear up. Wearing the correct gear, from the right footwear to a joint brace, can help a person avoid joint injuries. When playing a new sport or doing a different exercise, make certain to have the proper gear. Correct gear is important because wearing a running shoe to play basketball versus a basketball shoe with high tops can increase the odds of spraining an ankle.

2.  Hydrate. Water helps to regulate body temperature and transport nutrients to the body. Staying hydrated can help decrease muscle cramps, dizziness and tiredness.

3.  Don’t overdo. Exercising on a regular basis is important; however, listen to your body. If pain is developing, reduce the frequency or intensity, as well as alternate between various exercises.

4.  Maintain a healthy weight. Joints help a person stay upright and the more weight increases the amount of pressure placed on a person’s joints.

5.  Strengthening exercises. Weight training can improve joint health by maintaining muscle strength which helps to stabilize joints and eliminate excess pressure from being built on them.

6.  Warm up and cool down. When muscles are stiff or tight, they can make the joint area more prone to injury. Stretch and warm up prior to working out and be sure to finish a work out by cooling down and stretching. This is especially important when workouts require quick movements, like basketball and volleyball.

“A person needs to know their limits and not exceed them during physical activities,” said JRMC Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Dean. “Joint injuries can be avoided by taking proper care them.”

Achy joints? Contact our orthopedics team and schedule direct: (701) 952-4878.


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