Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates in Shelby wants you to take proper precautions for the spring sports season and reduce injury risk

Spring is finally here and sunny skies are ahead of us for the next few months. The warmer weather also means that spring sports have already started back up. Baseball, track and field, lacrosse, tennis, golf and a number of other sports will soon pick up once again if they haven’t already done so. For young athletes, this can be an exciting time for them to get physically active outdoors in their favorite sport after the long winter.

At the same time, the return to sports also comes with an increased risk of injury for these young athletes. Some athletes enter the spring season after competing in various other sports throughout the rest of the year, and it takes some time for their bodies to adapt to whichever spring sport they’re participating in. Others may not be involved in any sports over the past few months and need extra time to get back into proper shape for the season.

Even athletes who spend most of the year committed to a single sport—like baseball—carry their own injury risk into the spring. Repetitive training in the same sport fails to work other parts of the body, meaning some reflexes and responses are overdeveloped, while others are underdeveloped. These athletes therefore require additional training too.

Overuse injuries, which occur when certain motions are repeated over and over, are especially common this time of year. Players may rush into training without taking enough time to rest and recover. Some of the more common injuries seen in spring sports are labral tears and ulnar collateral ligament tears in baseball, ankle sprains in lacrosse, knee injuries in track and field, and tennis elbow and shoulder injuries in tennis.

The best way to prevent these injuries is by taking steps to make sure young athletes are prepared for the season and encouraging them to not overdo it with training. Here are some tips to help parents and coaches prepare young athletes for spring sports:

  • Perform a functional preparation evaluation, which includes questions like: can you squat all the way down while keeping your feet flat/bend forward and touch your toes/stand on one leg without losing balance; if young athletes have difficulty with any of these movements, certain areas may need to be worked on
  • With the help of a physical therapist, create a conditioning/prevention program to ensure all athletes are in shape for the season
  • Start using a warm-up protocol like PEP (Prevent Injury, Enhance Performance), which addresses potential deficits in strength and coordination
  • Use strength training to rebuild muscles that haven’t been used in a while
  • Encourage young athletes to start out slowly and to gradually increase the intensity of their workouts as the season progresses
  • Make sure athletes stretch thoroughly before and after playing
  • Check all equipment and replace anything that’s worn-out or old

The spring season is a great time for young athletes to make their way back to the baseball diamond or lacrosse field, and it shouldn’t be disturbed by an unnecessary injuries. Follow these tips and if you need more assistance, or for any other aches or pains, Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates in Shelby and Kings Mountain, NC are here to help. Call us at 704-471-0001 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates recommends these tips while cleaning gutters to avoid a fall or injury

Very few people actually enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean cleaning your gutters has to be done anyways. Gutter cleaning is an essential job typically done before winter sets in to prepare houses from any future rain or snow, as a drainage system that doesn’t flow properly can cause significant damage to a house. Aside from the fact that most people aren’t particularly fond of this housework, the opportunity for falls and other injuries is also quite high, mainly because it’s performed off the ground.

Falls are the number one cause of accidental injury and death in homes every year, and other unexpected injuries may occur in the process of cleaning gutters as well. While this might make the thought of cleaning your gutters even more daunting, the truth is most of these accidents result from a lack of attention to possible dangers, and in the majority of injuries can be prevented if certain precautions are taken.

By being cautious and taking specific safety measures, you can help ensure you’re doing all you can to get the job done and avoid an injury. Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates recommends the following safety tips for gutter cleaning:

  • Partner: having someone else assist you by passing tools and holding the ladder will make the job both faster and safer; at the least, let someone know you’re cleaning gutters and have them check on you periodically
  • Gloves: wear a pair of gloves (a thick, suede pair is best), to prevent contact with mold and protect you from sticks and other sharp objects
  • Protective eyewear: use goggles or other eyewear to keep the eyes safe
  • Ladders: use a safe, sturdy ladder, preferably made of fiberglass or aluminum (avoid wood); four-legged step ladders are recommended for one-story and extension ladders for two-stories or more; always maintain three points of contact with the ladder (two hands and one foot, etc.)
  • Rubber shoes: if you happen to be cleaning the gutters from the roof, use rubber-soled shoes, which will help avoid slipping and reduce fall risk
  • Gutter scoop: a plastic gutter scoop (not metal) is recommended as the most efficient tool for cleaning out gutters
  • Bucket and rope: attach a bucket to the shelf on the ladder to clear debris and prevent too much reaching

You certainly don’t have to love cleaning gutters, but by making sure you’re using the right tools and taking appropriate safety precautions, at least you’ll know you’re reducing your chance of injury while doing it. For more guidance on gutter cleaning or for any other aches or pains, Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates is here to help. Call 704-471-0001 to learn more or to schedule an appointment at either or our two locations in Shelby or Kings Mountain, NC.

Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates can help treat patellar tendinits common in sports that involve lots of jumping

Too much jumping without adequate rest in sports can lead to some problems. One of these is patellar tendinits, or jumper’s knee, which is a painful overuse injury to the patellar tendon that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia).

The injury can occur in athletes of any sport, but those who participate in sports with a significant amount of jumping—like basketball, volleyball, high jump and soccer—are at an increased risk of developing jumper’s knee. This is due to the fact that all the jumping, landing and changing direction necessary in these sports can strain or damage the patellar tendon and eventually lead to further complications.

In effect, this stress on the tendon creates small tears, and over time, too many of these tears can cause symptoms. Typical symptoms of jumper’s knee are pain just below the kneecap, stiffness in the knee (especially while jumping, kneeling or climbing stairs), pain in the thigh muscles (quadriceps) or weakness in the legs or calves. When this pain progresses too far, it can come to a point where it interferes with sporting activities and simply getting around in daily life.

Some athletes may regard jumper’s knee as a minor injury that they can work through and that it will resolve itself, but sadly this is not the case. Jumper’s knee is a serious injury, and pushing through the pain will only lead to larger tears and more pain, which will become even more difficult to treat.

If you’re experiencing knee pain and these symptoms sound familiar, it may be jumper’s knee. The good news is you can take steps to treat it, and we can help:

  • Rest from any activity or modify your training to significantly limit the amount of jumping or impact you put on your knees
  • Ice your knee after participating and elevate it any time it hurts
  • Wear a knee or support or strap below your kneecap while playing, which will minimize pain and relieve strain on the patellar tendon
  • Visit us for additional treatment. Treatment will include the following:
  •    Manual therapy
  •    Stretching exercises to reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility
  •    Strengthening exercises for your quadriceps and calves, which will build leg strength and help prevent further injury
  •    Education on how to best return to sports in a gradual manner that’s based on your abilities as they return

If you rest, modify your activities and see a physical therapist, chances are high you’ll be able to return to sports eventually without any additional symptoms. If you’re involved in a jumping sport or are experiencing any pain in your knees, visit Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates at either or our two locations in Shelby or Kings Mountain, NC. Call 704-471-0001 for more information or to schedule an appointment.