If untreated the injured area may become more painful, weak, inflexible and unstable and participation in sports may become more difficult.
You can reduce the risk of injury by the following steps:
Get fit for your sport – Basic fitness training can help you to perform better, safer and more enjoyably. Typically this involves some aerobic exercise (such as walking, jogging, cycling) and some strength training.
Stretching – Warming up by starting the activity slowly and building up over 10 minutes, then stretching gently and correctly does help to reduce the risk of injury.
Make sure there are no ‘weak links’ – If you know you have a weakness or slight injury – even if not caused by sport, then consult with a physician or physiotherapist about it.
Avoid ‘too much, too soon, too often’ – Being enthusiastic about a sport or keen to get fit can result in you trying to do too much. Avoid sessions that are excessively long, too intense or too frequent. It is sensible to vary what you do so that you do not try to repeat the same thing from one day to another. This also prevents boredom from setting in!
Rest – Muscles and tendons do need time to recover and a rest day or two per week is helpful rather than harmful. Do not use it as an excuse to lie on the couch – find other activities to do such as a gentle swim, walk, gardening – or even cleaning the house!
Get advice – Experience is a key factor in staying fit and injury-free long term. If you need advice even on basic issues, never feel embarrassed to ask a professional.
Equipment – Make sure you are adequately equipped for your sport. The wrong tennis racket, the wrong shoe, etc. can make all the difference. Do not be fooled into thinking that the most expensive item is always the right choice.
Technique – Sometimes the technique you are using (e.g. golf swing) can be at fault. An instructor can spot subtle errors and make a bid difference both to your performance and your injury risk.