From leg pain to shoulder pain, from kids to senior, sports injury prevention is a critical topic. By properly warming up, practicing safe movements, and reducing the chance of overuse injuries, though, you can help prevent sports injuries from occurring. This is important, because the worst sports injuries can lead to chronic pain conditions that can last a lifetime. If you have been impacted by a sports injury, we also discuss the best at-home remedies for treating them.

Basic sports injury prevention tips

1. Prevent injuries before they occur

The best way to avoid sports injuries is to take precautions and prevent injuries from occurring. Any sort of sports activity or workout should start with a warm-up of stretches and light exercises. This increases blood flow and flexibility.

While there have recently been some studies questioning the necessity of warming up prior to physical activity, common sense still dictates initiating some movement in your body before diving into the game. Everyone from professional athletes to Olympians move their bodies before they begin their sport. It’s hard to imagine a quarterback throwing a 50-yard pass fresh out of bed in the morning.

Take your cue from the professionals and prepare your body with a little stretching, some jumping jacks, or a quick jog.

18 Tips For Sports Injury Prevention (And How To Treat 'Em) | PainDoctor.com

2. Don’t push yourself too hard, too fast

In the heat of the moment, it is possible to push yourself too hard, too fast. If you lead a sedentary life for 364 days of the year and then participate in a full-contact weekend of football with your friends, chances are excellent that you will come away with an injury.

Although it can be difficult to hold back when you are having fun (and feeling good in the moment), try to work up to more rigorous sports instead of jumping right in. Work on building strength and stamina with strength training and cardiovascular exercises before you put in 110%.

3. Wear the right equipment for sports injury prevention

Having the proper equipment, such as footwear, is also important to avoiding sports injuries. Shoes that have adequate support and fit properly are a must, as is having the correct shoes for each activity. This can aid in prevention of several conditions, such as heel spurs, sprained ankles, and shin splints.

4. Avoid overuse injuries

Many sports injuries are a direct result of performing the same action over and over again. Sports injury prevention focuses on reducing these repetitive movements, when possible. While this repetition builds up skill and muscle memory, it also places strain on the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the area being used.

Mix it up with cross-training. Cross-training exercises different parts of the body to give the most-used areas some much-needed rest, or it distributes the burden of motion over the whole body instead of just one area. If you are a tennis player, giving your upper body a break with rollerblading or surfing is a great way to minimize the possibility of injury due to overuse.

5. Allow your body time to heal

To make sure a sports injury doesn’t become recurring or chronic pain, patients should allow adequate time for the injury to heal.

Once a sports injury has healed, activity should be resumed gradually. If pain is experienced again, it means that the injury isn’t healed yet and more rest is required. The same guidelines for avoiding a sports injury, such as warming up before activity, avoiding overexertion, and obtaining proper sports equipment, can aid in avoiding recurring or chronic sports injuries.

6. Inspect the playing area for any debris or holes

For games like soccer, especially, check the playing area for any debris, holes, or other items that could hurt you. Checking for these items early, rather than later, is a great way to get ready for the game and practice sports injury prevention.

7. Use your protective equipment

If official rules suggest wearing protective equipment, use it. Even if it’s not suggested, use any protective or assistive devices you need to play the game safely. This may include knee braces or elbow pads. Learn more about basic sports injury prevention in our infographic on soccer injuries. Soccer is an important sport to be aware of, since many youth sports injuries occur on the soccer field.

18 Tips For Sports Injury Prevention (And How To Treat 'Em) | PainDoctor.com

Sports injury prevention for leg pain 

Sports injuries are a common occurrence among both professional and non-professional athletes. Out of the seven most common sports injuries, five affect the legs. If ignored, some of these sports injuries can lead to chronic leg pain from sports injuries.

8. Be aware of the causes of leg pain from sports injuries

Many sports injuries that can eventually lead to chronic leg pain are the result of overexertion or a poor warm-up routine.

A sprain occurs when a muscle is pulled too far, such as when the ankle rolls while running or walking. Indeed, sprained ankles are so common that approximately 25,000 occur every day. Maintaining a regular warm-up routine will keep muscles strong and flexible, which can help prevent sprained muscles. Another simple way for sports injury prevention with sprains–especially sprained ankles–is to pay attention. Unnoticed obstacles or uneven surfaces can cause a fall that leads to a sports injury.

The recommended treatment for a sprained muscle is the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. If a person is still experiencing pain, over-the-counter medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs), can alleviate discomfort. Once the sprain has begun to heal, it’s important to become mobile again, although patients should be careful to avoid overexertion of the injured muscle.

We’ll discuss sport injuries treatments later in this post.

9. Avoid foot pain conditions from sports injuries

Other potential causes of leg pain from sports injuries have to do with the connective tissue surrounding the heel bone.

The large bone forming the heel of the foot, called the calcaneus, is surrounded by fibrous tissue called the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia connects the heel to the ball of the foot. When this connective tissue is subjected to excessive strain, it can become painful and inflamed. This condition is called plantar fasciitis.

When the plantar fascia around the heel bone degenerates, though, it can put excess pressure on the heel bone, which can in turn lead to the formation of heel spurs. These are spur-shaped calcifications that usually develop on the bottom or back of the heel bone. Heel spurs are sometimes painless enough to go without notice, but other times heel spurs are to blame for chronic leg pain. This calcification is sometimes described as feeling like a knife or pin trying to poke through the skin. People who put excessive strain on their feet, such as athletes or those who spend a lot of time standing, are most at risk for heel spurs.

The pain from heel spurs, like that from other sports injuries, is sometimes responsive to over-the-cou