Station InitiativesWellness Wednesday


Don't get sidelined by a spring sports injury

Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-26 19:21:06-04

Spring is an injury prone time of year.

It’s not the season’s fault. It’s because children and adults see the sun and decide to go outside and get active. But there are things you need to do to ensure springtime sports injuries won’t sideline you.

“It’s important to remember that movement is medicine,” said Dr. Stessie Zimmerman, who specializes in pediatric sports medicine at Intermountain Health.

Zimmerman says getting active is good…when you’re smart about it. That’s because spring is also the time for young, old, and all in between, to act like we haven’t lost a step.

“With spring on the horizon, the sun's coming out. There's a lot of excitement to get outside. That's when we start to see more of our overuse injuries starting to come into the clinic. So those injuries that happen probably because you weren't warming up appropriately, not training appropriately, having too much volume come on too fast,” said Zimmerman.
Injury is possible in any physical activity. The National Safety Council reports the activities resulting in the most injuries are the things we do simply to get in shape – cardio and weightlifting, along with fitness classes. Cycling is next, followed by the two blacktop staples – basketball and skateboarding.

“It’s not just about competing at the highest level, it's about celebrating the capacity that we have to move regardless of our ability levels,” said Zimmerman.

Celebrate our capacity safely means realistically understanding our current capacity, and not overdoing it.

“It seems with each decade, the time for recovery slightly increases. We are just not as resilient as some of the young patients are,” said Zimmerman.

So, as we rise through the decades, we should increase the time we take to find our inner athlete.

“We should be cautious about how frequently we increase the intensity, or the volume of sports that we're doing. So, you know, a helpful guide is not to increase your training regimen by more than 10% Each week, just to allow yourself a slow ramp up to getting back into activity,” said Zimmerman.

Staying injury free means we stay out of the ER and stay on the court, in the pool, on the bike, at bat, and on the range.

Dr. Zimmerman works mostly with children and youth, but she and her Intermountain Health colleagues see a lot of adult athletes of all abilities.