protect against joint injury

4 Ways to Protect Your Joints From Injury

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Protecting Your Joints

For a lot of people, summer is the most active time of the year. It can be hard to resist heading outside to do any number of activities, from mowing the lawn to strolling in the park. Summer is also the season of golf, beach volleyball, swimming, and more. No one wants to be cooped up indoors when the sun is shining and there isn’t a cloud in the sky – but you might be if you don’t take care of your joints.

Although it may be more common to be more active in the summer, here in Vancouver, we’re lucky that we also have the mountains in our backyard. We are lucky to be able to participate in winter sports like snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing and mountain climbing. Not to mention all the indoor options like hockey, basketball and the traditional classes at your neighbourhood gym.

Here are some easy methods of protecting them in order to prevent injury.

Stretch To Protect Your Joints

The number one thing that you need to remember to do is stretch. Stretching loosens the ligaments and supports your muscles before beginning any strenuous activities, but after they are already warmed up and pliable. Stiff joints, unused muscles, and inactive bodies end up getting hurt. You might feel weird doing them, especially if you’re the only one in your group stretching out before that golf game, but your knees, hips, back, and shoulders will thank you. Thankfully, you only need to hold each stretch for around 15 to 30 seconds for the benefits. Studies have shown that static stretches can increase power, speed, and reduce injuries.

Stretching after your exercise is also a great way to cool down, slow your breath and and bring your body and mind back into a resting peaceful state.

Warm-Up Exercises for Joint Health

Speaking of getting ready for movement, you should also do a few warm-up exercises. Like stretching, they loosen up the joints and will prevent you from getting injured. There are 3 types of warm-up exercises:

  • Ballistic
    • These exercises involve bouncing or jerking. This helps extend limbs during exercise and promotes flexibility and agility
  • Static
    • These exercises involve flexing the muscles. They increase blood flow to the muscles and allow for more strength and flexibility.
  • Dynamic
    • These exercises involve moving the body incrementally more and more until you get to the full range of motion for that joint.

Use Wraps If You Need Additional Joint Stability

If you previously injured any joints and are concerned about a repeated injury or worsening an old injury,  using compression sleeves or ace bandages might be a good option for you.

Wrapping your knee, for example, will give you some extra stability and it will make that area of your body feel stronger while you’re exercising. You’re much less likely to overextend or strain your joints if you have them protected.

If you have previously injured a joint, strained, or sprained a muscle, ligament or tendon that isn’t healing well, prolotherapy or PRP injections might be the right treatment for you. These injections are natural and promote the healing of damaged tissue.

Joint Love – Contrast Hydrotherapy

A great tool that can be used to treat acute injuries is cold and hot therapy. It is now considered old medicine to ice injuries.

Although icing an injury will help with the pain, it is actually down-regulating the inflammatory reaction that will help heal the muscle, tendon or ligament.

By using heat and cold over an injury we can create a pump mechanism of blood flow, bringing more blood to the area to increase healing.

  • Ice
    • Constricts blood flow
    • Relieves pain
    • Reduces swelling, and redness
  • Heat
    • Increases blood flow
    • May cause more redness

Follow These Steps For Joint Injuries:

The Protocols:
These are for non-traumatic sports injuries such as strains and sprains. For individualized protocols specific to your injury, contact us at Bay Wellness Centre where we can use acupuncture, cupping, IMS, prolotherapy or PRP injections.
Immediate: 0-24 hours
1-3 minutes of ice alternating with 10 minutes of room temp water, repeat 2-3 times, up to 12x/day (hourly). Always end your cycle in cold.
Acute: 24-72 hours
1 minute of ice alternating with 4 minutes of lukewarm water, repeat 4-5 times, 2-3x/day. Always end your cycle in cold.
Subacute: 72 hours – 2 weeks
1 minutes of ice alternating with 3 minutes of heat, repeat three times, 2-3x/day/ Always end your cycle in cold.
Chronic: 2 weeks +
30 seconds of ice alternating with 3 minutes of heat repeat three times, 2-3x/day. Always end your cycle in cold.