Father teaching son to ride a bicycle

When the summer months arrive, it’s time to head outdoors and have some fun. You may enjoy gathering with friends at the lake, bicycling, or playing team sports outdoors. Whatever your passion is, stay safe to avoid injuries this summer.

Common Summer Injuries and Tips to Prevent Them

Water Sports Injuries: A great day on the water can quickly become an unwelcome visit to the doctor. Rough waters, taking risks, and not having proper gear can all make you more susceptible to injuries. Water sports enthusiasts and beginners alike can suffer knee, ankle, and even back injuries from falls.

A fall while water skiing or wakeboarding can cause significant lower extremity injuries at the hip, knee, and ankle because of the forceful twisting of the leg that can occur when your foot is secured in the binding. Often multiple fractures and ligamentous injuries can occur during summer from these exhilarating high-energy activities. Ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can calm down minor contusions or sprains. However, the inability to bear weight on a lower extremity or pain for more than 48 hours will merit a visit to your orthopedist. If you have symptoms of whiplash or discomfort after taking a hard fall in the water, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Running Injuries: Many of us look forward to lacing up our shoes and hitting the pavement or the beach each summer. If you’re a runner, it’s important to be aware of running-related injuries for prevention. Runner’s knee is a common overuse injury which causes the kneecap to become out of alignment. Other common running injuries are stress fractures, ankle sprains, and inflammatory conditions, such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

Runners should wear good supportive running shoes, warm up and cool down appropriately, and gradually increase mileage. Replace your shoes every 300-400 miles or when you see signs of wear.

If you develop knee, foot, or ankle pain that does not subside after a few days, it may be prudent to have it checked out by an orthopedic surgeon. It’s important to have your injury assessed early to prevent further injury to the damaged area.

Bicycle Injuries: Cycling is an excellent form of exercise that many people enjoy during the summer. Whether you enjoy leisurely bike rides with family and friends or you ride for miles to reach your fitness goals, you are susceptible to injuries.

Bike injuries can result from falls, accidents, and lack of awareness. Biking in the city can be especially dangerous. In addition to the stress and strain from a long ride, watch out for an unexpected opening of a car door. Getting ‘doored’ is a common bike injury that can lead to severe upper extremity injuries.

Cycling causes strain on different parts of your body. Sitting in one position for an extended time can put stress on your lower back and spine. Improper footwear can lead to lingering knee pain. Ensure you have proper footwear that is firmly attached to the pedals. Pay attention to your posture and make adjustments so your bike fits your body just right. Be aware of vehicles and other cyclists. Always wear protective gear, and don’t forget to rest when you need it.

Don’t allow injuries to keep you from the activities you enjoy. Illinois Bone & Joint Institute personalized quality care for athletes and weekend warriors. Our sports medicine team can assess, diagnose and provide effective treatment options for you.

Jeffrey Ackerman, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute  specializing in hip and knee reconstruction and hip preservation. Fellowship trained in complex primary and revision hip and knee replacement procedures, Dr. Ackerman performs minimally invasive anterior and posterior approach hip replacements, and treats adolescents, young adults, and athletes with hip disorders.

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