Major events like the Olympics can inspire people of all ages to try out a new sport or activity. Dr. Kelechi Okoroha, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon, wants people to get involved in new activities while recognizing some of the common sports injuries that can occur.
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“Whenever you’re starting a new sport, you always want to work your way into it,” says Dr. Okoroha.
Besides getting a good warmup and stretching, one of the most important things athletes can do to avoid injury when starting a new sport is to master the movements.
“It’s important to emphasize proper mechanics when doing these sporting activities,” says Dr. Okoroha.
For jumping athletes, such as football or basketball players, common injuries can come from not landing properly.
“A lot of times when athletes land, they have either weakness in their hips or their knees, and they land in a valgus, or knock-kneed position,” he explains.
Landing in this way can lead to an increased risk of ACL and meniscus injuries.
“To prevent that, you want to pair with a physical therapist to do jump training to make sure you’re landing straight and not in valgus,” says Dr. Okoroha.
Once you have the proper mechanics down, it’s important to strengthen those muscle movements through practice.
Dr. Okoroha also notes that fatigue can increase valgus knee landing. Endurance training can decrease fatigue, and therefore valgus landing.
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