A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Summer spoilers: 7 common summer sports injuries

Women riding bicycle

Cyclists have a number of obstacles when outside, especially with cross country cycling or dirt biking.

Summer is perfect for outside sports with family and friends at home, in the park or on the water, or for summer league or sports camps. Summertime is also primetime for sports injuries. Avoid these seven common injuries that can spoil your summertime fun.

1. Ankle sprains

Dr. Laurel Rudolph, a Marshfield Clinic sports medicine provider, says ankle sprains are among the top three most common summertime injuries. They can happen at family picnics, sand volleyball leagues, parks or other uneven surfaces.

“We go by what’s called the Ottawa rule,” Rudolph said. “If they can bear weight for three steps and there are no gross deformities, you have time to see a provider. We suggest the R-I-C-E protocol, which is rest, ice, compression and elevation. But if the ankle is painful or deformed, they will probably need an X-ray.”

2. Trampoline injuries

Kids on trampolines also can lead to summertime injuries.

“Falling off the trampoline can cause injury but more injuries occur when there are multiple people jumping ‘round together,” Rudolph said.

Dr. Rudolph has treated bad fractures and soft tissue and muscle strain injuries that occurred from jumping on trampolines.

3. Overuse injuries in adults

At the beginning of the year, many people make a commitment to lose weight. Some decide to transition from an indoor track or treadmill to running outside.

Depending on the running surface, experience and if you’re increasing mileage, you can get overuse injuries, such as stress fractures in your legs, from improper training. This also can happen if you don’t normally exercise but decide to do a “fun run” or 5K with a friend who is an avid runner.

Craft a running program that slowly increases distance and intensity to avoid overuse injuries.

4. Overuse injuries in kids

Student athletes frequently attend multiple sports camps during the summer. Dr. Rudolph has seen students who have two camps for two different sports in one day, which often means more than five or six hours of play.

“Some of these athletes are deconditioned if they’re not in a spring sport,” Rudolph said. “But a lot of these athletes participate in sports year round and do not get a break.”

Overuse injuries that can occur include stress fractures in the foot and tibia, or overuse of shoulder muscles because of frequent throwing. Youth baseball players often suffer from elbow problems caused by overuse.

5. Bicycle injuries

Cyclists have a number of obstacles when outside, especially with cross country cycling or dirt biking. Clavicle fractures can occur from falling over the handle bars.

Cyclists also can get knee pain if they haven’t biked in a year then go on a long bike ride. Like runners, cyclists also should slowly increase conditioning to prepare for longer rides.

6. Upper extremity injuries

Clavicle fractures are common and are often seen in children who spend time at the skate park or rollerblading. Such injuries can occur with certain water sports. Dr. Rudolph has seen some significant fractures that occurred while tubing, wakeboarding or water skiing.

7. Eye injuries

In adult summer baseball and softball leagues, participants do not usually wear protective face equipment.

“People need to always be aware of where the ball was hit, even during warm-ups,” Rudolph said.

Other eye injuries can come from debris in a river while swimming, not wearing protective eyewear while in the sun or not maintaining safe distances when casting.

If you think you have any of these injuries, contact your provider or decide whether you should go to urgent care or the emergency department.

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