Another predictor of secondary injury potential is level of experience. More than three years of experience doing a sport or activity reduces your chance of injury. In addition, the frequency or amount of exercise can have an effect.
Running more than 40 miles per week, for instance, greatly increases your chance of injury. And running on concrete more than two-thirds of the time more than triples the chance that you'll be injured. Reducing mileage and running on grass or a track made of synthetic material may help. Similarly, aerobic dance enthusiasts may benefit from choosing a cushioned workout surface.
Increasing the intensity of your activities also may predispose you to a secondary injury Experts haven't come to a consensus yet on how much of an increase is too much, but most suggest increasing intensity time or distance by no more than 10 percent a week.
Don't Forget the First Injury
A secondary injury is not the only injury that requires treatment; the primary injury also needs to be considered. A good sports-medicine physician will gather a complete medical history to help diagnose the cause of the injuries and establish a comprehensive program for rehabilitation.
The first injury may not fully heal if the original cause of the injury remains or if the repaired tissue functions abnormally. Some injuries are so severe that they may develop into a permanent condition. For example, a broken leg could cause a permanent leg-length discrepancy, which, unrecognized and left untreated, could result in knee, hip or back pain.
Injuries like this may necessitate taking a new course with your exercise program. Instead of pounding out the miles on pavement, switch to watching them roll smoothly by on a bicycle. This will remove the repeated stress and trauma of weight-bearing impact on the ankles, knees and hips.
So what is the best way to avoid a secondary injury?
Table of Contents
Foreword: Billie Jean King
Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Common Medical Problems
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Sports Medicine Questions?
Dr. Carol L. Otis, MD. FACSM.
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