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  Injury Prevention: Keep Your Body Out of the Shop  
 

Just like your car, the muscles and bones in your body can get worn out from overuse. Here’s a few ways that you can still perform some of your favorite activities—while minimizing pain.

The human body is a finely tuned machine. More than 200 joints work together, connecting your more than 200 bones, allowing you to walk around the block, give your child a hug, and dance to your favorite tune. But just like a car’s pistons and gears, your tendons, muscles, and bones sustain wear and tear from repeated use. Overuse injuries usually occur over time. Pain, numbness, and having trouble doing the activity that caused the problem—whether it’s running, tennis, or typing —are red flags.

Shin Splints Shouldn’t Ruin Your Workout

Pain in your shins during and after A just like your car, the muscles and bones in your body can get worn out from overuse. here’s a few ways that you can still perform some of your favorite activities—while minimizing pain. exercise, known as shin splints, is a common overuse injury. Runners are often victims.  But doing any activity that involves your feet continually hitting the ground—even walking or dancing—can put you at risk. Several factors can increase the risk of shin splints. These include:

• Trying to do too much, too quickly

• Flat feet

• Exercising on hard surfaces

• Wearing old or insufficiently padded shoes

• Not stretching or warming up enough If you think you have shin splints, stop or cut back on the activity that’s causing harm. To relieve pain, try icing your shin or taking anti-inflammatory medications.

You can resume your old routine once the activity no longer causes pain. But build up gradually and be diligent about warming up and stretching. In addition, stick to softer surfaces and make sure your shoes are well-padded.

If these self-care measures don’t help and the pain persists, make an appointment with your doctor.

Take Steps to Prevent Stress Fractures

If your shin splints don’t respond to treatment—or if you develop pain in your foot when you exercise—you might have a stress fracture. These tiny bone cracks develop when tired muscles transfer their stress to bones. They most often occur below the knees.  Treatment includes six to eight weeks of rest from the activity that caused the cracks.  To prevent these painful breaks:

• Never increase the amount of physical activity you do by more than 10 percent each week. This applies to the number of miles you walk or run, how much time you spend exercising, or how much weight you lift.

• Cross-train. If you’re a walker or runner, incorporate biking and swimming into your routine. Add some strength and flexibility exercises for the optimal balance.

• Eat a healthy diet. Include a lot of calcium and vitamin D for strong bones.

• Replace your running or walking shoes if they’re worn.

Finding Relief from ‘BlackBerry Thumb’ Too much texting on the tiny keys of a personal digital assistant (PDA) can leave your thumbs and hands sore, swollen, or numb. Thumbs, the least dexterous of our digits, are not designed for the fast, repetitive, and limited range of movements needed in typing.  These strategies can help you avoid pain:

• To reduce stress, type with the PDA on a pillow or other support in your lap to keep wrists more upright.

• Make messages brief and take frequent breaks.

• Use other fingers to type.

• Stretch your hands periodically.  Repetitive stress injuries like this can aggravate underlying arthritis, especially in middle-aged or older adults. See your doctor if pain doesn’t subside.

 

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