How To Prevent Lacrosse Injuries
Common Injuries in Lacrosse
Strains: strains happen when a muscle gets overstretched. Pain, muscle spasm, weakness, and sometimes swelling can all be signs of a strain.
Tendon injuries: tendons are how muscles attach to bones. The achilles tendon (back of heel) or quadriceps tendon (front of knee) can often get sore in lacrosse with overuse!
Sprains: a sprain can occur when a ligament (how bones attach to other bones) get overstretched and damage or pain can occur. Ankle and knee sprains are common and often show up with swelling, bruising, and pain.
Contusions (bruises!): This can happen when there is a direct blow to the skin, and often shows up with bruising and sometimes swelling.
Shin splints: Shin splints refer to pain along the front of the shin and is an overuse injury. This can be common with box lacrosse due to the hard playing surface!
Blisters: blisters are pockets of fluid under the skin caused by friction. Equipment that is too small or too large may cause blisters.
Proper Equipment for Injury Prevention
Shoes are a very important part of your equipment! For box lacrosse, the right type of shoes can help prevent ankle sprains and reduce shin splints.
- Volleyball or basketball shoes have high ankle support which helps with tight cutting, in addition to a good cushion for the hard surfaces in box lacrosse
- The fit of the shoe is just as important! Shoes that are too big and allow too much foot movement won’t be very stable, but shoes that are too tight may cause blisters or pain. You want a little bit of extra room at the toe, but the heel shouldn’t move while jumping or running. Lace up shoes are key!
Your Helmet is really important to protect your skull! It can help prevent skull fractures, but it can’t prevent concussion. A good fitting helmet should feel snug but not tight! If a helmet is too big, it can’t do its proper job.
Shoulder Pads/Arm Pads, Rib Pads, Jill/Jockstrap, and Gloves, all of these are important to have a good fit and are specific to lacrosse. Equipment that is too small may rub on the skin or expose areas that may lead to bruises. If it’s too big, it may slide around or limit movement.
Mouthguard, make sure it is the right size to help protect the teeth!
How to Prevent Lacrosse Injuries
Sleep: getting less than 8 hours of sleep can increase your risk of injuries by 70%! Sleep can help you recover and improve reaction time.
Conditioning and strength: Improving your fitness and strength can make a big difference in improving your game! As you get stronger, you will need to do more to keep up that strength. During the off-season or any long period of rest injuries are more likely to happen. Both undertraining and overtraining can increase risk for injury. Try these 2-3x/week!
Warm-ups: A good warm-up is key to preventing injuries! The University of Calgary has created a great warm-up program to try if you want more ideas before a practice/game.
Mobility: Mobility can help with the feeling of stiff muscles and can help improve performance. Holding the same position for a long time doesn’t seem to be as helpful as dynamic (moving) stretches. Move in and out of each position, holding 2-5 seconds.
When to Seek Help After A Lacrosse Injury
When an injury first happens, a good acronym to follow is PEACE for the first 72 hours:
P = Protect: Limit use and restrict movements of the area for 1-3 days.
E = Elevate: Place the injured limb above the heart to reduce swelling
A = AVOID anti-inflammatories (like Advil/ Ibuprofen) new evidence shows this can slow down healing! Talk to your pharmacist about other pain relief options.
C = Compression of the injury site can help reduce swelling- snug not tight!
E= Education! Understanding your injury and the best type of treatment is key.
If you are still having pain after 1-2 weeks, it’s a great idea to check in with your physiotherapist. If a concussion is suspected, it’s important to get it checked by a doctor right away. Physiotherapy can be important to get players back to sport safely and can help with managing symptoms for sport and school.
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