Injury Prevention

Injury Prevention

Don't let the fear of reinjury keep you from the activities you love most.

Injury Prevention in St. Louis. Whether you’re an athlete hoping for a shot at the next level, or a recent retiree who wants to spend more time bike riding, don’t let the fear of reinjury keep you from the activities you love and the happy, healthy lifestyle you desire. While our licensed and professional St. Louis physical therapists spend much of their time helping athletes and others recover from injury, we are complete movement health specialists who can evaluate your movement, muscle and joint strength, and flexibility to guide you through techniques that are proven to prevent injury. Request an appointment at Axes Physical Therapy today or call the location nearest you.

Physical activity is vitally important to many St. Louis residents. We love activities such as playing sports, biking, playing golf, or other physical activities. Additionally, keeping an active lifestyle helps prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, depression and anxiety, and many types of cancers. Not only can physical therapy with one of Axes’ licensed St. Louis physical therapists help you come back even stronger after an injury, but our injury prevention specialists can help you reduce the risk of further injury. All of our treatment plans, for both recovery and injury prevention, are based on evidence-backed techniques and are personalized to each client and the activities they want to return to.

If you’ve recently sustained an injury, or have a nagging injury that won’t heal on its own, contact the Axes Physical Therapy location nearest you in St. Louis for a free injury screening. To take preventative measures to reduce your chance of an injury and protect your active lifestyle, keep reading or call to speak to a physical therapist today.

Injuries Axes PT Can Help Prevent in St. Louis

Injuries typically fall into two categories:

  1. Overuse injuries are injuries that are caused by repetitive movements over time. They are common in overhead athletes such as tennis or volleyball players and commonly manifest themselves as joint pain.
  2. Acute injuries are injuries that happen because of a specific and sudden trauma. Examples include falling, landing on uneven ground, or receiving a blow. These can result in bruises, sprains and strains, fractures, and dislocations.

Some common injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, can result from either overuse or acute trauma. Other injuries, such as ACL tears, are almost always the result of trauma, such as receiving a direct blow to the knee.

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What Causes Injuries? | Injury Prevention in St. Louis

While injuries can happen in a variety of circumstances, and some are unpreventable, they generally happen because your soft tissue, bones, and joints cannot handle the force, torque, or stretching that they are subjected to in a given movement or collision. There are three primary causes of why your body cannot adjust to an activity:

1. Muscle Imbalance

Muscle balance is key to supporting joints and reducing injury. Imbalance can lead to an overreliance on one muscle group, causing it to perform actions it cannot do safely. It can also lead to poor posture, and one set of muscles becoming tired sooner, making them more susceptible to injuries. Injuries can be caused by poor muscle balance between muscle groups, such as having a strong bicep and weak tricep, or within muscle groups, such as an imbalance between the four muscles of the rotator cuff. Muscle imbalance can lead to:

Personalized injury prevention with our professional physical therapists in St. Louis will ensure that your muscles are at optimal proportional strength.

2. Movement Dysfunction

Movement dysfunction can impact your stability and lead to your body bending in unnatural ways, causing injury. It can be caused by a range of musculoskeletal issues. Symptoms include:

  • Joint mobility restrictions
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Coordination deficits
  • Reduced balance

When you first visit our injury prevention specialists in St. Louis, we’ll go over your medical history and perform a base evaluation to identify the root causes of your movement dysfunction. Then, together with your doctor or any other providers involved in your care, we’ll come up with a personalized game plan based on empirically-backed research and studies to get your movement back on track.

3. Posture Dysfunction

Bad posture doesn’t just affect people with desk jobs. Athletes and others with active lifestyles can suffer from postural dysfunction when resting, driving, or in specific positions necessary for their sport. Good posture refers to proper alignments of the neck, torso, pelvis, and extremities in a way that encourages our spine to stay in its natural curves. Poor posture can compact the bones of the spine, which interferes with our body’s ability to communicate with itself and achieve optimal motion health. It can also lead to:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Poor positioning
  • Joint mobility restrictions
  • Poor muscle recruitment

By teaching you the best practices for posture, we’ll aid in your injury prevention by ensuring you are using your muscles equally, your flexibility is not jeopardized, and your vertebrae remain in place.

Keys to Injury Prevention in St. Louis

All sports and physical activities carry an inherent risk of injury. No one technique, safety tip, or precaution is 100% foolproof in injury prevention. However, there are several steps you can take to make sure your body is prepared for your desired activity level and reduce the risk of injury:

  • Take breaks — Your body needs time to rest and recover after any moderate to intense activity. If you’re heavily active, make sure to take one or two days off per week to allow your body to naturally heal any mild pain or soreness. If you’re moderately active, take it easy for the few hours after an activity so you don’t overwork your muscles and joints.
  • Wear the appropriate equipment — Helmets, shin guards, elbow pads, and other equipment necessary in many sports can help prevent injuries like bruises, cuts, or concussions. If you’ve had a previous injury, your St. Louis physician or physical therapist may recommend braces or Kinesio Taping® to stabilize the affected area. Other measures like tying your cleats tightly can further help injury prevention by stabilizing your joints.
  • Strengthen muscles — Strengthening soft tissue like your muscles, tendons, and ligaments helps them stand up to the rigors of heavy activity. In your personalized injury prevention program with our licensed St. Louis physical therapists, we’ll work to achieve optimal muscle balance and strengthen the smaller muscles needed to safely participate in the activities you love.
  • Increase flexibility — Stretching accomplishes three important things for injury prevention:
    1. It increases your range of motion, which allows for your tendons and ligaments to handle more dramatic movements and positions.
    2. It increases circulation, which allows for nutrient-rich blood to flow to your muscles, removing waste byproduct and revitalizing the muscles.
    3. It improves your posture, which we already know is an important part of injury prevention.

    According to studies, sports like football and soccer that require bouncing and jumping require muscles and tendons compliant enough to store and release the high amount of energy required. Also, remember to stretch and warm up before any physical activity to further reduce the risk of injury.

  • Use proper techniques — In every sport and physical activity, there is an accepted way to position and move your body. These techniques not only improve performance but help reduce the risk of injury. Football players learn to tackle a certain way to avoid a head injury, and swimmers learn the proper strokes to use the appropriate muscles. We use DorsaVi video motion analysis to break down your movement and educate you on how to both improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury.
  • Listen to your body — If you feel pain in a muscle or joint, that’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you feel a sudden pain or a sudden pop, crack, or grinding sensation, stop immediately and get the appropriate medical treatment. If your body isn’t feeling up to a particularly rigorous training session, don’t force it.
  • Don’t play through an injury — While playing through pain is often viewed as a valiant act among competitors, playing with soft tissue or structural damage could exacerbate a current injury and leave you off the field or court for much longer than you would have been sitting out. Depending on the nature and severity of your injury, you may use methods like the R.I.C.E. method, seeing your doctor or urgent care, and rehab with a physical therapist to make sure your body heals properly and can handle the activity you want to return to.
  • Follow the rules — Many sports have special rules at different levels in the interest of safety. Penalties for targeting in football, rules against head-first sliding in baseball, and even the presence of bike lanes are examples of rules put in place to prevent injuries to ourselves and others. There’s a reason those rules exist, and a reason that there are penalties for them.
  • Consult a licensed physical therapist — It’s a good idea to get a physical before starting another season or committing yourself to any strenuous physical activity. While there, ask your doctor if injury prevention with a professional physical therapist in St. Louis is right for you. All of our techniques have been proven to reduce the risk of injury, and we’ll personalize your program to your age, injury history, and which activities you want to participate in.

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Injury Prevention for Older St. Louis Adults

Falls in adults over 65 accounted for over 3 million emergency room visits and more than 34,000 deaths. Studies show that physical activity can go a long way in preventing falls. Other conditions such as arthritis that accumulate over time can be slowed down by physical therapy exercises that keep your soft tissue and joints healthy, active, and strong. While the physical demands for older adults may not be as high as an athlete, the same principles of strength, balance, flexibility, and correct posture can greatly aid in injury prevention.

St. Louis Injury Prevention | Axes Physical Therapy

Being injured in something you love doing can create a mental block that keeps us from experiencing the same freedom, exhilaration, and joy. The professional St. Louis physical therapists at Axes are here to guide you through your own personalized injury prevention program that will keep your body as safe and healthy as can be, and your mind confident that you can safely return to the activities you love. You deserve to feel the physical and mental health benefits of doing what you do best. Request an appointment online or call the location nearest you to get started with one of our injury prevention specialists in St. Louis.


Begin Your Recovery Today

Injuries and pain shouldn’t keep you from moving and doing the things you love.