CareNow® - August 29, 2023

As summer approaches, many of us look forward to engaging in outdoor sports and activities. Whether it's running, soccer, tennis, or any other sport, it's important to take precautions to prevent strains and sprains that can put a damper on your summer fun.

In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies to avoid sports injuries, specifically focusing on running injuries and muscle strains. By implementing these preventive measures, you can enjoy your favorite summer sports while minimizing the risk of common injuries.

How to avoid sports injuries

Sports injuries can occur due to various factors such as improper technique, inadequate warm-up, lack of conditioning, and overexertion. Here are some things you can do to help you avoid sports injuries:

Warm-up and stretch

Before engaging in any physical activity, it's crucial to warm up your muscles and perform dynamic stretching exercises. This helps increase blood flow to the muscles, improves flexibility, and prepares your body for the demands of the sport.

Use proper technique

Learning and using the proper technique is vital to avoid sprains in sports. Whether it's running, throwing a ball, or swinging a racket, consult with a coach or an experienced player to ensure you are using the correct form. Improper technique can place unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints, increasing the risk of injury.

Gradually increase intensity

Avoid pushing yourself too hard, too soon. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts or sports activities to allow your body to adapt and build strength. Sudden spikes in activity can lead to overuse injuries.


Engaging in a variety of activities can help prevent overuse injuries and improve overall fitness. Cross-training allows you to work different muscle groups and reduces the repetitive stress on specific joints or muscles.

Listen to your body

Pay attention to any warning signs or discomfort during physical activity. If you experience pain, swelling, or persistent discomfort, it's essential to rest and seek appropriate medical attention. Ignoring these signals can lead to further injury and prolonged recovery time.

How to avoid running injuries

Running is a popular summer activity that offers numerous health benefits. However, it also carries the risk of various injuries, especially if proper precautions are not taken. Here are some key strategies to prevent running injuries:

  • Choose the right footwear: Wearing proper running shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning is essential for injury prevention. Visit a specialty running store to get fitted for shoes that suit your foot type and running style.
  • Increase mileage gradually: When starting a running program or aiming to increase your mileage, do so gradually. Avoid sudden jumps in distance or intensity, as this can strain your muscles and lead to overuse injuries like shin splints or stress fractures.
  • Vary running surfaces: Mix up your running surfaces to reduce the repetitive stress on your legs. Alternate between pavement, grass, trails, and tracks to engage different muscles and minimize the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Incorporate strength training: Strengthening the muscles that support your running, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and core, can improve your running efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries. Include strength training exercises at least twice a week in your fitness routine.
  • Practice proper running form: Focus on maintaining good running form to reduce the impact on your joints and minimize the risk of injuries. Keep your posture upright, strike the ground with your midfoot, and maintain a comfortable stride length.

If you should happen to get injured from running, consider a visit to your local CareNow®. We offer convenient care that will have you back to your regular activities in no time.

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What can you do to prevent running injuries?

In addition to the specific tips mentioned earlier, here are a few more strategies to prevent running injuries. First and foremost, always warm up and cool down.

Prior to your run, engage in a dynamic warm-up routine that includes exercises such as leg swings, lunges, and high knees. After your run, perform static stretches to cool down and improve flexibility.

Pay attention to any signs of fatigue, pain, or discomfort during your runs. If something feels off, it's essential to rest or modify your training to allow your body to recover.

Incorporate rest days into your training schedule to give your body time to repair and rebuild. Overtraining can increase the risk of injuries and hinder your performance.

Finally, if you're new to running or want to improve your technique, consider seeking guidance from a running coach or joining a local running club. They can provide valuable advice on training plans, form correction, and injury prevention.

How to prevent muscle strains

Muscle strains, also known as pulled muscles, occur when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn due to excessive force or overuse. Here are some strategies to prevent muscle strains:

A thorough warm-up routine is crucial for preventing muscle strains. Start with light cardiovascular exercises, such as brisk walking or jogging, to increase blood flow to the muscles. Follow it up with dynamic stretching exercises that target the major muscle groups you'll be using during your activity.

Avoid sudden increases in the intensity or duration of your workouts. Gradually progress your training, allowing your muscles to adapt and become stronger over time. This approach minimizes the risk of straining or tearing a muscle due to excessive force.

Regular stretching, especially after workouts, helps maintain and improve muscle flexibility. Incorporate static stretching exercises that target the major muscle groups, holding each stretch for about 30 seconds. Remember not to bounce or force a stretch, as it can lead to injury.

Strengthening the muscles surrounding the muscle groups you frequently use during your chosen activity can provide additional support and reduce the risk of strains. Include exercises that target these muscles in your fitness routine.

If you participate in sports or activities that require specialized equipment, ensure that you are using gear that is appropriate for your body type and skill level. Ill-fitting or worn-out equipment can contribute to muscle strains.

By following these preventive measures and being mindful of your body's limits, you can significantly reduce the risk of strains and sprains while enjoying your summer sports activities.

Should you end up with an injury this summer, check out your local CareNow® clinic for quality care that’s convenient. With more than 175 locations throughout the country, we’re ready to serve you when and where you need it. We offer a Web Check-In® feature that allows you to wait from anywhere!

We're thrilled to share that we've been deemed an Accredited Urgent Care Center by the esteemed Urgent Care Association (UCA), which recognizes our commitment to delivering exceptional healthcare services.

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