OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinter is finally becoming a memory and thoughts are turning to outdoor sports and activities. The summer softball season is approaching and you need to get in shape. Dr. John Nolan, Director of Orthopedic Trauma at St. Mary Medical Center says it’s never a good idea to rush out onto a court or ball field without being prepared. Take time to set up a proper exercise regimen focusing on the core, strengthening and flexibility. Remember warm up is essential, beginning an activity without getting the muscles ready, can result in injury.

Younger athletes are seeing an increase in overuse injuries as they often play the same sport and use the same muscle groups year round. He says the most common injuries seen are sprained ankles and broken fingers, and with most contact sports it’s difficult to prevent those types of injuries. Proper conditioning can help prevent injuries to muscles and joints.

He says the good news for athletes is that medical technology continues to improve. Imaging studies are better and physicians have improved techniques for treating the most serious sports injuries. That means a condition that could have permanently benched an athlete several years ago, may now be successfully treated allowing the player to get back on the field with the rest of her team this season.