A doctor's advice for avoiding common sports injuries

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

The ski season started especially early on Crystal Mountain this year, and skiing includes two factors that Group Health's Dr. Rosemary Agostini said are among  the most common sports injury risk factors: fatigue and poor-fitting equipment

KIRO 7 went to see a proper ski boot fitting at a local ski and bike shop. The right gear means everything to preventing both simple and  catastrophic injuries.

Bad form is No. 5 on the risk factors, especially for cyclists. Before you hop on and decide to bike 20 miles, get your bike fitted to your body.

Make sure the frame is the right height that the handlebars aren't too low, and that the bike conforms to your individual body mechanics overall. This is something biker and runner Rob Neely of Seattle certainly recommends.

The No. 4 sports risk factor: too much, too often. Overuse is common in all sports, but especially in those with repetitive motion such as rafting. This even is the case with new exercise trends, such as crossfit or p-90x.

Overdoing it can also lead to fatigue and when you're tired, you're more likely to be hurt.

But as any parent of a kid playing soccer knows, weekends can be packed with matches that lead to tired-out kids more prone to injury.

Agostini, who works at Group Health's First Hill campus, also says good-fitting soccer shoes are key. Consider buying an over-the-counter arch support to add cushioning for your kids' feet.

Trying a new sport too fast is also risky if you're not ready -- build up to it. And if you get injured, evaluate yourself on your own 1 to 10 pain scale. If you're a 2 or 3, shake it off. But a 7 or 8 means you should take yourself out of the sport -- don't suck it up.

If you wake up the next morning with pain, consider seeing your doctor.

In fact, the mantra "no pain, no gain" is actually the No. 2 risk factor.

"That's really wrong,"  Agostini said. "'No soreness, no gain' is probably OK."

For many, exercise is key to their personal happiness, so when they're sidelined with an injury or they feel exhausted, it's important they don't give up exercise altogether.

Agostini says to try something known as "active rest." When you get an injury, rest the injured part, but keep working the rest of your body.

If you got hurt running, lift weights. If you hurt your wrists cycling, jog. Bottom line - there are always options to staying active.

And the No. 1 item on Agostini's risk factor checklist: concussion.

One of her patient's, J.J. Halderman, survived taking a fastball to the face while playing catcher. His story is being profiled on the "Help Yourself to Health," airing available at www.kirotv.com/healthevolution.

Top 7 sports injury risk factors from Group Health's Dr. Rosemary Agostini.

7. Fatigue

 6. Bad Equipment Fit

5. Bad Form

4. Too Much, Too Often

3. New Sport, Too Fast

2. "No Pain, No Gain"

1. Concussions