Crush the Weekend—Not Your Joints
Feb 26, 2020 Kyle Beswick
For casual athletes who escape the demands of adulthood through exercise and playing sports, pursuing their athletic passions on weekends brings joy—and the possibility of joint injury.
Michael Gerhardt, MD, and Joshua Scott, MD, orthopaedists from the newly launched Joint Preservation Program at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, offer advice on how to crush it as a weekend warrior while preserving joint mobility and avoiding surgery.
Twist and Shout
Athletes in their 60s and 70s often choose lower-impact sports such as tennis and golf, but the torque involved in holding and swinging a racket or golf club puts the shoulder, elbow and back joints at risk for microtears and inflammation that may need surgical repair if left undiagnosed.
Physical therapy is the mainstay of treatment in the early stages of these injuries, with high success rates returning amateur athletes to their weekend activities while avoiding more serious damage.
"Keeping a great physical therapist and sports medicine doctor on speed dial is always a good idea."
–Orthopaedist Michael Gerhardt, MD
Young, Fit, and Injury-Prone
Younger weekend warriors who choose high-intensity training, from "boot camps" to pickup basketball games, need to pay special attention to stretching. Dynamic stretching—active movements where joints and muscles go through a full range of motion—can help with joint mobility of the shoulders and knees.
Scott warns that taking on a new sport or exercise routine at full throttle, without proper stretching, has repercussions. Easing into training with sport-specific shoes and gear can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
"When it comes to exercise, slow and steady literally wins the race. We always recommend gradual increases in activity to prevent injury."
–Orthopaedist Joshua Scott, MD