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Ergonomics and Injury Prevention in Sports

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Sportsmen are potentially prone to get injured while working. Hence, preplanned ergonomics is necessary to minimize the risk.

Medically reviewed by

Neha Suryawanshi

Published At November 28, 2023
Reviewed AtApril 30, 2024

What Is Sports Egonomics?

Ergonomics is the work environment that is safe and work-friendly. It also ensures the well-being of an individual since their work becomes part of their daily activity. Hence, improving the work surrounding to maximize safety by incorporating certain strategies, identifying the overburden, and including the techniques of injury prevention is all that is taken care of by sports ergonomics.

How Is Sports Ergonomics Applied?

Sports ergonomics is very crucial to avoid any kind of sports injury. For the cause, often an occupational and physical therapist is needed so the sportsman is assisted with good guidance to minimize any risk of injury. Applying sports ergonomics may result in

  • Assessment of the maximum load a body can bear without being hurt.

  • Decrease in any kind of overload.

  • Better ergonomics deals with the repetitive movements that athletes do while performing. Ergonomics helps the development of functional patterns efficiently without tearing down the muscles of the body.

  • Any issues related to weight lifting, bending, or any issue related to posture are also addressed by ergonomics.

  • An athlete is susceptible to falling, tipping, and slipping while running. These kinds of injuries can also be taken care of.

The most important step to mitigate injuries due to sports is taking a proper ergonomic analysis. The injuries related are very debilitating both due to physical health as well as psychological. Therefore proper measures to minimise the risk of sports-related injuries are essential. The several approaches, plans, and techniques applied to sports ergonomics are:

1. Body Exercises to Regulate the Workload:

Exercises like mild walking, cycling, swimming, and gym exercises help strengthen the muscles and bones. A suitable warm-up exercise to make the body and heart adaptable to vigorous work during sports activity is very necessary and should be followed by cool down exercise, which gives step-wise rest to the body rather than spurts of burden over body muscles and tendons. These exercises are customized according to the body's needs and capacity.

2. Body Guards and Protective Gear:

Injury during sports activity, like a blow from a ball in cricket, a blow on the face, wrist pressure during weight lifting, or a knee injury during football, is commonly seen. Tennis elbow is a particular injury to tennis players. The physical and occupational therapist may help the players by guiding them with the proper equipment that prevents injury to vulnerable body parts. A boxer is advised to use a mouth guard to prevent knocking out of teeth during boxing. To increase ergonomics, the player wears a leg guard, a wrist band, an elbow and wrist band, and a helmet as protective gear.

3. Ergonomic Sports Apparel and Footwear:

Special clothing that is subject to different sports is needed to overcome the challenges that arise while performing. An athlete runner's clothing should be more breathable and sweat-resistant. Because motorcycle riders run the risk of catching fire from accidents, they may require clothing that both regulates temperature and resists flames.

Swimmers and gymnastics wear skin-fit clothes to allow the body flexibility during movements. Appropriate footwear with good grip, sole, and proper fit is also necessary. Lately, it has been observed that brands, fashion, and trends are taking the upper place, but the role of ergonomics plays a vital role.

4. Sports Clinic and Physical Therapist:

Routine checks and musculoskeletal screenings at a specifically designed sports clinic with a well-qualified physical therapist who helps in risk prediction of injury and knowing all rehabilitative measures improves ergonomics and prevents sports-related injury. Physical therapy can also be helpful in relaxing stiff bone joints and removing the soreness of the body after any sports activity. Different forms of physiotherapy, like warm compressions, acupuncture, and soft tissue massages, help to achieve better sports-related ergonomics.

5. Orthotic Appliances:

These are the appliances that are used to give extra support to muscles and skeletons. Although the role of such devices is not very significant, the sensors present provide a particular pathway of movement that restricts the over-extension of muscle. The devices are customized for players in accordance with gait, anatomy, and pattern of playing so as to correct and reduce the risk of injury that arises. Shoe insoles, ankle and knee braces, and compression stockings are useful forms of orthotic appliances.

6. Sports Schools for Proper Training:

A sound knowledge of a sport is very important to prevent any mishaps while playing. Sports schools train the player better before facing the actual vigorous patterns of playing. Proper rules and mythology to prevent and manage injuries are taught to the players. These sports programs are usually run by different schools or local community centers.

7. Proper Diet and Personal Hygiene:

An important aspect of sports is the demand for tremendous physical energy and muscle strength. A good protein-rich diet to have good muscle tone is very important. So, a diet that is proportionate with all minerals, carbohydrates, and protein is a must for a sportsperson. Adequate hydration and eight hours of sleep a day are equally crucial. Reducing alcohol intake and smoking is a way to improve quality ergonomics.

From a health point of view, routine medical checkups are also important. Runners related to thyroid disorders and athletes with arrhythmias need a routine watch. Apart from that, personal hygiene in order to suppress the bacterial and fungal infections arising due to excessive sweating is mandatory. Regular clean-up, bathing, and changing the sports apparel daily, also contribute to better ergonomics.

Conclusion

A complete customized plan according to particular sports and body needs to prevent any kind of injury can be achieved by proper sports ergonomics. An athlete should stick to these concepts. It may not be very effective when looking from a short-term role, but the long-term effect of having an improper setup for players can lead to adverse effects on health, which can cause psychological stress if not rehabilitated well. Therefore, prevention can be helpful by any means. Ergonomics not only keeps the sportsman safe but also helps him to perform better at his sport.

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Neha Suryawanshi
Neha Suryawanshi

Nutritionist

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