The Importance of Preventative Care

For athletes and recreationists alike, a major injury can be devastating, and so many injuries are largely avoidable through preventative care. Preventative care, also called prehabilitation, is a proactive approach that focuses on improving strength, flexibility, and motor control in injury-prone areas on the body.


Benefits of Preventative Care

The primary benefit of preventative care is that it reduces your risk of injury. The National Institutes of Health shared that participation in an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) prehabilitation program consisting of plyometrics exercises and drills, neuromuscular training, muscle strengthening and feedback regarding body mechanics, was able to decrease ACL injuries among female athletes by 88%.

Preventative care is able to decrease your injury risk in a number of ways:


Strengthens Muscles

Tears and injuries can occur when the muscles surrounding the joint or ligaments are weak. In the case of an ACL, preventative care aims to strengthen not only the quadricep muscles, but also the hamstrings and glutes so that strength is balanced between the front and back of the legs. This reinforces and protects the ACL.


Increases Flexibility

Greater flexibility allows you to reduce your risk of injuries in a variety of ways. Stretching lengthens your muscles, enabling them to work more effectively. It also stimulates circulation, which promotes nutrient transportation, causing your muscles to achieve optimal performance.


Improves Range of Motion

Both flexibility and strengthening exercises allow your joints to move through their full range of motion, which will improve your performance in physical activities. Increased mobility also helps with coordination and balance.


Promotes Safe Athletic Environment

One aspect of preventative care for athletes includes the presence of athletic trainers at practices or near the practice location. Athletic trainers are not only able to develop customized prehabilitation treatment plans for each individual athlete or for entire teams, but they can also monitor the practice environment to ensure that the exercises, drills, and conditioning is safe.

An additional benefit of athletic trainers is that in the case that an injury does occur, they are able to better treat the injury since they saw the injury happen, and they are present to provide immediate medical care.


Enables Accurate Care

One form of preventative care for athletes includes baseline concussion testing to evaluate an athlete’s balance and brain function, which includes learning, memory, and problem-solving skills, and the ability to pay attention and concentrate. With a baseline test, healthcare professionals are able to make comparisons to an athlete’s post-injury test. By analyzing both tests, healthcare professionals can accurately diagnose how soon the athlete will be able to safely return to competition.


Enhances Performance

The National Institutes of Health also shared that their ACL prevention program for female athletes enhanced athletic performance in women who participated.


Less Recovery Time

In the case that an injury does occur, prehabilitation exercises will greatly enhance the athlete’s ability to return to play in a timely manner due to the increased strength in their muscles and joints. It is also likely that injuries sustained to someone who completed prehabilitation will be less severe; therefore, requiring less recovery time. For recreational athletes, integrating stretching before and after exercise is an important prehab step that can help prevent injuries during activities.


Treating the Athlete in All of Us

If you are interested in optimizing your athletic performance and preventing injuries, learn more about how preventative care can benefit you at The Steadman Clinic. Not only do our physicians work with athletes, but we also provide orthopaedic care and personalized treatment plans for each and every patient who seek our services, no matter their athletic ability level.