8 Devices That Help Prevent Sports Injuries

  • woman-stretching-leg
    Prevent sports injuries with the right gear
    Talent and determination are traits that help athletes succeed. But to prevent injuries, athletes of any age or skill level need the right gear. Here’s an overview of the equipment that can help keep you and your kids off the disabled list.

  • Boy learning to bike
    1. Strap on a helmet
    Don’t forget your helmet when you’re cycling, in-line skating, skiing, or playing baseball, lacrosse, or softball. Wearing a helmet reduces your risk of injuring your head. Be sure to choose one designed for your sport. For biking, look for a sticker from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This agency tests and certifies protective headwear.

  • Man wearing knee brace
    2. Pick the right knee brace
    The many moving parts of the knee make it particularly prone to injury, both for adult and child athletes. Braces work together with the muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments. They promote stability without interfering with the joint’s normal function. Different designs focus on different weaknesses. For instance, sleeves provide an increased sense of support. Patellar straps apply pressure to the tendon, relieving pain associated with tendon inflammation.

  • Lady Walking
    3. Wear specialty footwear
    If you participate in a specific sport more than twice a week, buy a pair of shoes designed for that purpose. Visit a specialty store and ask for advice on the best model and fit. Replace shoes after 300 to 500 miles of running or walking, or 45 to 60 hours of basketball, dance or tennis. Also, buy a new pair if your old kicks are visibly creased, uneven, or worn in the heel.

  • Man swimming with goggles
    4. Save your sight with goggles
    You might not think of using goggles for many sports, but most children’s eye injuries occur during sports-related activities. Many injuries can cause blindness. Ordinary glasses, contact lenses, or sunglasses don’t do the trick. While skiing, snowboarding, or playing basketball or hockey, children and adults should wear safety goggles designed for the sport. Most are made of a material called polycarbonate. It’s 10 times more impact-resistant than other plastics.

  • Mouth Guard
    5. Protect your head with a mouth guard
    Not only do mouth guards protect your teeth, lips, tongue, jaw and cheeks, but some research shows they can also minimize concussions. That’s because they absorb some of the shock of a blow to the head. Wear this U-shaped plastic device during contact sports, including football, hockey, lacrosse and soccer. Buy yours at the drugstore, or ask your dentist to create a custom-fitted model.

  • Shin guards
    6. Absorb impact with shin guards
    Soccer, with its high speeds and sharp cleats, poses a high risk of fractures. Shin guards can absorb some of the impact on the tibia and other leg bones during a collision. The strongest are made with carbon fiber rather than polypropylene (a softer plastic) according to a recent study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. You can also wear shin guards for other sports, including martial arts and lacrosse.

  • Woman falling on elbow
    7. Use elbow and knee pads
    An extra layer of protection can help prevent hard blows from damaging these joints. Wear knee pads during activities like volleyball, martial arts, skateboarding, roller-skating, and cycling, which leave your knees vulnerable to direct front blows. Goalkeepers in team sports like lacrosse may also find extra padding useful.

  • Kineseotape
    8. Prevent injury with kinesiotape
    This stretchable cotton adhesive tape helps ward off injury in several ways. Applied correctly, it provides support, redistributes stress over joints or muscles, controls motion, and gives athletes a visual cue to correct form and technique. When applied correctly, it’s shown promise against runner’s knee, as well as neck and upper back pain, among other areas. You can follow the directions on the manufacturer’s label or ask an athletic trainer for help applying the tape.

8 Devices That Help Prevent Sports Injuries

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  10. Skateboarding and in-line skating. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sports/Pages/Skateboarding-and-In-Line-Skating....
  11. Skiing and snowboarding. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sports/Pages/Skiing-and-Snowboarding.aspx.
  12. Song CY, Huang HY, Chen SC, et al. Effects of femoral rotational taping on pain, lower extremity kinematics, and muscle activation in female patients with patellofemoral pain. J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Jul 24. 
  13. Tatar Y, Ramazanoglu N, Camliguney AF, et al. The effectiveness of shin guards used by football players. J Sports Sci Med. 2014 Jan 20;13(1):120-127.
  14. Taylor RL, O’Brien L, Brown T. A scoping review of the use of elastic therapeutic tape for neck or upper extremity conditions. J Hand Ther. 2014 Jul-Sep;27(3):235-245.
  15. Which helmet for which activity? U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Sports-Fitness-and-Recreation/Bicycles/Which-H....
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Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 17
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