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Duke Medicine: Preventing weekend warrior injuries

Posted November 19, 2012

Guys never think they’re too old for a friendly game of football, which seem to pop up like turkey timers in neighborhoods across the country on the day after the big feast.

Yet it’s all too common to find at least one member of the team nursing a sprained ankle, twisted knee or pulled hamstring in the days that follow.

There’s no denying the benefits of exercise, especially after a heavy holiday meal, says Tracy Ray, MD, Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. But a little common sense goes a long way when trying to avoid those Thanksgiving weekend warrior injuries.

“If you‘re not used to running, reaching up and catching a ball while someone hangs on your back, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to get injured,” Ray says. Age plays a role too. “The younger you are, the easier it is to transition from sport to sport. If you’re past 30, “be a little cautious,” he advises. “Common sense is your biggest ally.”

Even people who work out on a regular basis are at risk for injury. “You can be a terrific runner,” Ray says, “but if you play football with the guys, 36 rounds of golf, or tennis with your friends when you’re not used to it, you’re literally in a whole different ball game.”

For more about how to get ready for pick-up games and how to treat injuries, read the full post at DukeHealth.org. Duke Medicine, Go Ask Mom's sponsor, offers health information and tips every Tuesday.

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